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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #829

Action Comics #829

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 13, 2005

Cover date: September 2005

Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: John Byrne
Inker: Nelson

"End Of Identity" - Part Two of "Sacrifice"

Reviewed by: Nick Newman

Click to enlarge

Lois is startled as J'onn suddenly materializes in her apartment. He apologizes and tells her that he is there to collect information on Superman's strange behavior. Lois tells him that she knows he's really here to protect her from Clark. J'onn agrees, telling her that with Superman acting as he has been, they are monitoring all of his loved ones. Lois refuses to believe it, but J'onn tells her he's a danger to anyone he comes into contact with.

Green Lantern confronts Superman in his Fortress. Flash shows up and tries to lighten the mood, but Hawkman agrees with Lantern, they need to be careful. Black Canary tells all of them to calm down. She tells Superman to slow down. He has to know that they are there as friends. She tells him to remember back to what happened.

Clark remembers going to see Lois at the Daily Planet, but instead of Brainiac inside her office, this time it's Darkseid attacking his wife. Before he can charge in though, a boom tube transports him to Apokolips. Godfrey greets Superman, begins to prepare him for a fight. Darkseid wants to defeat Superman in front of everyone, and Godfrey decided to dress it up like a boxing match. Superman tries to refuse, but Darkseid informs him that the implant controlling Lois, who is watching from the crowd, is also an explosive.

The two begin to trade blows, with neither yielding. Suddenly Superman begins to feel weak and he realizes that Godfrey put chunks of Kryptonite in the boxing gloves. As Darkseid slams Superman up against the ropes and prepares to finish him, Superman heats up his gloves with heat vision and slams Darkseid through the floor. Grabbing the floor, Superman hurls it up into the sky. He then informs Darkseid that he is out of the ring. Superman wins.

Darkseid concedes his defeat, but as Lois approaches, he offers to remove the implant from her skull himself. Superman rushes to hold the body of his wife. Overcome with rage, he savagely attacks Darkseid. As he strangles him, Darkseid calls him Clark and begs him to stop. As Superman backs up in shock, everything goes white.

Black Canary tells him that it's clear someone is manipulating him. Superman asks whose blood is on his hands, but they tell him that with his vision, he already knows.

They take Superman up to the Watchtower. J'onn goes to meet them, leaving Lois alone, swearing that Clark could not have done it.

Outside the apartment, a hired thug talks on the phone to the Congressman Lois exposed, ready to go and hurt Lois to scare her off.

On the moon, Superman is silent as he stares at what he did. The severely beaten body of Batman.

3Story - 3: Wow. Sacrifice, as a whole, is great. Now, I should have seen the whole Batman angle, especially considering he's on the Wonder Woman cover in two weeks, but I didn't. I'll blame it on the fact that I'm reading twenty-five books this month. DC, you own me. Anyway, I like the storyline. However, this whole fight with Darkseid idea just didn't work for me. First the whole J'onn and Lois scene just seemed wrong. These two characters know each other, and yet they seem like strangers. The dialogue between them seemed forced too. The JLA sequence was done well enough, but I was kind of annoyed at John Stewart's reaction to Superman. Here's a man that GL respects, or should at least, and he's treating him like garbage. Batman-beating or not, John should know to give Superman the benefit of the doubt. And why in the world did Hawkman and Black Canary come? First of all, Diana would be a far better choice than Dinah to talk to Kal, and since she shows up in the end, why wasn't she there from the beginning? Secondly, Carter doesn't even belong there, not to mention the fact that he's off with Adam Strange halfway across the galaxy at the moment. I love the unified DC that "Identity Crisis" is bringing, but the editors need to be prepared to keep things straight if that's how they want it to be. On a good note, Flash did seem well written to me, much more in character than the other leaguers.

The Darkseid fight really bothered me for a number of reasons. Darkseid is a god. He's not a supervillain, he is a god. He does not arrange fights to build team morale. He kills half of the team and then tells the remaining half to do his bidding or they're next. The idea of him boxing with Superman is just... wrong. I realize it's a hallucination, or something, but I'd still rather see a real fight between the two.

In her defense, I think Gail is improving very quickly. This issue is far better than her first, and "Villains United" has been improving drastically with every issue. Neal was right on with his review of issue 3 (right down to his Mockingbird prediction), that series is really starting to shape up into something good. At the rate she is going, I think that we'll be getting very good stories before long. Until then though, there's just something that this book is missing.

3Art - 3: I like some of Byrne's stuff, I really do. His Superman in this issue was good, a lot better than it did a few issues ago, and his Darkseid has always been well done. The fight was even decent. I just can't get over his Lois though. All of his females suffer, but Lois in particular just looks horrible. If he could just correct her I'd be a lot happier with his work, but when I open the cover to find a poorly drawn Lois I just can't get excited about his work.

3Cover Art - 3: I like the theme covers for this arc, and that's really the only saving grace of this cover. Superman's face is weird, and while Darkseid himself looks fine, his pose looks more like he's doing pull-ups than fending off an attack. The two aren't even connecting. Or perhaps it's supposed to look like Darkseid is elbowing Clark in the back. I suppose that would explain the pained expression, but then Darkseid's pose is still all off.

As I already said, I do really like the theme, and the fact that Brainiac is lying defeated on the ground is a really great touch. It doesn't look like they're carrying that idea onto the final two parts, which is a shame, but the fantastic Wonder Woman cover does have Batman lying on the ground (check back in two weeks for that one). However, this cover just looks like they were trying too hard to fit the characters into the theme. I'm glad they did, but it didn't turn out as well as it could have.

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