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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #864

Action Comics #864

Scheduled to arrive in stores: April 30, 2008

Cover date: June 2008

"Batman and the Legion of Superheroes"

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Joe Prado
Inker: Jon Sibal

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

Click to enlarge

A mysterious commentary reveals they have knowledge of Superman's past and that he's manipulated Batman to sow the seed of a plot to distance Superman from his newly rediscovered past.

To that effect Batman enters the Fortress only to meet Lightning Lad and Superman reminiscing their adventures.

The voice reveals that in the past he's always plotted to get rid of Superman from the Legion of Superheroes 'equation' but despite pocket universes, alternate histories and Kryptonian cousins Superman has always found his way back to them and Batman is no threat to the future...

Bruce and Garth don't get on together but Batman obviously wants to talk so Garth walks off moodily around the intergalactic zoo. Bruce questions Clark about where he was recently and why he hadn't answered his JL beacon. Superman relays the events of his visit to his future and how Garth had returned him to the past.

Bruce is angry that a time traveller is in the past and that the ramifications of his visit could be disastrous - even if Clark has him under house arrest. Bruce also points out there are three Legions now.

The originals that once fought alongside them in a battle with Mordru, long thought lost... A youthful Legion that were trapped in the past during The Final Night. And still a third Green Lantern and Bruce encountered during a hunt for the Book of Destiny.

Superman points out the multiverse and that there is a possibility of three worlds out there with three Legions. Bruce is not best pleased with the disorder and confusion, and Clark taps into that, probing the purpose of the visit. Bruce theorizes Garth chaperoning Clark to today has nothing to do with safeguarding his travel but more to do with two deaths in Gotham.

Humoring Bruce Clark visits Gotham to find the aftermath of Countdown. A duo of Legion members lying dead.

Karate Kid from the Mortococcus virus and Una from the mutant rat attack...

They didn't die there... they were placed for Superman to see holding their flight rings for their former teammate to find.

The commentary reveals the Legionnaires were deliberately placed there for Clark to find... Superman scans the bodies confirming the commentary and also reveals the virus is long dead.

The obvious construction of the murder scene is interrupted by Lightning Lad, who flying in demands to know what has happened. Bruce restrains Garth and his fiery temper demanding he return to the future.

Garth reveals he homed in on the flight ring distress signals and hadn't meant to disobey Clark. Before anything else can be discussed another flight ring signal is activated. Starboy needs their help.

Unfortunately in this time Starboy, Thom Callor is now Star Man and housed in a sanitarium. The present diagnosis is that he's schizophrenic - the voice reveals its not that case. Dream Girl passed on her gift to Thom, knowledge of the future he houses but cannotutilize.

Starman leaks several pieces of information, the Lightning Saga, Countdown and Una's future (where one self still exists) Starman reveals he knows who placed the bodies in the alley. A villain that wanted to say a final goodbye to Batman and a unique hello to Clark. The culprit is about to start a Legion War.

Before they leave, Starman feeds them more clues or a mess of misinformation... his new name is Danny Blaine and a painting of 105 people...

Starman is lost and though he sowed the seeds for their quest he falls back into madness.

The voice smirks that not even Luthor was able to strike the levels of fear that 'he' has - or will do.

Garth loads his comrades into the time sphere and though he too is fearful to what lies ahead now, not least the aftermath of Earth Man's domination he begs Superman to try and get on with life after the mess it's been this year. In a rare moment Garth turns to Bruce and with an air of finality he asks him "to try getting loud once in a while" perhaps trying to feed him information about the future...

Garth turns back to Clark and tells him that even though the Legion helped him hone his powers he gave them something more... an example of right and wrong, truth and justice and more than that, he made the Legion more than a club... he made it... a family.

Garth considered Clark to be his brother...

A touching moment that is made even more special with a gift from Brainiac 5. A specially adapting ring that can become invisible at will and has a time travel facility.

Either the Legion can call him to the future remotely or it has an emergency facility so Clark can travel there on a one time trip.

Garth, again turns to Batman and softens to the hero, though they started out like chalk and cheese they finally seemed to have warmed to one another. Garth even jokes he wonders what it would have been like if they'd taken Bruce to the future too just before he vanishes!

Bruce is very curious to hear about this new side of Clark... he was a troublesome teen?

Surely not! Clark reveals he wasn't always the squeaky clean hero the public believes and that he was a bundle of superheroic trouble in the future!

Clark lies to Bruce that in the future they regard the two heroes as "The World's Finest".

The voice smirks that Batman will be barely remembered in the future. And watches as Bruce returns to Gotham.

The voice watches Clark, thewild cardin time and reveals though he can't seem to ever erase him he can alter the perception of the hero to destroy him.

A series of visions appear and it appears the voice was or is the guiding hand behind them. The rise of Earth man and his Justice League, the reign of Gog, the return of Brainiac, the arrival of Una and Val during Countdown and the death of Batman.

"I'll corrupt EVERYTHING you ever stood for."

I am the Time Trapper, and I deserve better than I've been given...

To Be Continued in Legion of Three Worlds...

5Story - 5: Works nicely as a lead in to the big story and weirdly works as a much better ending to Countdown than the real one or the "infomercial" that was DC Universe #0!

It acknowledges the stories past, reveals that manipulation of time by Time Trapper was the cause or will be of several "mismatched continuity" stories we've all been stumped by - a little convenient but I'm glad we're getting an explanation of sorts and ultimately a repairing of continuity.

Nice to see Starman acknowledging his former team mates and him giving us a plethora of information to go on and some red herrings to tease us with too! For some that may be annoying but to me it builds the anticipation of a great story and makes sure it's not predictable. The title is a little odd as it really had little to do with Batman aside from revealing he's going to 'possibly' die in his own book and tie in the horror that was Countdown.

Not that I'm a Batman hater but it is good to know he'll be forgotten in the future and Superman definitely won't be... hehe. After some truly 'garbled' adventures its really nice that cohesion in his own titles is a driving force and that Superman his finally, FINALLY getting continuity back.

3Art - 3: The explosive arrival of Garth is amazing but the art can't be measured on one page. The art is really hit and miss this month, some of it is truly awe inspiring and others seem very... dull. The inking I feel is what lets it down, it's just far too... much and far too heavy. A shame as it's a great issue overall.

5Cover Art - 5: Superman - Prime?! Pah!

An homage to Infinite Crisis, it expertly shows the plans for Superman's future and it doesn't disappoint giving an image that just makes you say... wow!

It also shows that Geoff Johns is intending to make his run canon... odd that every Kurt Busiekstory linehas been omitted from the cover and continuity inside though...

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2008

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