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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #827

Action Comics #827

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 11, 2005

Cover date: July 2005

Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: John Byrne
Inker: Nelson

"Strange Attractors" - Part One

Reviewed by: Nick Newman

Click to enlarge

A hooded woman approaches a girl on the street and identifies her as Aura, former teammate of Superboy. Aura tries to deny it, but the woman just tells her that her own powers aren't as special with Aura's magnetic powers around. Handing Aura a few bolts, she points skyward towards a plummeting helicopter. As the chopper crashes into Aura, the woman removes her cloak and identifies herself as Repulse.

In a small rural village, a group of military men threaten the leader of the camp. Suddenly their jeep explodes and Superman charges out of one of the huts. Wearing his cape wrapped around his torso, he punches another one of their vehicles before lifting the leader up and telling him to leave. Watching them walk away, Superman comments that he enjoyed that. Tying his cape up as a flag, Superman flies away, waving at the crowd below.

Landing in his apartment, he wakes Lois up. As Lois gets ready for work, Clark says that he's thinking about starting a new book. He tells Lois that he used to think his friends and family made him vulnerable. Now he feels like the luckiest man in the world. As Lois drives away, Clark begins to write.

At the Daily Planet, Perry yells at Olsen to get downstairs to start taking pictures of the cars falling from the sky, when one smashes right into the newsroom. Climbing up to the breach, Jimmy looks out and sees Doctor Polaris below.

Polaris is fighting for his life against Repulse, who is hurling cars at him. Taking control of the Superman statue, Repulse grabs him and flings him skyward. The SCU tries to fight back, but none of their guns will work. Suddenly a blur appears on the scene. Superman grabs Polaris, thinking him to be the culprit. Suddenly Repulse uses her powers to take control of the electromagnetic spectrum, rendering Superman blind. Superman stands disoriented for a moment, before yelling Polaris' name and soaring skyward to grab the doctor. Superman tells Polaris that he may be blind, but he can still hear, and he doesn't hear Repulse. Repulse doesn't exist. Polaris suddenly hits him with an energy bolt, knocking the Man of Steel to his knees.

2Story - 2: Like I said last month, I no longer look forward to new writers, and this is why. Now I've heard good things about Simone. Birds of Prey is supposed to be good, although I've never read it myself. However, Villains United didn't really do it for me, and this definitely doesn't. It started out decent enough. I'm surprised anyone even remembers Aura. I thought I was the only person that bought Superboy and the Ravers. After that though, things went downhill. We start with Superman living in some village, I presume in Africa, wearing only his cape and pants, and defending the locals against a band of goons. What? I really don't understand the point of this. This soured the whole issue for me. After that we get a Lois appearance. I like the fact that we see some interaction between them, but it didn't really accomplish anything, other than the fact that Clark now sees his friends as a blessing rather than a curse. Well at least that got fixed. I give it four months till a writer gets lazy and uses it for an easy story again. On to the meat of the story. A new villain, because we definitely need more metas around the DCU (see my argument in my Villains United review as to why DC can't kill off all its villains). And a lame magnetic one too. I never really liked magnetic villains, mainly because they are all rip-offs of Magneto. But wait, it's just Doctor Polaris going psycho (or faking, not really sure which, but I'm betting on the former). If there's one image I didn't need to see, it's one of Polaris with his foot up on Superman saying "darling". That's just a little much for me. Superman going blind also seemed... I don't know, forced. It just felt awkward, especially the dialog surrounding it. Apart from those problems, the issue just felt wrong. I'm still going to give Simone a chance for another two or three issues, but as a debut issue this one definitely loses.

2Art - 2: John Byrne was, at one time, a great Superman artist. He was a great writer too, but that's beside the point. His work in the late 80s was great, and really cemented what Superman would look like throughout the 90s (bring on the hate mail from the Swan fans). However, as this, and his recent and abysmal run on JLA, will prove, ol' Johnny no longer has it. His art looks very dated, all of his women look the same (compare Lois to Aura) and there's just a general lack of detail in a lot of the shots that really bugs me. His faces in particular really suffer, especially when they're compared to what he used to create. There are a few redeeming shots in the issue. The panel with the car crashing into the Daily Planet is vintage Byrne, and that's good vintage. Of course, the woman in the panel looks poor, but the rest of the shot is solid. Maybe it's just Perry who does it for me, because if there is one character that Byrne can still do, it's Perry. That pretty much sums up the art, except for one thing. I'd be doing everybody a horrible disservice if I didn't address Repulse. What kind of costume design is this? Not the terror of a... dress! She just looks horrible. And that's without even mentioning her hair. The top two panels on page three told me everything I needed to know about Byrne on Superman. They told me that he hasn't learned from that horrid JLA run, and that we can expect lots more of the same. What is up with her hair? It's just hideous. John, you were great once, and I'm sure you can be again, but this definitely needs work.

2Cover Art - 2: See pretty much all of the above. Lack of detail, a horrible pose, and a strange facial expression ruin this for me. The whole cover just looks... old. And not retro old, the kind that would be good. No, this is the 'Superman comics are dated and aren't worth reading' old. I will admit, it is kind of cool to see Byrne's signature on a cover of Action again, complete with that perfect title logo, but that's where the good ends. Please Mr. Byrne, dig out your old issues of Superman and study those. If you can produce that caliber of art again I'll be much, much happier.

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