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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics Annual #11

Action Comics Annual #11

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 7, 2008

Cover date: July 2008

"Last Son: Conclusion"

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Adam Kubert
Inker: Adam Kubert

"Retrofitted Profiles"

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Stephane Roux & Karine Boccanfuso

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

Click to enlarge

A Sunstone Fortress now stands in Metropolis. Zod, Ursa and Non, along with a a great many Phantom Zone escapees have trapped every Justice League member in a zoo prison inside it, dominating the Earth along the way for good measure. No one it seems can stop them...

Hidden away however, Parasite, Metallo, Bizarro, Lex Luthor and Superman are armed and ready to fight for Earth's survival. While the hero and villains struggle to become a cohesive team, Zod and his minions battle the US Army.

Zod proves he is ruthless by almost killing Chris Kent, his biological son. Superman rescues Chris and heads directly into battle armed with red and green laser guns.

Bizarro goes toe to toe with Non while Parasite and Corben use their unique abilities to kill, drain, mutate and crush their prey. When reinforcements arrive Corben uses his gold kryptonite to temporarily render the Kryptonian army powerless and savour them falling to their deaths in a mass of blood.

With the villainous forces dwindling, Lex and Superman sneak into the Metropolis Fortress and Lex murders the sole guard while Clark rescues his wife. Zod arrives but not in time. Superman not only released his partner but the entire Justice League!

Chris under the watch of the army uses his super hearing to listen to his two fathers duking it out and the little boy realizes something...

Ursa and Zod raise Clark into the sky and begin choking the life from him while pelting him with a helicopter. Just as all seems lost Chris flies to the rescue and ends the battle.

Lex and Lois, still in the Fortress are attempting to rewire the tether ship holding the Zone doorway open. Lex offers to take Lois back, rescuing her from a clumsy marriage and back to the days when he ruled Metropolis. To this day he's never understood how a woman so compatible with him would ever turn him down for what the Daily Star had called "a mild mannered, clumsy, Midwestern oaf. With bad taste in suits." Lois turns him down flat and tries to return Lex's attention back to the ship.

Lex offers to explain his exclusive story while elaborating on what he's about to do.

The tether ship is like a rubber band - when it slams back it will pull anything phantom zone related back inside. ANYTHING.

Lois realizes that Clark would be stolen from her too... but too late.

Zod beats his son across the face for defying him as Ursa sees in horror what Luthor has set in motion. The Zone gateway opens and everything from Krypton, corpses, ships, weapons... all begin to be pulled back.

Clark sends Zod back with an awesome punch while holding Chris and himself back from the force of the tether.

Lex gloats at his triumph, but naturally Lois puts a quick stop to that!

Zod reveals as he fades away that he isn't the most terrifying thing in the Zone and when he finds a way out this force will come with him...

Clark refuses to let Chris go but Chris realizes he and his ship are the only things stopping the Zone from sealing and he releases himself from Clark. He thanks him for showing him about life, love and family, about his adventures and how there is life beyond abuse... and making a sacrifice the young boy vanishes into the Zone... Up, Up and Away... lost forever as a Superboy never to be...

Through the loss Clark has to rebuild Metropolis and even more important his life...

Perry is growling over cigars that even with Lex, Parasite, and Metallo in custody, Bizarro in hiding and the city in a state of shock there really needs to be a conclusion to the turn of events. Jimmy throws in the human angle, the little boy who fell to Earth - the boy who proved to be a hero. Lois has beat him to it with a story about how Christopher saved the day.

Clark and Lois leave the office mourning their loss quietly admitting they aren't ready for a family while Lex rages from his cell that it was HIM that saved the day.

The Zod Fortress dismantled, Superman has a heart to heart with his father in the true Fortress of Solitude and comes to some devastating facts...

Jor-El's AI feels crushed that his failings have been forced on his son and that he ever had to mourn the loss of a child - especially as Clark and Lois can never ever biologically have a child. Clark comforts his father with the knowledge that despite how he feels about Zod, Krypton or children, it was because of him Kal-El lives and for that he will forever be grateful.

Superman flies to a nearby view-screen and sees his 'brother' Mon El in the mists.

Chris has vanished - free of his evil parents but lost in the depths of the Zone.

Mon-El tells Clark no matter what he'll keep searching. Clark thanks him and watches as the quest for the Last Son of the Zone begins... or ends depending on your point of view...

5Story - 5: Was it worth it? YES YES YES - and NO.

The NO is the unforgivable lateness of every chapter of Last Son and especially this chapter.

The YES is firstly for fans of the 80's miniseries, Man of Steel. They can now rejoice as it's definitely canon - with a few tweaks for the newer audience who didn't catch it twenty years ago. There are several references in this issue alone evidence to the fact that Man of Steel are still DNA to the current mythos.

Moving on, YES again as Chris is gone... the door is open for him to return but methinks he'll move in with the Space Pirate Supergrandma, Ashbury, Contessa, Khyrana, Scorn and the other residents in the magical land of abandoned concepts that didn't work.

YES too as this issue was ab - so - lutely awesome. If this were only on time junk like Civil War and Countdown wouldn't have dwarfed it. Personally I don't blame Adam Kubert for it and was a little disgusted at his teammates for throwing him to the wolves about the delays - they were ALL to blame.

The fixes were obviously evident. One of the last recent changes vanished forever and more effort to bring it back from the land of fanboydom was in place. Sorry Kurt but you're run after 'Up, Up and Away' really messed with Superman and his continuity.

That said they'll never be able to please everyone - but at least they're trying hard now - perhaps because of the fan backlash... to alleviate the continuity errors they've attempted to say Last Son has been long term through the year - the comment by Chris that he met Robin shows this.

The only thing I can fault is delay in delivery but despite the length of time it took - looking at this as a piece of work I honestly can't find fault in it.

Below I will go into character changes that are now in effect - so brace yourselves, you might like the fixes (I did), you might also hate them - but don't pop a blood vessel.

PROFILE UPDATES: listing significant changes only.


Clark had his powers as a child though they were not 'ready-made' as in MOS he had to learn stability from the Legion as we now know.


Kara is a 24/7 superpowered teen. The B/S story line when she first arrived is still canon. So far she's shunned real superhero life and refused to take on a civilian identity though she may be forced to very soon.


Krypto and Clark found one another in Smallville - nothing else is elaborated on.

The Phantom Zone:

Five Kryptonian criminals died during Last Son. The Phantom Zone from Last Son is now definitive.

Fort Rozz:

Is the only place in the Zone that acts like the real world - elsewhere residents are ghost beings. Now canon.

General Zod:

Pocket Universe Zod, For Tomorrow Zod and Russian Zod are gone, the original General Zod is now canon.


Previously super-intelligent, Non is now more a reflection of Bizarro than Bizarro is of Clark.


Zod is her driving force. Lor was a tool. Nothing more.

Lor Zod:

Because he was born in Fort Rozz, Lor is immune to the Zone. This ability allowed for Zod to eventually escape. Adopting the name Christopher he attempted a normal life but ultimately realized he didn't belong and now hides somewhere in the Zone.

Perry White:

Is now a mix of his Superman: The Movie and Lois & Clark adaptions.

Clark Kent:

Clark retains his stature and reputation since MOS, however he is now closer to only a few Planeteers and is often seen as absent-minded and awkward. Not geeky or clumsy though Superman's powers sometimes cause issues with computers (i.e. the smoking laptop scene in Lois & Clark) he uses a traditional typewriter.

Lois Lane:

Lois was an average reporter before encountering Lex Luthor and a household name with the arrival of Superman. She's famous for being the only reporter Superman gives exclusives to.

Jimmy Olsen:

Jimmy has been retrowritten back to MOS mixed in with his STAS/S:TM adaptions.

Cat Grant:

Cat Grant has now been retrowritten to her Lois & Clark adaption.

Steve Lombard:

Steve is everything Clark should be. Armed now with Sports trivia and metaphors and a lust for Lois Lane.

Ron Troupe:

Ron is now an intellectual geeky type who outperforms Lois & Clark in the awards stake. His geeky interests make him the nemesis of Steve Lombard.

4Character Profiles - 4: I welcome all the changes as they seem like a decent attempt to refresh the books and characters. Except the Steve Lombard/Ron Troupe character changes which seem a little like throwing in Bebop and Rocksteady for comedy effect. I am not fussed with these new takes and in fact think they might help tell new interesting stories - before you say it I know a lot of you will be tearing your hair out, it may be vague but at least MOS is still around for those that still want it...

5Art - 5: Stunning art, not worthy of the delays but still beautiful.

Every chapter of this arc has been a joy to see.

Profile art was just fantastic also!

3Cover Art - 3: Not sure why they translated everything in English and Kryptonian - nice of them but hey ho. Also not as stunning as the past chapters - not horrible either but I've seen better and more interesting covers. Perhaps because of the anticipation I was expecting something... more...

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

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