Action Comics #771 (2000)

Action Comics #771 (November, 2000)
“The Out of Towner”
Guest Writer – Chuck Dixon
Guest Penciller – Pascual Ferry
Guest Inker – Alvaro Lopez
Colorist – Moose Baumann
Letters – Comicraft
Assistant Editor – Maureen McTigue
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.25

Hey guys… I had an idea!  It might be pretty dumb, but at the same time… it might be pretty fun.

If you’re reading this, then I have little doubt that you already know that we are only months away from the monumental Action Comics #1000… a book I never thought we’d see after… ya know, that big toilet flush back in 2011.

Anyhoo, I thought it would be neat to try and review… one-hundred issues of Action Comics here on the blog, with the hundredth coming out the same day as Action Comics #1000.  We’ve already got over fifty Action Comics‘s’s’s under our belts… so this won’t completely co-opt the humble blog.

This, of course, requires me to pay attention to a calendar… which many of you know isn’t a strength of mine (2016’s “Thirteen Days of Christmas on Infinite Earths” is testament enough of that fact), but we’ll do our best… and hopefully have a good time!

Any issues of Action Comics you especially want me to ruin to hear my thoughts on?  Just lemme know!

We open with Superman flying through the City of Tomorrow… this is just after that whole Y2K B-13 thing, so Metropolis has gotten a bit of a face-lift.  He sees who he believes to be a suicidal person swan diving from on high… and zips in for the save.  Little does he know that the jumper was… Nightwing?!  Wow, Superman saving a jumper without thinking twice… suck it, JMS!

After the confusion is cleared, Dick and Clark… hrm, Dick Clark?  Why have I never noticed that before?  Anyhoo, they head to a nearby rooftop for a chat.  Turns out that Intergang has branched into Bludhaven, and so Dick decided to head into Metropolis to “go to the source”…

… who happens to be a disheveled fellow by the name of Bendel-White.  A man who was believed to have been “offed” by Dudley Soames, but very clearly wasn’t.

Dick is a bit incredulous at first, but deduces that they must’ve struck a mutually beneficial deal.  He and Superman discuss a bit of strategy… realizing this is gonna be more Metal Gear than Metal Slug.

We shift scenes over to the Daily Planet, where (a very Ed McGuinness) Lois Lane is chatting up the Science Editor, J. Darrett… and it doesn’t go all that well.

Let’s pop back over and check in with Mr. Bendel-White.  He’s currently on the phone with a… very demanding party.  Looks like Soames is about ready to “cash in” on his favor.  He wants lots and lots of weaponry!  In a neat bit, he mentions that his “line is secure”, not for a moment considering that there might be a Kryptonian eavesdropper nearby.

We rejoin Lois at the Ace of Clubs where she’s following up on the killer robot story.  She wants information… but only gets sass.  Well, our main man Bibbo ain’t gonna stand for that… and gives the goofs the ol’ heave-ho.  He then tells Lois that the materials likely came by ship… probably the Kandihar Queen… which is odd to him because he hasn’t seen any of the crewmen in awhile.  I’ll concede that I don’t remember this arc in the slightest… so, let’s just take Bibbo’s woid f’r it.

Back with Bendel-White… it turns out his (borrowed) time is up.  Outside his window hover a trio of geeks calling themselves Ferrous.

Lucky for him, he’s also under the surveillance of a certain Man of Steel… who busts in with the quickness… and, he’s brought a friend!

And so, we get a few pages of great high-octane action.  In between punches, Superman inquires about Intergang… to which he gets the standard “What’s an Intergang?” reply.  One of the baddies tosses a grenade… which Superman catches and clasps in his hands before it goes boom… lessening the explosion a great deal.  I mean, it still makes a pretty big pop… but, ya know… less so.

When the smoke clears, Superman looks around for Bendel-White… and notices that Nightwing has commandeered Ferrous’ hover-craft thingie.  Looks like the day is saved!

Next up, we get a bit of Intergang Interrogation.  It’s, as usual, a fruitless venture… all they get is the standard “What’s an Intergang?” response.  Dick ain’t deterred though… he tells Bendel-White and the Geeks to keep their noses out of the ‘haven…

… something that Superman is going to ensure they stick to.

We wrap up with Dick and Clark (Dick Clark… really man, how have I never noticed that before?) saying their “see ya’s” and sharing some thoughts on a certain caped-crusader.

This was… a blast!

Man, I never realized what a soft spot I had for Superman/Nightwing team-ups… but this was just so much fun.  It’s that odd sort of Super/Bat team-up that has none of the baggage… none of the cynicism and distrust… just a pair of heroes who trust in one another… and appear to enjoy each other’s company.

And who betta’ to write such a story than Chuck Dixon?  I mean, this just as easily could’ve been an issue of Nightwing and wouldn’t have felt out of place in the slightest.  Just so much fun.

Pascual Ferry taps into an Ed McGuinness sort of style here, and absolutely pulls it off.  I’m kind of a sucker for the McGuinness “inflated” Superman, so this really made me happy.  I don’t necessarily think Superman should be that huge… but, damned if it doesn’t make me smile.

Let’s talk the Dick/Clark relationship for a bit… and for the last time (I promise)… in my thirty-plus years reading these things how have I missed “Dick Clark”?  Their relationship is so much fun.  It isn’t often we see Superman with a “sidekick”… and, I might be projecting, but… it doesn’t feel like nearly often enough that Nightwing is able to work alongside a “big gun” and still exude so much confidence.

I feel like when paired with Batman he often… defers to him.  Ya know?  Like he second-guesses himself and allows Bruce to call all the shots.  Again, might be projecting a bit.  Either way, it was cool to see him as a “tactical adviser” to Superman here.

Overall… I can’t say it enough… this was a FUN issue.  Great dialogue, awesome action… amazing art.  If you’re a fan of either of these characters, I think you’ll love this!  It doesn’t look like this one’s been collected… however, it is available digitally.

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