7.14.2008

Action Comics #867

Action Comics #867

Action Comics #867 released last week and I was definitely in my comic book store to pick this title up. As a matter of fact the store owner forgot to add it to my pull list and I was worried because this is definitely a must read series. Geoff Johns delves deeper into the true origins of Brainiac and he is doing so with great style and in a way I never really imagined. Here is the synopsis; everything you thought you knew about Brainiac over the years is just the tip of the iceberg, because all the various incarnations of Brainiac you have seen over the years were just probes, not the REAL Brainiac. I have no clue what that will mean or does mean, but Johns definitely has me eagerly anticipating.

Action Comics #867Action Comics #867

The issue opens up strongly, a couple of panels showing Brainiac’s skulled vessel moving through space and a green humanoid in stasis, connected to his ship receiving information from his probes. The next 5 pages is where the issue takes the arc from mystery to horror, at least the way Kara talks about the atrocities Brainiac has committed. It is here that Kara reveals to Superman in the fortress that the Brainiac’s he has faced were just probes and that no one has ever really seen the real Brainiac. Kara describes Brainiac almost the way young kids describe the ghost in the closet to their parents, a horrifying overlord who has utter control. Kara is stricken with fear in these panels and it adds to the tone that Geoff Johns is trying to create.

Action Comics #867Action Comics #867

The only bad part is that you find yourself a little distracted by the art work. I have to agree with Foiball’s (Foiball writes a blog called read/rant, I just noticed he has recently begun delving into comic book reviews, namely current comics, it s fair game and competition at this point I guess.) review of the artwork here. Franks does draw a very Christopher Reeve Superman. Yes, I know I pointed this out in the last review, but he also draw a very Margot Kidder Supergirl, which is why I raised the flag even higher. I’m not against what he is doing and it definitely sets a bit of nostalgia, but the Superman I am reading about in these pages isn’t the Superman Reeve’s was conveying. This Storyline definitely has me begging for a Brainiac villain in the next Superman installment. Hopefully, DC can get their act together with regards to their movie licensing and the future of their expansion in the Versus system. They definitely have ground to make up in the land of comics as Morrison has turned this whole Final Crisis into a debacle.

Action Comics #867Action Comics #867

Clark then has some time with the folks and Lois before departing Earth in a pod built within the fortress. Looks a lot like the pod they used in the movie or bore some semblance. Either way Superman has managed to back track the probes in order to search out Brainiac. Here is something I wanted to bring up, especially when reading this issue. I like how Superman is not being depicted as a brute force bludgeoning object in the comics anymore, even within the pages of Trinity where he is laying the smack down on Konvikt, he is still showing a greater degree of intellect. He is after all a scientist, much like his father and has access to probably one of the most extensive scientific databases in the world concerning the universe.

Action Comics #867Action Comics #867

The last few pages is Superman meeting up with some of Brainiac’s drones on a planet, where he deals swiftly with them before Brainiac’s skulled vessel arrives which incinerates the entire planet, rather quickly and easily, which adds to that feeling that maybe we have not seen all that Brainiac possesses or is capable of. It was definitely one of those things you were expecting, but Franks does a good job in conveying the battle. The last panel is my favorite and a must see. Brainiac’s ship is in the background preparing to pull the last son of Krypton into the ship and the humanoid Brainiac with a slight smile of his face. The eyes on Brainiac’s vessel are glowing green and superman is incapacitated, but I don’t know if this is because of the blast ( I am assuming it is.) or if this is Kryptonite in use. I guess we will find out in the next part to this exciting and compelling arc.

Action Comics #867Action Comics #867

I will have to degree with the overall assertion made not just by Foiball and other sites. This new direction in Action Comics is not making Superman relevant. Superman has been relevant in a very different way for a while now. He has constantly been representative as a Symbol or an Icon in the DCU and woven carefully into almost every facet of it’s Universe. Pick up the Justice League of America and see his toned down, Leadership role there. Pick up the Titans series and see his Mentor support role there. Pick up Justice Society of America and notice his Ally role in those pages. You could even pick up the Death of the New Gods series and notice his Observer role. Pick up Superman/Batman and notice his brave and the Bold style Teammate role. The Superman mythos I believe could never be referred to as non-relevant. Action Comics has gone through its ups and downs with the character, but has always been a staple place for all Superman entries and I have always looked at it as the mainstay before viewing other comics branding the Superman name. None of the other have been great reads or have garnered noteworthy praise and I find it fitting that the Superman mythos or story be reinvigorated in the pages of Action comics.

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