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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #805

Action Comics #805

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 2, 2003

Cover date: September 2003

Writer: Joe Kelly
Penciller: Pascual Ferry
Inker: Cam Smith

"The Harvest" (Conclusion)

Reviewed by: Nick Newman (

Superman and Lex Luthor stand together, both gazing down at the Earth.Luthor tells Superman that he cannot play fair with Zod.If he wants to win, then he must kill him.Superman merely stares at his long-time enemy before storming away; telling Luthor to get the sun back, and he'll do what he has to.

Outside the Rabbit Hole, the base of all of America's military might, Superman leads the charge as hordes of former villains assault the stronghold.Throwing troops aside, Superman tells Coldcast that once they get inside, he is to jam all communications.A second later a bullet grazes Superman in the arm.Coldcast waits for the word, and then powers Superman up with a burst of yellow solar energy.Powered up, Superman is able to see Zod in the distance.He tells Coldcast to move to the doors, while he plays soldier.Before he can launch himself after Zod, the man called Shrew speaks up.He hands Superman a costume that they found in the trash, Superman's costume.

Luthor yells at his force of metahumans, instructing them to take out the Blackhawks.In orbit around the sun, Metallo himself is the flagship for the battle, with Luthor at the helm.As Luthor and Metallo move in to destroy the solar converters, Ignition suddenly appears before them.With a blast of energy, he assaults Metallo.

Zod strikes at Superman as the Man of Steel parries the blow.Kal tells Zod that it doesn't have to end in death, but Zod disagrees as he slams the Kryptonian into a cliff face.As Superman and Zod continue to battle, neither conceding to the other, Coldcast leads the troops to the fortress.Knocked to his knees, Superman waits while Zod tells him that Superman created him.With a glare, Superman rises up and knocks Zod across the face.He didn't create him, but he will destroy him.

Around the sun, Metallo splits his gigantic body into thousands of tiny drones.As Ignition struggles to take them all out, Metallo and Lex destroy the solar converters.Metallo prepares to collapse the net, but Luthor tells him to wait for his mark, as timing is essential.

On Earth, Superman and Zod hammer into each other until Superman finally catches Zod in a headlock.Zod goads him on, and with a snap of his arm, Superman brings Zod's head around with a sharp 'crack'.The assembled forces look skyward as Zod's body plummets to the ground.Landing near him, Superman tells Zod that a fraction more strength and he would have snapped his neck, but he will not let himself be destroyed by Zod.Superman turns to walk away, but Zod pulls himself up from the ground.Leaping into the sky, he screams that Superman will kneel before....With a crack Zod slams into Superman's invulnerable body just as the yellow sunlight reaches Earth and bathes him in power.In space, Luthor grins at his perfect timing.

Superman stares down at the broken body of Zod and asks why he did it.He must have seen the sun reverting to yellow, and yet he struck anyways.Zod mutters that it is not over, for Superman is still wearing his face, moments before the life leaves his body.

Following the attack, the cleanup of the world begins.Faora is used to produce a cure to the metagene disabler and Earth's superheroes are returned to their former glory.In Stryker's prison, Luthor presents the recaptured villains with a medal of honor.Coldcast tells Luthor that the medal means nothing.Leaning in, Luthor questions the man.Coldcast had to have known that Luthor would never pardon them, and yet when the fighting was over, they relinquished control of the armory willingly.Coldcast could have killed Superman with one blast, and yet he didn't.Coldcast simply responds that Superman treated them like men, so they acted like men.

In Pokolistan, Superman and Lois gaze upon a statue of Zod placed above his grave.Lois tells Clark that he can't worry about Zod's ramblings that Superman created him.Superman says he knows, but he has to wonder.If the world was a little kinder, couldn't Zod and him have been brothers?

3Story - 3: There's a lot I like about this story, and this arc as a whole.First off, it was done well.It was meant to be epic, and it was.Ignoring the fact that disabling the metagene leaves easily a hundred fully-powered superheroes to fight Zod, I liked the concept a lot.And my qualms about Zod's origin aside, the final fight was good.I'm also pretty pleased with Metallo's apparent demise.I am hoping this lets someone revert the character back to his roots.The old humanoid Metallo is a lot more interesting.All in all, this issue was a solid read.However, there are a few things that dropped this to a four, and then one or two more things that dropped it to a three.First off, the whole 'treating them as men' thing was kind of a stretch.A base-full of villains with command of a nuclear arsenal and they surrender?A few of them maybe, but some of them would have put up a fight.Then there was the whole timing thing.An interesting twist, but how in the world are we supposed to believe that Luthor was able to plan 8 minutes in advance so the light would hit just right.It's not like he could even see what was happening on Earth anyway.I realize it makes the story work, but it is also kind of a stretch.The big thing that dropped it the extra number though, was the fake killing of Zod.Now, it was a beautiful move in Action Comics #775.That worked so well that it has to be one of the best stories of all time (except for that awful art, what were they thinking?).And then Kelly used it again at the end of 'Ending Battle'.It was a little stale then.And now again, he uses it.He tries to trick you into believing that Superman has killed, only to reveal that he didn't.Now I'm sorry, Superman faking it to Manchester is great, and the mental battle with Black was also tolerable.But if you jerk someone's head around and there is a snap drawn in, their neck better be broken.If they can draw anything they want and not have it mean anything, then what in the world is the purpose of a graphic medium like comic books?A pointless ruse to add a shock value for 5 panels.Pointless Kelly.As I said, it was great in #775, and I put up with it in Ending Battle, but learn a new trick.

Overall though, and to make up a little for that (albeit well-deserved) tirade, I will say that the arc as a whole was good.I enjoyed it.The Zod issue was resolved, and with a true conclusion often lacking in comic books, that is something worth mentioning.We are left still wondering who or what Ignition is (or I missed something along the way), but that doesn't really matter.It was a good storyline, and I hope we see more of its kind.

3Art - 3: Pascual's art gets a four.I enjoyed it and the battle between Zod and Kal was very nice.However, the guest art during Luthor's sequences just wasn't up to par.Plus, what's the point of a split-artist book?This has always bothered me.Would the extra few pages really have been that much harder to do?That detail drags it down to average.

2Cover Art - 2: AAAARRRRRGHHHHH!Who decided that Bullock should do these covers?He isn't good for this sort of thing.He's a fine artist, but this is not his forte.Besides that, I do like the raising of the 'flag', although I'm not quite sure what they are supposed to be standing on.That's about all I can comment on the cover, but as a side note, does anyone else think that three of them really look like the furies?The first could be Stompa, the second Lashina, and the third someone else (Mad Harriet maybe?).Coincidence?I'm really not sure.

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

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