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Action Comics #845
posted December 6, 2006
 

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Creators: Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Adam Kubert
Publishing Information: DC Comics, comic book, January 2007, 32 pages, $2.99
Ordering Numbers:

This is the second issue of a short run featuring co-writing contributions from director Richard Donner, the director behind the launch of the Superman movie franchise and a successful Hollywood director, period. The plot has some relation to the recent movie franchise re-launch, in that it deals with Superman and a child. In the comic's case, "Christopher" is a mystery, a Kryptonian that Superman discovers in the hands of a distrustful government and then takes away from those hands. The comic splits into two. The first half deals with Superman trying to figure out what to do with the kid, and the second half is a fight between Superman and DC's horrible, unfunny Bizarro Superman, basically a super-brute with some toss-in powers, a familiar costume and, one imagines, a dollop of ability to whip up some glimmer of longtime fan interest.

As things go, Action Comics #845 is an okay superhero comic. Everyone sounds pretty much the same, but none of the dialog grates. There are action scenes, of course, by Adam Kubert, that inexplicably combine decent staging with terrible visual flow. Most of the cast walks across the stage. Some of them have semi-significant character moments. There's a tip of the hat to Christopher Reeve and movie Superman in general. There's even a continuity nod to Batman that would have delighted me at age eleven. And it all ends in a reveal that promises more of the same over the next two issues. Fun, right?

Well, not really. The problem for me reading any standard superhero comic book depiction of Superman isn't in the details; it's that the post-1970 or so extended Marvel-style soap opera Superman pretty much sucks. Most of the characters are dull as dirt, and as ossified as the lead himself if not moreso. As for our hero, Superman is just too damn big and reality-warping a character to settle into an extended story about relationships; he either drowns in tedium, or he does something so amazing that any and all previous situations would logically be re-set. When the tedium returns after Superman's spent a year on a war planet fighting dog people that destroyed South America or something, it feels like someone's playing a mean joke on you. Modern Superman stories aren't just dull, they suffer from wonderment aphasia. I don't feel like setting fire to anybody for my having read it, but I'm certainly not interested enough to buy the next issue.