Here we are at issue #999 of Action Comics, and if you’re a lifelong comic fan like me, this is a very exciting time. Dan Jurgens closes us out with a story about Superman making amends and looking at issues in a more holistic way.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“THE GENERAL!” Superman’s journey through time has crashed to a halt, and at the end of the line General Sam Lane stands face to face for the first time with his grandson, Jon. Buckle up, because the most awkward super-family reunion in history is about to begin!
Why does this matter?
This issue closes the door on a few elements, but also develops Lois Lane’s father and the dynamic he has with the family. It’s an issue that seems to be saying goodbye to Dan Jurgens, so if you’ve been following his Action Comics run (over 200 issues), this is a must-read.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I wonder how many asteroids he blows out of the sky each year.
This issue approaches Superman in a very modern and different way. When he first appears in the issue he’s on a mission to save the Earth from a meteor. While there he gets an idea to help Cyborg Superman rather than let him rot in the Phantom Zone. Jurgens writes very strong captions that make Superman’s logic seem not only sound, but more importantly, believable. He’s thinking of ways to better approach hard issues and by the end, he uses his new point of view on Lois’s dad who is rather abrasive. In so many comics Superman uses his fists to save the day and it’s nice to see him use logic and goodwill to solve problems.
Will Conrad draws this issue, which has many scenes without any action or superheroes to speak of. His ability to block these scenes keeps your interest with well-timed cuts to increase the tension in the room. Lois’s father is like a stone wall and it’s fun to see how Conrad has him interact with the usual open and loving family unit. When Clark shows up his use of body language is assertive and real–I could see a guy talking to his closed-off father-in-law in such a way–and it nails the purpose of the final scenes. It’s not all domestic confrontations, though — there is a key scene at the Fortress of Solitude that does a good job recapping Cyborg Superman’s past. Speaking of which, Cyborg Superman looks great and Conrad does well to make him look evil one second and sympathetic in another.
That kid needs smaller glasses.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Considering Jurgens had to deliver a solo done in one issue I think most will be satisfied with this endeavor. Jurgens develops the father figure so he’s at least part of Lois and Clark’s life while transitioning one of Superman’s greatest villains to a new place. I will say some of the squabblings between Lois and her father seems like retreading ground we’ve seen before. His point of view about protecting the world seems a bit grandiose considering he’s just a government operative — and the fact he can’t figure out “Clark is Superman” is your usual comics trope silliness — which makes a lot of his talk oversimplified. It doesn’t help Jon and Lois’s argument about Superman being a good guy is a boring, “yeah but” angle. About five pages in this issue could have been tighter or more interesting.
Is It Good?
A good penultimate issue as we approach issue #1,000. Jurgens pushes the needle just enough to make the story matter and it also shines a light on Superman’s more holistic view of being a hero.