Home > DC Comics > Action Comics #817

Action Comics #817

July 12, 2004

Quick Rating: Average
Title: Weapons of Revelation

Following his battle with Gog, Superman is on the brink of death. The perfect time for an invasion of Metropolis!

Writer: Chuck Austen
Pencils: Ivan Reis
Inks: Marc Campos
Colors: Guy Major
Letters: Comicraft
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover Art: Arthur Adams
Publisher: DC Comics

Last issue, Superman got a nasty little injection of liquid Kryptonite from Gog. This issue, Superboy and Wonder Woman sit at his bedside while a legion of baddies tear through Metropolis.

As seems to be the case with Chuck Austen, there are one or two nice moments in the issue – Superman’s reaction to his state of mortality, for example, is a nice touch. But these nice touches are still trapped under the avalanche of bad characters and logic gaps. The story opens up with Clark Kent’s replacement at the Daily Planet, Jack Ryder, employing tactics that would get him booted out of any respectable journalism institution on Earth. (“Ladies and gentlement, Superman is dead! Maybe. I’ll wave a flag and let you know.” I am not making this up.)

Who’s treating Superman at S.T.A.R. Labs? Some annoying jerk named Mohlman who doesn’t even appear to be a real doctor and treats the hero like a science project. Now jerks in authority can make for entertaining stories, or they can make you want to gouge your eyes out the minute they walk on the panel.

We also get the usual “fast and loose with continuity” bits where Superman tells Mohlman that they’ve never been able to do extensive tests on his physiology before. (Y’know, except for all those extensive test Emil Hamilton, Kitty Faulkner or half a dozen other doctors have done over the years). The issue is capped off with a big blowout full of b-list heroes and obscure villains who get a grand total of one line of introduction between them, that one line belonging to Weapons Master, who never actually tells us his name (I’ve been reading Superman comics for a looooong time), but conveniently and vaguely explains his powers, just in case anyone was wondering.

As has become the status quo, this issue is seriously buoyed by wonderful artwork from Ivan Reis and Marc Campos. They do a fantastic Superman and a beautiful Wonder Woman, with a take that reminds me of Stuart Immonen’s artwork. They have fun with the fight scene, leading right up to the second “you know it’s not going to happen” ending in a row for this series.

This is one of those times I wish I were a reader who weighed a comic more on the art side than the writing, because if I was going by art alone I could proclaim this the best Superman title on the racks. But as it is, the artwork, good as it is, can’t raise the overall level of this book above a mere “so-so.”

Rating: 5/10

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