Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Review: Action Comics #994

Action Comics #994 came out last week, the second part of 'Booster Shot' by writer/artist Dan Jurgens. And it is another chapter of timeline hijinks as Superman tries to figure out how Jor-El became Mr. Oz. As I said when reviewing last issue, the concept of Superman going back to Krypton before its destruction isn't a favorite trope of mine. And Booster Gold isn't a favorite of mine. So as a result, I am trying to see the positive in this arc despite my disinterest in the foundation of the plot.

There is a lot of timey-wimey stuff here. I actually muttered 'pocket universe??' under my breath at one point. And that always makes me cringe a bit. In particular, this issue has Superman actually wonder 'what if' things were radically changed in the timeline, a question I think maybe he would have moved beyond by now. Still, that quick peek into a possible past was intriguing.

One underlying theme here is dealing with fathers. The Lois subplot with her father does have an interesting wrinkle.

And the art here is pure Jurgens with inks by Art Thibert. It has a classic feel to it, very reminiscent of the 90s.

On to the book.

Last issue ended with Superman being surprised that he was powerless under a red sun. With Kryptonian police trying to bring in Booster and Superman, Supes has to don one of Booster's power gloves and use it better than Gold did himself.

Okay, I have to admit, maybe I was in a Grinchy mood reading this because I can't help but see stuff that doesn't work for me. Here, having Superman be able to use Gold's equipment better than Gold himself seemed like a stretch. Also, wouldn't Superman needing to be saved be a better take on the situation.

Luckily they escape.

 With a moment to catch their breath, the two discuss how their very presence on Krypton is changing things. Space arks? Zod and Jor-El friends? Everything seems off.

At times like this we need timey-wimey exposition. Skeets discusses a splinter in time, a section which is malleable right now. However, the longer things go on, the more 'concrete' these events become. This could become the new history.

A splinter in time? A time island created when Mr. Oz/Jor-El was whisked away? Sounds like a pocket universe. I don't know if I understand it ... but okay.

As said, Jor and Zod are buddies. Zod does wonder why the 'traitor' Superman is wearing an El family crest. I suppose it makes sense that Zod would immediately jump to the conclusion that Gold and Superman are enemies. And I like Black Zero being brought up. That is a nice nod to Krypton continuity.

But it is clear they need something more than the usual cops. And so Eradicators are loosed on our heroes.

Meanwhile, Lois heads to her military connections to see if her father, scheduled to be executed after being captured in a black ops mission, can be extracted.

The General gives some denial about knowing whatever was happening. But he drops enough hints to let Lois know that if she wants to head in for a rescue, she can.

My guess is she and Jon head in to save his grandfather. What I don't quite get is Lois deciding that she and Jon are the best people for the job. Certainly she could get someone more skilled to head in? What about her recent pal Deathstroke?

I like that Jon is almost perturbed that this side of his family has been kept from him.

As time proceeds, Booster begins to get worried about this new timeline becoming the 'real' one. It is time to get Superman back to the present. And it should happen before real paradoxes, like Superman meeting his father makes simple sense.

I do like that Gold says it would be a snot storm. He is kind of just an 'ordinary guy'. Now flowery or iconic speech from this guy.

And it makes sense. This whole trip to the past makes no sense. Superman should know better.

As Gold forces Superman into his time bubble and flies off amid the blasts from Zod's troops, Superman sees the results of this new timeline. The Kryptonian population escapes the exploding planet on Jor-El's arks. They head to a new planet and create a paradise. And there is Kal ... with his parents and his sister ... with his blond wife and their blond daughter.

Ahh .. what might have been.

And you can imagine that Superman might be tempted to bring this history about. Why not try to save billions of lives and a culture? Why not live this life with these people?

Then again .. what about Lois and Jon? What about all his deeds? What really would this timeline be?

Would Superman be strong enough to realize that rewriting history is crazy? Does his recent history of rewriting his own history in Reborn make him more susceptible to this idea? Should he be tempted? And what about Lois??

Regardless, this is an interesting picture of a possible future. Enough to make me ruminate over it for a while. A sister!

Buffeted by the blasts, the time bubble heads to Booster's home, the Earth of the 25th century.

Unfortunately something else came through ... an Eradicator.

I think I need to get shoes that aren't so tight and screw my head on right. Because I feel like I am too down on this arc. I suppose that I should be interested in this weird possible timeline. And I should like the idea of this Kal being introduced to his home world. But I'm just not feeling it.

And for some reason, Superman actually considering having this new timeline overwrite the old one seems off to me. I understand the enormity of this. How do you decide to move forward to 'repair' the destruction of a planet and a culture? But I just think our Superman would be the one to say 'this new timeline isn't right'.

I hope all will turn out well.

Overall grade: C+

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

First review of 2018, nice one!

I don't see Lois planning to go in with Jon to save her father, she talks about 'I' not 'we'... of course, Jon WILL help, but I expect Lois will try to get him to stay out of it.

Was Superman using Booster's blasters more effectively than him? I took it that he knew Booster's normal settings wouldn't be enough because he knows how strong the battle suits are - Booster was caught offguard, Superman stepped in.

Anyway, fun review. My review over at Too Dangerous For a Girl is more upbeat, but I'm a sucker for 'Return to Krypton' stories (ha, if Lyla Lerrol shows up you may change your tune!). Also, I'm thrilled to see Booster and Skeets handled by their creator.