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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #883

Action Comics #883

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 11, 2009

Cover date: January 2010

"Divine Spark" - Part One

Writer: Greg Rucka with Eric Trautmann
Penciller: Pere Perez
Inker: Pere Perez
Cover: cafu with Santiago Arcas

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

Click to enlarge

Jax-Ur comes across two students and a pair of gunrunners in Iraq that have strayed too close to his hidden laboratory and promptly kills them all.

After hiding amongst the humans for what seems like two years Jax-Ur's genetic experiments are about to come to fruition...

Some pods landed in Toronto and suddenly midget Brimstone's (compared to the colossal size of the original) pop out and begin laying waste to the city. Down go three combat choppers, enter Flamebird and Nightwing, now sporting their fifth brand new look since they began hunting Zod's sleepers...

Seemingly they've managed to shake off the bad press they'd been getting for a year and come out adorned with 'S' shields... they take out the Brimstones but can't enjoy the glory for long, as it seems some people still hate them and not even newer costumes can help this time - with a burst of speed they disappear from the path of attacking fighter jets.

Meanwhile a girl we've never seen or heard before named Isabel Glenn appears in the Daily Planet, asking around for Jimmy. Lois brushes her off and Perry seeing the anguish in Isabel's face gives chase. Isabel explains she'd not seen or heard from Jimmy since Mon-El was murdered. At the apartment there was old mail piling up and there were no responses to phone calls or texts. Perry promises to find the answer to the mystery.

Over at STAR Labs, Dr. Light is being unknowingly manipulated by Dr. Pillings into storing and examining the remains of the Brimstone's salvaged from Toronto. Dr. Pillings presents Hoshi with a Seedpod trigger - it apparently activates the Brimstone creatures but can only be activated by light frequencies... however unknown to Hoshi aka Dr. Light; Pillings is actually Jax-Ur, deadly one eyed minion of Zod.

Perry cons his way into Jimmy's apartment and looking around he spots a photo that is out of place. Behind the photo - a piece of paper that reads NIEO JSEO. Perry then realizes that all those months ago when Jimmy had been whining that he was onto a big story... he really WAS.

Over in Hong Kong, Thara and Chris are hiding out in another of Kara's secret apartments. Thara activates a journal remembering that a little while ago their sole mission was to stay hidden and hunt Zod's sleeper agents.

Tor-An, an Australian TV producer was captured, and then assassinated by Ursa...

Nadira Va-Dim and Az-Rel vanished during the whole murder of Mon-El/Hunt for Reactron debacle so the assumption is they're dead or captured. However they're downhearted, a year of hunting and they've failed to capture three agents and three more, the deadly three - are still missing...

Nightwing asks Thara to make Flamebird tell her. But Thara explains that she can't MAKE Flamebird do anything- they are just vessels for the godly spirits. While saying this she sees the doubt in Chris' face and realizes he's never believed in the legend... even after all he's seen. When Thara explains she doesn't care and that she loves him Chris has a growth spurt - his first in a long time and one that unleashes a massive red sun burst.

Jax-Ur is a little frustrated that to keep his cover as Dr. Pillings he must maintain a lower intellect but when he is in his private quarters his plans come to fruition using a sunstone recorder he is able to extract energy signatures from a Brimstone corpse and from there able to reveal Chris and Thara's real identities as the gods Flamebird and Nightwing.

Sitting quietly he also notes a plan of his is coming to fruition right about.... as Hoshi and Thara burst into his quarters with a geriatric 18 year old boy needing immediate medical attention!

To Be Continued...

2Story - 2: So the story has been going down the toilet for months and they decide to bring the Sleepers back in... Okay. Enter new characters, Jax-Ur, Dr. Pillings, Dr. Hoshi (with no references to her heroic career aside from a snide comment), Isabel Glenn and Brimstone albeit via clones.

Okay, I'll rate it a two because they finally got back to the story we were reading that had promise titled SLEEPERS when they first appeared. Trautmann and Rucka finally bring back in the ageing, the sleepers and Jimmy but it feels like they forgot about it all for so long we just don't care anymore.

The links to Chris ageing and Pillings are pretty obvious, so much so I hope I'm wrong...

Perry's detective work was utterly pathetic... take a look at the scene and you'll see. It was so bad I felt I was watching an episode of CSI Miami.

And the costume changes AGAIN, come on they had the traditional suits, then the masks and capes, then the robosuits, then the armor and now Super themed suits - is DC an action figure factory?!

The ONLY reason this got a two is because we're back on track with the original story. It's been so long since SLEEPERS - Part One, I don't think anyone still reading even cares anymore.

P.S. In this very book we see Thara looking at recordings of Jax-Ur, then literally minutes later she sees him face to face (he is in no way disguised) and can't recognize him?? bleh!

4Art - 4: The art is great here; Pere Perez has suddenly jumped leaps and bounds in less than a month! Although some scenes here don't do the art justice but that's more the fault of the writing team pushing for so much fixing to the story. I am really enjoying the scenes with Chris and Thara now. Their interaction as heroes looks superb and even when they drown in slushy soap opera moments they still look incredibly well rendered.

4Cover Art - 4: Another month another pose... it's very cool, they both look like they're enjoying their new hero roles but the text 'TARGET: ZOD'S MOST DANGEROUS SLEEPER' doesn't exactly fit with their happy-go-lucky spaceflight... still since the lovers have had a pretty tough ride so far it's nice to see them have a blast for once.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2010

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