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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #891

Action Comics #891

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 28, 2010

Cover date: September 2010

Lex Luthor in "The Black Ring" Part Two

Writer: Paul Cornell
Penciller: Pete Woods
Inker: Cafu

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Lex Luthor, holding the apple of knowledge, leads a group of primitive men to steal fire from the Gods. As he does, a statue comes to life and fires heat vision at him.

Mr. Mind, meanwhile, responds to the person who has inspired him to control Luthor, and explains how he is causing Luthor to live in a fantasy.

Luthor wakes up as Dr. Frankenstein, with Lois as his assistant. She pokes at him and asks him why he's afraid to reveal his monster, and he pulls back the sheet to reveal himself. In his fantasy, he tells himself that he's best when he can control people. This disturbs Mr. Mind, because that's not what he's trying to get Luthor to do.

Mr. Mind ups the stakes, sending villagers with pitchforks to attack Luthor and Lois. It startles Luthor, and he wakes up in a western setting, with Mr. Mind trying to coerce him to attack Superman as the villain. When the deputy tries to manipulate Luthor, Luthor realizes he's in a fantasy and shoots the deputy to avoid being manipulated. With a fantasy of Lois' help, he manages to escape into Metropolis.

Mr. Mind ratchets things up, and turns into a giant version of himself to physically fight Luthor on the streets of Metropolis. Luthor rips open his shirt and fights Mind. Mind refuses to reveal anything, so Luthor punts him off the roof where they left off. The people who were formerly attacking him tell him they weren't in control of their actions, and he lets them go in exchange for information.

Back in reality, Luthor schemes to find the source of power for the rings using Black Lantern energy analysis. Before he leaves, he calls on Deathstroke.

4Story - 4: This story definitely has a Doctor Who feel, but that's probably me projecting onto my knowledge of the writer. Doctor Who often opens up with an odd, strange situation that is eventually resolved to satisfaction through adventure, and that's what we get here, with a dose of character. I love the Prometheus bit, and Luthor looking for the monster within himself and finding himself. Luthor seeing himself as Superman. Luthor easily punting Mister Mind, showing the power of his intellect.

The fear here is to lose sight of the fact that this is a villain, but that fear is not realized, and the only fault I can find in this story really is that it takes a little bit of time to tell the story in an expanded way. I feel it could have been slightly leaner. But only slightly, and in terms of rambling, it's nothing compared to what Robinson so recently was. All of the fat that could be potentially trimmed is still entertaining, and with the story quality so far, I'm guessing it could feed into a larger picture, so take the subtracted point with a grain of salt.

4Art - 4: Lois and Luthor don't look how they traditionally do, they look a little different, but they are sufficiently internally consistent to the point that you vibe on it and enjoy it. The color in particular feeds the sense of place, and so I have to throw the colorists on this issue an extra bone, because it really helped make the art pop for me.

5Cover Art - 5: Looking into this at first, I was ready to tear into it, thinking that it was kind of indulgent, and I was pleasantly surprised to realize that it clearly related to the story and vividly depicted one of its more important moments. Rad.

I STILL hate words on the cover though. Ugh. Always. It almost never makes things better. This, at least, is in the spirit of the cover's homage.

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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