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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #823

Action Comics #823

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 12, 2005

Cover date: March 2005

Writer: Chuck Austen
Penciller: Ivan Reis
Inker: Marc Campos

"Repo Man" - Part Two

Reviewed by: Nick Newman

Two pilots cross over St. Louis when suddenly something appears on the radar. A battered Superman goes flying by and crashes to the ground. The assembled crowd can only comment that whatever is strong enough to throw Superman like that is a very bad thing.

Back at the Kent farm, the Repo Man laughs at how hard he hit Superman while Pa and Superboy launch an offensive. Superboy tackles him, but immediately starts to feel weak. As Pa helps Superboy up, Repo Man comes charging out of the rubble screaming that he hates pretty boys like Superboy. Superboy taunts him, and Repo Man slams him into the ground. With Superboy out of commission, the giant turns his attention to Pa.

Miles away, Superman tears off into the sky. Pa fires a few useless shots at Repo Man before being picked up. Repo Man begins to pull Pa in half when Superboy whistles. Krypto suddenly charges in and bites the monster, letting Pa get free. As Repo Man pulls Krypto off, sonic booms fill the air as Superman slams into Repo Man. As Superman holds Repo Man down, whatever powers he had begin to fade and he reverts to his human form. He makes some rather lewd comments about the Kent women, and Superman quickly knocks him out. Superboy and Krypto find a glowing chunk of Kryptonite lying there, and surmise that he got it from a 'white-haired old guy'. Krypto digs a hole and they drop the K into it. As the women run up, they comment how Superman is starting to look... older. Taking Repo Man with him, Superman heads off to S.T.A.R. Labs to have himself checked out.

At dinner, Lana makes a comment about how Lois isn't there to support her husband right now. Lois argues back that Lana should shut up. Martha finally gets a word in and tells Lois that she isn't as supportive as she should be, and tells Lana that she had her chance and needs to move on.

Elsewhere, Doomsday plods through the streets.

At Preus' compound, Jimmy investigates around when he hears a voice in his head. Looking around, he finds J'onn staked up and bloody. J'onn tells Jimmy to run and bring Superman. Suddenly Preus interrupts and tells Jimmy not to leave so soon. Jimmy asks what they did to J'onn, who's almost as powerful as Superman, and Preus offers to show him.

1Story - 1: Wow. Just when I thought Austen couldn't get worse, we get this. When I write the summary, I always highlight stuff that I want to mention in the review, and this week almost the entire thing is yellow. And no, none of the highlights are good things. I'll start at the beginning and work my way through.

Superman gets knocked to St. Louis and the crowd comments that anyone who can do that is bad. Yes. Thank you Mr. Austen. I didn't understand by the fact that he knocked Superman across the state that Repo Man (I can't believe I actually had to type that) is powerful. Please explain it to me with a crowd so I, the stupid ignorant reader will understand. This is just like when Preus beat up J'onn (and we'll get back to that later). We don't need to be spoon fed information. You don't need to starve us like Azzarello does, but don't force it on us.

Then we have Repo Man's tirade against...pretty boys. Yes, that's right; Repo Man is trying to kill the Kents because he doesn't like male models. Wow.

Then we have an incredibly violent Pa Kent who is shooting to kill. Now I don't have a problem with Jonathan defending his family, not at all. I do have a problem with the person who raised Clark to respect life taking heat shots with a shotgun. I understand that they are trying to make Ma and Pa more in sync with Smallville, and I'm mostly fine with it, but I do miss the more timid Kents of the mid-nineties.

Next, Krypto joins the fray. Now, I have no problem with Krypto. I love the mutt. But why, if he's close enough to hear Superboy's whistle and to arrive on the scene in under a second, wasn't he on the scene as soon as know what, I can't stand that name anymore, so we're just going to refer to him as Stupid, why wasn't Krypto attacking Stupid from the start? I'm not really sure if Krypto is living in California at the Titans Tower, or if he just travels with Kon, but either way his immediate appearance doesn't make sense.

And then, because Austen clearly can't write a resolution, Stupid's powers miraculously disappear at just the right moment. How convenient. Then we have the obligatory but completely unnecessary comments about Lois, Lana, and Martha. I realize he really didn't say anything that bad, but it didn't add anything to the story, so why include it?

Next, we find Kryptonite. Doesn't really explain where he got his powers, nor is there any explanation as to why it didn't weaken our heroes (except for one brief moment with Superboy), it's just there. Then, of course, how do you get rid of the most poisonous substance on the planet? You have your dog did a hole and bury it? What? I remember when Clark kept all of the Kryptonite locked away in the Fortress so it'd be safe. But no, I think a cornfield is a much better place for it. And why didn't it weaken any of them while they were burying it? (Superboy was holding it). I have no clue. I realize it's kind of clouded as to whether or not he's hurt by Kryptonite, but currently he's half Kryptonian, so he should be.

Then we see a resolution to this Lois/Lana fight where...and I really have to brace myself for this one...Martha tells Lois that she's a bad wife. That's right, Martha, who absolutely loves Lois, calls her a crappy spouse. That's just fantastic, why have any regard to a character's personality when it's much easier to end your plotline when you can just rewrite them as you wish?

And then, to cap it all off, Doomsday is evidently walking around. One of the most dangerous beings in the universe is walking around. Now between Jay, Wally, and Bart the Flashes could cover the planet in a few minutes. Yet they can't seem to find him. How hard is it to find an eight foot tall monster with spikes growing out of him when he's walking down the street? I'm pretty sure someone would call the cops. Pathetic.

Finally, the perfect ending to such a great story. That's sarcasm by the way. More Preus. Lucky us. I remember when I was excited about Preus. Then Austen came along. Personally, I think ol' Chuck is far more dangerous to Clark than Preus could ever be. But I digress. We find J'onn, who is being held captive by a bonfire (insert my argument why J'onn cannot be compared to Superman here). And then Jimmy, since we already didn't get the point two issues ago...makes sure that we know that anyone who can beat up Martian Manhunter is probably bad news. Tell you what Chuck, how about I open my mouth real wide, and you can cram it down my throat with your shoe, because that's clearly what you're trying to go for here. Yes, Preus is dangerous, WE GET IT. Stop patronizing us by forcing this on us. How long until he's gone? Oh that's right, this is it. Goodbye Chuck. Your JLA run was abysmal, and your Superman run can be summed up as horribly pathetic villains and Spider-man wearing the wrong costume. I, for one, won't miss you.

4Art - 4: Following that tirade, I really don't have much left in me for more. Let's just say that Reis is great, and while I have small issues with his work on the whole its fantastically beautiful stuff. It's a shame to see good art wasted on a bad writer.

3Cover Art - 3: Who is this guy? How can he do this to Superman? Why have we regressed to corny 60s-era covers with questions? Does anyone really care? Why is there a jeep in the background? These are all good questions, except for those first two that were actually on the cover. This cover loses a point for the corny words. It loses another because Superman looks a little weird. Maybe he's too skinny? I was going to give the cover a two, but I thought that wasn't fair because the art is pretty good, so I'm bumping it up one. It's just so hard to approve of something with Repo Man on it. Come on Austen, where do you get these ideas. Really. How does one think of 'Repo Man'? It boggles the mind.

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