Thursday, October 9, 2008

7 Lessons From Action Comics #870

We're going to spoil some things here, folks. And even though every single moment of the Brainiac story arc (except the fact that Geoff Johns was going to come up with yet another new and mutually exclusive origin for Supergirl) was completely predictable from the very first panel, it's too early in the week to talk about these things without a SPOILER ALERT.

Even the "huge surprise" at the end was telegraphed ten ways to Sunday thanks to the mind-numbingly obvious junior high honors English symbolism strewn throughout all 5 parts. But out of courtesy, I'm flagging SPOILER ALERTS here in a fairly huge way. OK?

So after the picture of Braniac drawn to look exactly like Lex Luthor (?) the SPOILERS commence. OK?

(By the way, when Lex Luthor shows up in Action, will Geoff Johns/DC make Gary Frank draw him to look exactly like Gene Hackman? Just asking...)

OK, after this next picture, SPOILER ALERT:

Luthor as Beast Boy

LESSON #1 FROM ACTION COMICS #870: Geoff Johns is so enraptured with the Richard Donner Superman, he had to kill Pa Kent unnecessarily so the continuities would match up better in his head.

Then again, if he keeps to the model, Kal-El can just fly backwards around the world, turning back time, to save Pa...

LESSON #2: Guess they should have let Pa Kent drink that beer on the last cover, eh? He'll never get a chance at another one...

LESSON #3: If Superman doesn't unnecessarily go into space to hunt Brainiac, Pa Kent would still be alive. Let's start heaping on the guilt, shall we? Because that's how I want my Superman: Peter Parker-style neurotic...

LESSON #4: Superman will take a beaten foe and grind his face into the mud with his boot:

Kal-El: now as nasty as Wolverine or the Punisher!!That's Truth, Justice and the American Way, Geoff Johns style!! (For the record, this was before Pa Kent died, so don't use that as justification for Superman suddenly mocking and humiliating fallen foes...) Seriously this how Superman would act?

LESSON #4: Ma Kent is so spoiled (and stupid) from having a super-son, she doesn't even call 911 when her husband has a heart attack:

Don't you even have a damned JLA communicator? Call Kara? Anything?!?!Before you say anything, note that as far as she knew, Clark was still deep in outer space, so even if Smallville has the worst ambulance service in the history of history, it's still got to be better than calling for someone who's light years away.

LESSON #5: Whatever you might think of Gary Frank's art, his ability to draw likenesses is NOT one of his stengths. So whoever's edict it was to draw the Man of Steel so that he looks exactly like Christopher Reeve, please stop. Because Frank's just not good at it, and we get ridiculous results like this:

Christopher Reeve constipated

Christopher Reeve letting out a super-fart (with sound effects)

Christopher Reeve worrying about an IRS audit

Christopher Reeve looking at a cute, cute puppy

Look, DC, if you want a tracer, hire Greg Land to draw Action. Otherwise, let Gary Frank be Gary Frank. It's embarrassing.

LESSON #6: Brainiac is stupider than Jupiter. If Brainiac's missiles are capable of causing supernovas, why does the one he fires at the Kents only blow up a house, and not even singe two people standing ten feet away?!? Why the hell not fire one of your supernova missiles at Smallville, or at least something nuclear? Some revenge, just got lucky with a heart attack.

LESSON #7: Geoff Johns really can't go more than a few issues without whacking someone, can he?

But other then being wretchedly predictable, being morbidly obsessed with death, being morbidly obsessed with a version of Superman from a movie 30 years ago, making no sense on its own terms, and denigrating the character of Superman, the story didn't completely suck. Just mostly.

Thus endeth the lessons.


Anonymous said...

Lesson #Whatever:
This reviewer is a a batshit insane basement dwelling elitist retard who will never get laid, How'd i do?

Anonymous said...

Oh and #8. Sorry couldn't be bothered to read your tripe.

snell said...

Wow, I didn't expect hate mail that soon.

Insane elitist retard? Something new to put on my resume.

Khairul H. said...

Took the time to write insulting comments on a blog about frickin' comics and snell is the retard? Really, anonymous?

De said...

To wash out the bad taste of this insanity (all of it), I suggest re-reading last month's issue of Action Comics.

Krypto rules.

De said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
De said...

I accidentally double-posted PLUS I was wrong. I meant last month's issue of Superman. More coffee needed STAT!

ShadowWing Tronix said...

Let me see if I follow. John's in good health for his age (and having to raise a Kryptonian on Earth somewhere near retirement age) and he has to die. (One of the minor reasons I stopped watching Smallville, for the record.) However, Aunt May, who has a heart attack on a bi-annual basis gets to live?

Whose DC's answer to Satan? Worked for Petey. Granted, we'll miss Lois.

Captain Infinity said...

To be fair, he is welcoming Brainiac to Earth. Maybe the whole grinding his face in the mud is some sort of Kyrptonian greeting.

Mark Engblom said...

Crazy talk here...but you MAY want to consider not buying and reading any more Geoff Johns titles. I think your life would be happier if you didn't.

As for the face in the mud: Oh, come on. Ever read the first couple of years of the Golden Age Superman? Now THAT was a mean bastard. Considering Brainiac threatened Earth and Metropolis with destruction, I think a face in the mud is a pretty mild rebuke, don't you? reminds me of all the swooning over Captain America's kick to Bruce Banner's face in the Ultimates a few years ago. You'd think comic fans were all a bunch of Southern Belle's overcome with the Vapors.

snell said...

The question is not whether it's a mild rebuke, it's a question over what Superman, as a character, would do. There are things Batman would do and not do...there are things Superman would do and not do. When Clark Kent starts behaving like Logan, something's off.

One hallmark of Johns' writing is a willingness to throw characterization out the window in favor of a "cool bit." To hell with consistency--the same author writing the same Superman in LO3W has Kal-El declaring that we must somehow redeem Superboy-Prime, instead of kicking his ass.

As to the Golden Age. Sure. And so you wouldn't object if Batman started using pistols and killing criminals again?