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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #869

Action Comics #869

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 17, 2008

Cover date: November 2008

"Brainiac" - Part Four: "Mind Over Matter"

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Gary Frank
Inker: Jon Sibal

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Kara reacts in horror as Brainiac's ship attacks Metropolis, dropping drones. Lois urges her to flee, but Kara decides to stay, because Kal did.

Brainiac manhandles Superman, explaining that he's created a program that will analyze his reaction to any given situation, and knows that he is terrified.

Brainiac mocks Superman for considering himself human. Superman bites through Brainiac's cable and attacks him, noting his disdain for violence in most cases.

He seeks Kandor, and to his surprise, finds it, with Zor-El and Alura still alive.

The drones begin to overwhelm Kara.

Zor-El explains how he managed to help Argo City survive the destruction of Krypton by reverse-engineering Brainiac's technology, only to have Brainiac sense it and return, assimilating Argo City into Kandor as Kara was sent off in a spaceship to watch over Kal-El.

The drones get the drop on Kara, but Lois slams one with a fire hydrant. They still manage to grab Kara, just as Brainiac attacks Superman, assimilating him into his brain ship and forcing him to take information in.

Brainiac shrinks Metropolis, and sends out a missile to destroy the sun, as Ma and Pa Kent watch in horror.

5Story - 5: FLAT. OUT. AWESOME.

Brainiac brought into a modern context, a real, palpable, awesome threat, SUPERGIRL AS A CHARACTER I CAN ENJOY.

Let me repeat that.

SUPERGIRL AS A CHARACTER I CAN ENJOY. Selfless. Kind. Innocent. A good person. And not just because Superman is a father figure or a cousin or brother figure to her, but because Superman leads her BY EXAMPLE. She's taking up the mantle of a hero, doing the right thing, and finding her place. EXACTLY what I hope for.

Brainiac's attack, taking Metropolis and bottling it, plays just as chilling as it's no doubt intended to. Masterful characterization of Superman as human over alien, showing a clear and chilling distinction between the concept of an alien and the Man of Steel.

Zor-El and Alura finally making the modern stage, and in a compelling way what's not to like here?

Hands-down, incredible.

5Art - 5: Also incredible. Brainiac in scale to Superman. Supergirl as a real girl I could have met on the street, but beautiful and heroic. Realistic Lois. Terrifying drones, a very distinctive, dramatic rendering of both Metropolis and the skull ship. I don't think there's anything I don't like here. Top to bottom, astounding for me.

3Cover Art - 3: Okay, don't go bonkers. The IMAGE is a five.

Minus one for censorship (the beer, though a questionable choice, was solicited for months with no complaints, and then it's suddenly gone).

Minus one for giving away plot points, as if it isn't obvious what this cover is indicating.

And almost minus one for Brainiac in the moon NOT happening. I mean, sweet Rao, how scary would that have really been. Dude! Lost story opportunity.

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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