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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #831

Action Comics #831

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 14, 2005

Cover date: November 2005

Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: John Byrne
Inker: Nelson DeCastro

"Black & Blue"

Reviewed by: Nick Newman

Click to enlarge

Bizarro and Zoom begin their race to make Bizarro join the Society. Luthor tells Cheetah to keep him updated.

In Metropolis, Superman tells Black Adam to surrender now. Adam tells Superman that he had nothing to do with the recent problems in his city. As Superman approaches, Dr Psycho takes control of Adam punches Superman square in the face. Superman responds in kind, not having to pull his punches due to Adam's strength.

Bizarro and Zoom continue to crisscross the continent in their race.

At the Daily Planet, Jimmy talks to his new partner. He asks Jimmy why he would take the chances that he does when villains are around. Jimmy says that Superman is his pal, and he'll risk his life for him if he needs to. Suddenly Perry shows up and sends Jimmy off to cover the fight going on downtown.

In her apartment, Lois and Lana try to find out everything they can about Dr Psycho, Black Adam, and Checkmate. Lana uses her contacts, calling up a US General and reminding him that she's the former first lady.

Superman and Adam continue their fight. Adam pleads his innocence, but Superman refers to Shrapnel's comments about him being the opening fight. Jimmy snaps photos off as quickly as he can, and is only saved from falling debris when his partner pushes him out of the way.

Bizarro and Zoom cross France in their super-speed race.

Lois and Lana can't believe what they've learned from the government. Lois takes the information and rushes out to inform Superman.

Superman and Adam hammer on each other as Psycho looks on from a nearby roof. Sneaking up behind him, Lois pushes Psycho off the roof and sends a paper airplane trailing after him. Catching both of them, Superman prepares to finish Adam with one final blow, but Adam turns his back and Superman stops his punch short.

Psycho offers to fix the minds of the people in Metropolis if he gets to go free. Black Adam swears that Psycho will pay for what he did. As Adam flies away, Adam tells Superman that he'll be watching.

Lois tells Superman that she's uncovered some kind of super-criminal conspiracy.

Halfway around the world, Bizarro finally stops and tells Zoom that all he wanted was to feel welcome, as he joins the Society.

2Story - 2: I'm getting real tired of these completely pointless issues. The Zoom/Bizarro race was excessively long and difficult to read. I won't attempt another analysis of Bizarro's speech, Neal did that far better than I ever could, but I will say that it definitely wasn't consistent throughout the book. Years ago, when first reviewing Loeb's new Bizarro, I made the comment that writing Bizarro backwards must take some skill. I think this pretty much proves that. Jeph wrote Bizarro very well. Simone does not. The character should speak backwards, but he should at least be comprehensible.

The entire fight between Superman and Adam didn't seem quite right either, which leads into my biggest problem with this issue...

Simone has no idea who Superman is. Superman gets punched once and he goes crazy, attacking Black Adam and tearing up half of Metropolis? And then, how does this fight end? Not with Superman stopping the fight, or standing down. It ends with the villain turning his back and ending the hostilities. I am sick and tired of this vicious Superman that they are trying to promote these days.

Simone, you are perfect in Villains United...why can't you get this right?

3Art - 3: I think Byrne is getting back in the swing of this book. Superman is looking better, and I think the whole fight was great. A few of the battle scenes in particular were very well done. Black Adam was great too. I'm not crazy about Byrne's Bizarro, but I can deal with that. I cannot, however, deal with his Jimmy. He looks like he's about nine, and possibly afflicted with some type of swelling head malady. That alone knocks the art in this book way down. Byrne can draw the big muscle men, but he's lost any ability to draw the supporting cast, which is sad, because once-upon-a-time he did a fantastic Lois, Jimmy, and Perry.

3Cover Art - 3: Dan Jurgens! I miss you come back to the books. However, there's one big caveat to that. Bring a decent inker with you. I can see shadows of Jurgens' greatness on this cover, but Nowlan's inks just obscure them. Then there's the lack of a background. And to make it even worse, it's a white background. Here's a little tip DC, when a stack of 100 books gets sent out, the dark back cover rubs off on the white front cover and messes it all up. Don't go with white covers unless you absolutely have to.

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

January 2005

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