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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #839

Action Comics #839

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 1, 2006

Cover date: July 2006

Writer: Geoff Johns and Kurt Busiek
Penciller: Renato Guedes
Inker: Renato Guedes

"This Looks Like A Job..."

Reviewed by: Nick Newman

Click to enlarge

Superman flashes back to his final battle with Superboy-Prime and his return to Earth, powerless but able to return to his wife.

A year later, Superman hovers above the assembled criminals, back at full power. He punches Bloodsport, causing his gun to fire. Superman dodges and lets the blast hit Silver Banshee, who flies into Livewire, taking both of them out. Finally Superman whirls around Riot, sucking the air away until the duplicating villain passes out. The crowd applauds and Superman flies away, leaving Jimmy behind.

At the Daily Planet, Clark tells Lois that things are different. He is sensing more than he ever did before, and he thinks that the shock of his powers returning might have boosted his brain power. Before he can say anything more, Perry yells that he wants everyone on Superman's return. Clark tries to focus, but he can't block out everything from across the city. He charges out of the building, mumbling that he doesn't feel well.

Hovering above the city, Superman tries to focus his thoughts and tune it all out. He slowly lets them back in one by one. For a few moments he wonders about the life he could have lived, but then he admits that there are many who put up with worse, and they don't have the ability to save countless lives.

Superman descends back down to the street to look for what he heard earlier. Jimmy and Lois walk out on to the street, when giant crystals suddenly burst through the streets. Superman zips around the city, saving people from the crystals now sprouting all over Metropolis, while Lois makes excuses to Perry for Clark's absence.

In his lair, Luthor explains that the ship was just the inert form of the crystal, but it's self-replicating. As a void in the crystal opens before Luthor, a Kryptonian voice speaks to him. Luthor says goodbye to the Toyman, telling him that his creator the original Toyman will be delivered to him, and he should probably get out of Metropolis. Freeing the last of the trapped citizens, Superman heads up into the sky. Emerging from the crystals, he knows only one man could be behind this. As he sees a huge flying crystal construct, he tells Luthor it's time to finish this.

5Story - 5: This entire arc continues to be absolutely fantastic. A lot of it I've said before about the previous chapters, but even six issues in I'm still impressed at some of the stuff Johns and Busiek are doing.

I loved the conclusion of the fight. Someone has finally gotten Superman's fighting style right. He doesn't just punch things; he fights intelligently, taking down his foes with the least amount of force.

My favorite part of this issue though, was Superman hovering above Metropolis regaining his powers. He starts to feel bad for himself that he can never truly be human. But then, and this is the part that I love, he admits that people live with worse and never complain, and they can't do what he does. I am so sick of the trend to have heroes wallow in self pity, despite their powers, and its fantastic to see writers treat it differently.

Apart from that fantastic bit, the rest was a very solid issue. Great characterization throughout (especially Perry, I love having him back where he should be), good action, and a little more insight into Lex's plans.

I was a little disappointed when it was first announced that Busiek was staying on the books given some of his recent work (see the abysmal JLA story, or rather, avoid said story), but after this there are very few people I would rather have on this book. Great stuff.

5Art - 5: I've been a fan of Guedes' work for awhile now, and this issue was no exception. Most of it was standard work for Guedes, but I was really impressed with the splashes he did of Clark hovering over the city, both the wide front shot and the close in rear shot. The image of Kal high above his city is a fantastic image, and the coloring and clouds really added to it.

Guedes also does a great job with the cape. It's very fluid as Superman is flying around, which is a nice touch that's often neglected.

My only complaint, and it's a minor one, is that Luthor's crystal ship looks kind of lame. But they can't all be winners, and if next issue's cover is any indication, Lex won't be staying in that thing for long.

4Cover Art - 4: The only part of this issue with any real weakness, this cover just doesn't do it for me. I really like the image of Luthor sitting on his crystal throne, but I feel like all the light colors were a negative when the only thing to contrast with them was Luthor's dark suit. This cover needs some color to make it pop. Other than that though, it was still a great cover, and as long as I don't have more to say I'll take another opportunity to say just how much I love that Action Comics logo. I am so glad they went back to the retro look.

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

January 2006

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