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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #859 Action Comics #859

Action Comics #859

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 21, 2007

Cover date: January 2008

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Gary Frank
Inker: Jon Sibal

"Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes - Part Two"

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, and Cosmic Boy examine the ruins of the Batcave in 3008, searching for evidence that Krypton exists. They speak of how the Legion can't attack the new "heroes."

The "Justice League" appears and attacks, defeating the trio and proclaiming that they're only interested in righting the lies that the Legion has been spreading about Superman.

Wildfire, Collosal Boy and Dawnstar tend to Superman's wound, and indicate that they didn't bring him here earlier because he's so important to history. Superman says that he believes it to be more than that, and Wildfire tells him of how Absorbancy Boy, after being rejected from the Legion, changed his name to Earth-Man and perpetuated the myth that Superman was a human and hated aliens, a lie that has brought about the Legion's desperate situation.

Superman and the three then go to an alien holding camp in an attempt to rescue Brainiac 5.

4Story - 4: I admit to being a Legion noob. And I really, really shouldn't be by now, with the amount of research I do. I just can't really get into them. Some of the things that people love about them, from what I understand, is the vast number of characters, the fantasy involved, the fact that there are echoes of DC history. I just can't seem to get much out of a series that has character names like, "Colossal Boy," "Lightning Lad," and "Absorbancy Boy."

-boy, -lad, -girl, -woman.

I'm not one of those guys that tends to shirk from an overly complex series of labels and an extensive continuity, but Legion has always proved baffling to me. When I reviewed Superboy's Legion years ago, I was just lost, annoyed, perplexed.

I still don't know anything about Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, and Colossal Boy despite having read many, many stories where they feature as guests.

That's why there's one point missing. I have virtually no identity with these characters.

However, the premise, the execution, the style, and the writing are all pretty much top-notch. There are a few henky points. I don't enjoy the idea of "What would Superman do?" coming per "What would Jesus do?" out of the Legion, it makes them seem too much like their evil counterpart. I also have no idea how such an obviously ridiculous idea could spread so far and for so long when, according to this history, a large number of Kryptonians survive, and, for that matter, it's hard to believe that genetic knowledge of Superman wouldn't survive.

I once had an editor yell at me because I had a guy using batteries to listen to a radio a hundred fifty years after they'd stopped being manufactured. That person completely missed the point of the image, so I'm not going to complain that the Batcave's many trophies are still relatively okay after a thousand years. It was a great, chilling image.

This reads kind of like Days of Future Past, and I always found Legion tales mostly hopelessly naïve. Admittedly, I haven't read the new run. I want to. I will, when I find the time.

Does this story draw me into them? No. But is it a good story?


4Art - 4: Gary Frank renders an excellent Superman, and his level of detail is amazing. I love looking at his panels. The scenes with the Batcave, the scene with the alien detention camp, the scenes where the Legionaires are on display, all top notch. He does great with splashes, too.

My biggest issue, and thus the knocked point, is that there are a TON of panels where there is quite literally little to no background beyond the character work. He draws characters well enough that it doesn't pull you out of the story, but I still think half of comic art is a compelling background, and yes, it's difficult with so much talking, as this issue had, but I'd have liked to see what the 31st century looked like in brief as well as in panorama.

3Cover Art - 3: A thinker reference, a Superman at the head of the Legion despite having been there as a boy, presumably, and the black background obfuscating... it takes the cover down a bit for me. Granted, it's fitting with the continuing theme of darker backgrounds on these covers, but hey, where's the future back there? Also, call me crazy, but it's almost too detailed, given that so much is obfuscated by the dark. All right, I'll call myself crazy for that. I've gotta put my finger on it...

BINGO! I got what sits wrong with me. It's in English. On the pedestal. In the 31st century. I knew SOMETHING was getting me.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2008

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