Monday, July 3, 2017

Review: Action Comics #982

Action Comics #982, the next chapter in Revenge, came out last week and was a perfect middle chapter, moving the pieces on the board, building momentum to the finale, and adding a few new mysteries. This book ends with a truly phenomenal splash page, a great cliffhanger, and a moment I feel I have been waiting for since the New 52 happened. If this comic was only that page, I would probably give it a high grade. Trust me ... we'll get there.

Writer Dan Jurgens certainly keeps the plot moving along. He has a lot of moving parts to deal with in this story. The Revenge Squad is 6 members deep. He has Lois, Jon, and Superman to write. And we get the other guests that come on board. That sounds like a Legion of Super-Heroes comic. But Jurgens takes the time to make sure we know each character's motivations and to make them unique.

The art is done by Jack Herbert and Jose Luis and both bring great emotion and action to the proceedings. There are a number of panels here which struck me. One has become my Twitter header. And that ending page! It all works well.

This issue ended and I immediately wanted to read the next part. That is the sign of a great middle chapter.

On to the book!

Last issue we had the Cyborg Superman list out why the Revenge Squad should follow his plan. Henshaw had already cowed everyone but Zod. It was Zod he needed to convince.

The beginning of this issue is almost a rehash of that conversation. The Fortress has a phantom zone projector so Zod can get his army. But it also has untold technology, things that could lead to a new Warworld, a new Krypton, or a new body for Metallo.

After some hemming and hawing, once again the group agrees to follow the Cyborg's lead.

I suppose a recap of why this group would act together wasn't a bad thing.

Meanwhile, Jon and Krypto wander around the Fortress. In a cute moment, Jon acts as a sort of guide pointing out the items to Krypto.

But then he hears his name called, first in an alien tongue then in a gray tinged word balloon.

Hmmm, a new mystery. Who could be inside the Fortress and would talk like that. I don't know if I have a great guess yet. But I am intrigued. Is is Mr. Oz? Or some ally trapped within that Superman isn't aware of.

As for Superman, he remains blind. We get a little bit of a exposition. He was blinded by the Black Vault phantom zone wall. It has effected his vision powers but not his heat vision (an energy power). It is unclear why he alone got blinded since others were within the wall. And there isn't really an easy cure. Just in case anyone thinks the Kryptonian Battle Armor from Death of Superman is a cure-all, Kelex reminds us that was a one time cure (except for when it cured Lana a couple of months ago).

What I liked was this moment in the first panel where Lois shows how concerned she is. That hug, that desperate idea of the armor curing things, speaks volumes. I just love the way Lois and Clark have interacted since Rebirth/Reborn.

Unfortunately, the time to think calmly about this problem ends. The Squad shows up, literally knocking on the door of the Fortress.

I love this leering Zod. He looks like a mad dog. And the red glow from the door adds menace.

Just great art.

Anyone see a little Jeffrey Dean Morgan in this Zod?

Superman isn't going to let the Squad bash their way in and threaten his family. He'll have to rely on his other senses. But he also activates the Omega Defense protocol, contacting the Omnihedron. Help will come.

And then, showing that bravery, he brings the fight to the Squad, hopefully giving Lois and Jon time to escape.

I thought this was a great splash panel, showing that fortitude Kal has, even moreso when you remember he's blind. And for a second it looks like he might actually be able to stay in this fight.

Meanwhile, the Kelex warning goes out.

There is an absolutely jaw-dropping page of Supergirl responding. First, it is perfect that Kara is a big coffee fan, yet another reason for me to love the character.

But then we get a classic shirt rip moment for her, saying she is on her way, hair color changing, and looking heroically off to the horizon. This is poster worthy, t-shirt worthy, statue worthy!

And it again cements the new relationship between the cousins. Kal is in danger? First person he calls is Kara! Hooray!!!!

And Superman will need help.

Pretty quickly, this monstrous Revenge Squad gets the upper hand on the blind Superman. There is a page plus of the group just pounding his fallen body.

We even get a 'kneel before Zod' moment!

But then ... woosh ... his body is flown away.

And then we get that ending splash page! The Superman Family has arrived! And they are ready to throw down.

The Superman Family!!! And Lex is one of them!!! Insanity! Awesome!!

These sort of OMG moments are what keep me reading comics! We knew it was coming. It was still spectacular when it came.

I want to read the next part now!

Add to this the mystery of Superman's blindness, the voice in the Fortress, and (I'm assuming) Superboy eventually joining the fray, and you have a great issue.

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

Could we take it, perhaps, that the Kryptonian armour is a onetime cure for each person?

Superboy Kon-El is a good guess for the voice, him showing up would make the new Superman Family complete.(Thinking of who is missing from the current Superman continuity, and who might shock Superman if they were Mr Oz, how about a ore-Crisis DCCP mad Pete Ross? Mr Roz!? OK, mebbe not...)

This is such a brilliant issue, as you say, and that Supergirl image - cue theme tune!

Thinking on, next issue would be a great time for Luthor to switch sides...

Anj said...

This comments is chock-filled with goodness.

Kon-El makes great sense.
Or what about Mon-El in the Zone?

As for 'say it fast and Mr. Ross sounds like Mr. Oz' ... I think you are on to something! Quick, self-promote so you can say you were right!

Anonymous said...

First, a nitpick: the entry's title is wrong. It should be #982, not #983.

I'm sorry about being nitpicky.

Second, this was a truly great issue. I loved plenty scenes. And it has a kind of "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" vibe: Superman taking his loved ones to the Fortress because his worst enemies have come together to kill him, and the League can't help him.

Someone should tell Batman "Bruce, have you EVER noticed your anti-Evil League plans are ALWAYS used by our enemies? And your strategy has been praised by a villain?"

I wonder how Superman and Zod first met in this continuity. It's obvious all Post-Crisis alternate Zods have been retconned out, but "Last Son" doesn't appear to be canon because there's no Chris mention, and Zod didn't know of the Fortress.

How great is to see Jon tell "Grandpa and Grandma Kent"?

I'm not a Warhammner 40,000 player, but that battle armor displaying a double-headed eagle insignia reminds me of a WH40K Space Marine.

Completely wild and most assuredly ridiculous and wrong guess: the owner of that mysterious voice is Chris Kent, trapped in the Phantom Zone. And we'll see another "How could I ever forget you?" hug in the future.

OR maybe he's really Mon-El, and the return of the Legion is coming.

I absolutely love Superman's emergency plan is, basically, to call Supergirl. And only Supergirl. I love it.

Superman bursting through the floor is a great image.

I've recently reread the "Last Daughter of Krypton" storyline. Kara wearing street clothes and having a cup of coffee reminds me of how far has this character come.

Although I wonder why she was kicking back and enjoying a cup of coffee after seeing her cousin in danger. And why she kept the Omnihedron in a cupboard of all places (Earth-One Kara did NOT keep her Legion communicator in a cupboard for obvious reasons). My theory is: she saw Superman managing to escape. Since he seemed -to her eyes- fine she decided go back home, get coffee and then check in on her cousin again. And she was keeping the Omnihedron nearby -but out of sight- just in case Kal called in the meantime.

I loved the rescue. Supergirl arrives first and is the one saves Superman. And she was so fast neither of them saw it coming. Hah! Take that, Rogues!

By the way, am I imagining things or Herbert's Kara looks like an adult woman rather than a teenager?

Anyway, Kara helping her battered cousin stand up is a great image. It brings to mind a similar scene of Daring Adventures of Supergirl #21.

That final page is awesome and desktop theme-worthy. The Superman Family versus the Revenge Squad! Bring it!

P. D.:

Have you read the "Scribblenaut Unmasked - A Crisis of Imagination" comics? Supergirl makes several cameo appearances. There's also a CoIE #5 Satellite Scene homage where Kara and Karen are watching Brainy and Brainiac playing chess. And the original Supergirl's death is also referenced.

It's been announced another classic -and great- Supergirl's enemy will make an appearance in the third season. Finally the showrunners are using her Rogue's Gallery!

Anonymous said...

"There is an absolutely jaw-dropping page of Supergirl responding. First, it is perfect that Kara is a big coffee fan, yet another reason for me to love the character.

But then we get a classic shirt rip moment for her, saying she is on her way, hair color changing, and looking heroically off to the horizon. This is poster worthy, t-shirt worthy, statue worthy!"

All that and then some! And that hair morph is like that of the 80's when Linda Danvers used that special comb to go from brunette to blonde.

As for this hair bit, how does it happen? I assume when Kara removes her glasses, the hair changes.

Anj said...

Thanks for comments.

Yes, removing her glasses changes her hair color. Love it.