Superman: Action Comics #992 – Dan Jurgens, Rob Williams, Writers; Will Conrad, Artist; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Adopted Fathers Do Count
Ray: Rob Williams joins Dan Jurgens on writing duties for this issue, following up on the events of the Oz Effect, but I can’t really tell any difference in writing style. It’s an engaging old-school Superman comic that brings in countless guest stars to positive effect as Superman struggles to cope with the revelations about his father – and the possibility that a bigger force has been behind it. The issue opens with Superman in his Fortress, desperately trying to “deprogram” Kelex to tell him the truth, but Kelex keeps telling him the same thing – Mr. Oz is Jor-El. This leads to a visit from Batman, who for once is the calm and well-adjusted one in the Superman/Batman friendship. Family and engagement agree with him, I guess, but he backs Superman’s belief that something’s wrong with time. An encounter with a refugee ship beset by pirates only drives Superman deeper into angst.
This is a Superman we rarely see – consumed by sadness and doubts. It’s gotten to the point that he’s neglecting both his work – Lois is covering for him to a suitably grumpy Perry – and even his family life to an extent. Hal Jordan tries to help by digging up a recording of the destruction of Krypton to show Superman that only one rocket left – but the moment that would have shown it has been erased by someone so powerful that even the Green Lanterns can’t decipher it. Lois gives Superman the inspiration he needs to follow this story to its conclusion – but that involves the Cosmic Treadmill, something that rarely ends well for the user, and also gets the attention of a character that’s been missing from Rebirth – and Jurgens’ fans will be very happy to see again. As we rocket towards #1000, Superman’s in a genuinely compelling period in his story.
Corrina: I agree with the need for emotional fallout from Jor-El’s appearance and his actions in creating chaos around the world. His biological father arriving, changing his worldview, and then vanishing/killed would make anyone question their own reality and beliefs, even Superman. And Clark’s questioning is well-done, save for one aspect:
Missing from Superman’s thoughts are Jonathan and Martha Kent.
Just because they are Clark’s adoptive parents, it doesn’t make them any less his parents, and they’re the people that imparted their values on Clark from the time he was a baby. If Superman is a grounded hero, it’s due to them. If Clark Kent is a family man–and he is–it’s due to them. Clark named his son after his father, even. It seems weird to not have a mention of these parents when thinking about Jor-El. It’s natural to wonder if evil can be transmitted by bloodline but Clark knows that good can be transmitted too, even without the blood tie.
Thus, it was harder for me to buy Clark’s angst, though his need to use the cosmic treadmill because of the erasure of time made sense. Superman hates lies. And it was nice to see Lois at work for a change, even if her appearance is about providing cover for Clark rather than for any need for the story to follow her.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.