Superman: Action Comics #994 – Dan Jurgens, Writer/Penciller; Art Thibert, Trevor Scott, Johnny Desjardins, Inkers; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!
Ray: Few writers have written more of Superman and Booster Gold than Dan Jurgens, which makes him the perfect choice to write (and pencil) this team-up between the two heroes. It’s an action-packed issue, but also one that has a surprising amount of emotional depth. Booster narrates the issue as he and Superman race to escape General Zod’s forces on Krypton – a Krypton that, it soon becomes clear, is very much not the one Superman left. General Zod and Jor-El are aligned. Technology like the Kryptonian battlesuits are commonly used by security forces. And most significantly, the planet is in the middle of a massive evacuation. But some things never change – and General Zod is still as unreasonable as ever, hunting down these two unfamiliar intruders with extreme prejudice. Jor-El, though, has some concerns about the fact that Superman is wearing the family crest.
Booster, Superman, and Skeets make for an amusing trio, with Skeets stealing the show at several times. But there’s a compelling, overarching concept here – which is that Superman’s desperation to find out the truth about his father is leading to him endangering the entire timestream. Krypton’s history is getting altered more and more for each minute they’re out of time, and Jurgens is able to pull out his long history as a Superman writer to create threats for them to face – including the Eradicators.
There’s a compelling subplot left on Earth, as Lois prepares to enter enemy territory to rescue her estranged father, but that’ll wait to play out in future issues. The heart of this issue, though, is a very strong segment in which Superman views the life he could have had if Krypton had stayed intact. It’s one of Jurgens’ best piece of writing in a long time – and then we’re thrown into the future, for another action-packed arc as the team-up continues. This has definitely firmly established itself as the best Superman book right now.
Corrina: This has echoes of other stories, other alternate realities for Clark Kent, especially those that include his having a loving home on Krypton and never coming to Earth at all. (This, of course, depends on whether Krypton is a scientific utopia or a sexless dystopia without emotion–that seems to change every decade or so.)
This issue should have more resonance because of the subject matter but between Booster’s presence, the quickness of their visit to Krypton, and the overriding mystery about broken time, the life Clark could have had seemed more like an afterthought. And, again, it’s hard to buy Clark’s obsession without the story also including a greater reflection on how much he loved Martha and Jonathan Kent. (Here’s where I feel the lack of that kindly couple. I’m with the crowd that believes DC should have kept them alive.)
On Lois’s plot, it’s good to see her in action. One would think she has resources beyond calling in her husband and son–she was working with the Justice League a few issues ago on their own comic. I’m also hopeful the Sam Lane that comes back from his rescue isn’t the one-note xenophobic villain that we’ve seen most recently in Superman stories.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.