Action Comics #998
Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 28, 2018
Cover date: April 2018
“Booster Shot” – Conclusion
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciller: Will Conrad
Inker: Will Conrad
Cover: Will Conrad and Ivan Nunes
Variant Cover: Kaare Andrews
Reviewed by: Mario Bennese
Superman and Booster Gold face defeat as Zod, Lor-Zod, Ursa, and The Eradicator blast them with an intense wave of heat vision. Suddenly, one of The Eradicator’s cyborg soldiers temporarily distracts the Kryptonian villains and frees Superman and Booster. In his final moments, Skeets had managed to override and commandeer one of the cyborg soldiers. Finally free, Superman is able to lay the smack-down on the villains so he and Booster can escape. After punching Zod up into the air, Lor-Zod and Ursa grab The Man of Steel’s arms and attempt to rip them from his body. Before The Eradicator can get involved, Skeets overrides the systems of his entire army. Lor-Zod prepares to rip Kal-El’s heart out before Booster arrives, holding Zod hostage with a piece of Kryptonite. Lor-Zod isn’t phased as Booster killing Zod would make his transition into ruler of New Krypton easier. Shocked by her son’s sinister revelation, Ursa momentarily lets down her guard. Superman frees himself and the heroes make their way to the time sphere, just barely escaping.
In the time sphere, Superman learns that time and history are malleable. After a brief conversation, Superman convinces Booster to take him to Krypton to discover the truth about his father. Jor-El’s claims prove to be true as moments before its destruction, he is snatched away from death. Superman watches as his world dies in front of him and requests to be taken home to Jon and Lois. Arriving in the present, the two prepare to board the Justice League watchtower to smooth things over with The Flash for taking his cosmic treadmill. Before they can make it to the watchtower, Skeets alerts Superman that his family is currently in Logamba. The Man of Steel rushes off before hearing that his family was shot and killed. Booster sends himself back in time to the moment just before Jon, Lois, and Sam’s deaths. Swiftly, he takes out the gunmen. With Clark’s family saved, they board a helicopter. As they take off, an explosive is shot at them. Superman arrives just in time to intercept the weapon as his family makes a clean getaway. Later, Booster, Superman, and Flash clear up the matter of the borrowed cosmic treadmill. After the issue is resolved, Booster and Skeets return to their time. Booster is prepared to own up to altering the timeline.
Story – 4: This is the only way that this story could have possibly ended. Everything is tied up nicely and we get some verification on Jor-El’s altered history. There’s a lot to love in this issue, despite it being a relatively quick read. The battle with the Zod family flows nicely and doesn’t stay longer than it needs to. The death of Krypton sequence is heavy and sorrowful. There is a sense of urgency as Booster races against time to save Clark’s family. Everything in this issue is appropriately paced. Given a story with so many things going on, that couldn’t have been easy. I give Jurgens major props for that. Regarding the overall arc, I feel that an issue could have been cut out. While I ultimately enjoyed the arc, it felt just the slightest bit too long. If it were up to me, I would have cut out the issue in which Superman and Booster arrive in 25th century Gotham.
If I were to have a complaint, it would be that Skeets just conveniently revives himself. If they had shown or briefly explained how he managed to transfer himself into another robotic unit, I would have been satisfied. The whole thing just happens and it feels like comic book logic. It isn’t anything too major to distract from the quality of the book, it’s just a minor nitpick.
Art – 4: Will Conrad is a very talented artist. Much like the script, the art flows incredibly well. This is noticeable in sequences involving any action. It flows and I could see the characters actually moving in my mind’s eye. The sequence with Krypton dying is one of the most beautifully heartbreaking things I’ve seen in a comic recently. Seeing Superman cry is always a powerful image and the way the sequence is drawn perfectly conveys the magnitude of the situation. Every now and then, Superman has an odd face, but you can still tell that you’re looking at Superman.
Cover Art – 3: While the art on the cover is well drawn and inked, I can’t help but think of the cover for the previous issue. Both of them involve Superman getting the smack-down against a white backdrop. I don’t want to discredit Conrad’s work because it’s quality, but there had to have been something more creative than another white background cover.
Variant Cover Art – 5: I adore this cover. It’s gorgeous. There’s something special about images of Superman overlooking Metropolis. Perhaps it’s just the fact that even a being who has seen countless planets and innumerable beauties can still be taken by the city he chooses to protect.
I also dig that Andrews’ Superman looks a little like George Reeves.
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