Monday, January 15, 2018

Review: Action Comics #995

I've been a bit of a curmudgeon lately with my reviews of the Booster Shot arc here in Action Comics. I am not a big fan of Booster. I am not a big fan of 'time traveling to Krypton' arcs. And I don't know if Superman debating changing history by allowing Krypton to not explode sits well with me. Add all that up and I just haven't been enjoying this book as much as I had been. I mean, even the splash page of a possible future El Family on Krypton didn't grab me!

Action Comics #995 was, for me, the best issue of the arc. The primary reason is that I got a deeper dive into Booster's character, giving me a touch more appreciation for who he is. From his internal monologues where he seems more unsure of himself than his outer demeanor, to Skeets giving Superman a recap of Booster's origins, to Superman realizing that his life with the Kents was extremely impactful, Booster seems brighter and more relatable after this issue.

I also like Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund as an art team and they bring a very polished style to the story here. The action stuff here really crackles!

My two complaints? There was so much Booster stuff in this that in some ways it felt like a backdoor pilot for a solo Gold title. And I don't know if the 'splinter' time line with a surviving Krypton is still moving forward or not.

On to the book.

Last issue ended with Booster's time bubble crashing on Earth in his original time of the 25th century. An Eradicator from the surviving Krypton came along for the ride with the plan to .. well .. eradicate our heroes as interlopers.

Now back on Earth, powers flood into Superman so he can join the fight.

I don't know if Superman's anger over Gold trying to stop this rogue timeline makes sense. I can understand that this is a big topic and maybe Superman would be a bit confused about what to do. But here it seems Superman is dead set on letting the new timeline with Krypton not exploding continue on.

It is odd to hear Booster have to discuss ramifications. And odder that he knows Superman will hate him for trying to reestablish history. Superman should know better.

Indeed, this is an angry Superman, all red eyed and in your face.

I get it. He only wanted to know if Jor-El survived, corroborating Mr. Oz's story. This new history was unforeseen. But he doesn't know what would unfold should Krypton survive. To immediately want this to continue just seems off.

I do like how we already hear from Booster how lucky Superman was for having the Kents in his life.

Of course, in this time period, Booster is a criminal. A police squad comes and unleashes a pulse cannon attack which destroys the Eradicator and knocks Booster out. I love that top wide panel really conveying the power of the attack.

With only seconds available, Superman grabs Skeets and unfortunately has to let Booster be taken in.

Seriously, that is some solid art.

 The other plot in the book is Lois trying to sneak into Logambo to save her father. She sneaks onto an army plane heading to the country. She thinks Jon is safe in the care of Perry.

But Jon has been listening in all along. He isn't going to let his mother go alone and sneaks onto the plane after her.

Nice shot her of Jon looking at Lois who is looking at the plane crew to make sure she remains unnoticed.

This all seems a little over the top. I get she wants her father alive. But couldn't she call upon the JLA to intercede? Call in a marker? Use her media clout to bring this to the attention of the masses. I like Lois as a fighter. But I think Lois is smarter than this.

 Back in the 25th century, we get the review of Booster's origins, specifically how he cheated to save his mother and pay the medical bills. (I guess we don't have single payer insurance even 400 years from now!)

But worse, his father continued to demand money.

Suddenly Superman, who dislikes Booster for the criminal he thinks he is, understands. After all, between Jor-El and Jonathan Kent, Superman has had two supportive and loving fathers. Booster's father is slime.

I knew the cheating part of the origin. I didn't know these more magnanimous aspects of why Booster did what he did.

 As for Booster, he gets thrown into jail with his hated father. There also is an unscrupulous prison guard who is hoping to swipe the time traveling machinery for his own wants (think Biff in Back to the Future 2).

The evil dad kayos the guard in hopes of escaping. But then Superman arrives and lays out some Smallville justice.

I like that Superman has a little better opinion of Booster. He can't agree with what Booster did. But he understands the why. And I like the finger flick knock out by supers every now and then.

 And then in another great move, Booster gets to visit his mother. And Superman talks him up! I think Superman has some sympathy for everything that Booster went through. I also think he has a better understanding of what Booster does in the heroing business.

So after a quick pilfer of a power cell, the time bubble is off again.

But it turns out the Eradicator might be wrecked but not inoperable. It blasts the bubble sending the ship spilling out of the time stream and to somewhere. A place ruled by General Zod.

Given the twin suns, my guess is Booster and Superman are on the planet Zod fled to after the Revenge storyline in Action Comics #984. We are back in current time in the current universe.

So I liked this chapter better. I liked this deeper look at Booster. But there was a lot of Booster here. And the lingering questions about the splinter timeline isn't really mentioned at all. The art is definitely a plus!

Overall better: B


Anonymous said...

I still have several issues with this arc.

To start with, we see the Kryptonian family which Kal-El could have gotten: his parents, a sister, a wife, a daughter... did you ever notice three glaring omissions? We see Kal-El's sister but not his cousin? Really? When Alan Moore wrote his "What if Krypton hadn't exploded?" scenario, Kal-El's cousin and aunt were NOT forgotten.

Secondly... I agree. Too much Booster Gold. I get Jurgens is trying to show his sympathetic, more complex side, but this story was supposed to be about Superman investigating Mr. Oz's claims.

And now another battle against Zod. Oh, well. I wonder, Clark will learn Lor-Zod was his foster son in another reality?

We'll see. Right now I'm wishing this story arc is over.

Martin Gray said...

I’m glad you’ve found more to like in Booster’s situation. Your point about Lois would be entirely fair were she anybody else, but this is the Lois we’ve always had, rushing headlong into danger!

Uncle Screensaver said...

Superman seemed to be written as if he was still a new hero, where he had no idea what his actions could do to the timestream, and then was more concerned with the alternate timeline than Lois and Jon. Again, Kara isn't mentioned, unless that was her he married in the other timeline. The saving grace of this issue is Jurgens' art. If only he could do it again fulltime.