Action Comics #870 (2008)

Action Comics #870 (December, 2008)
“Brainiac, Finale”
Writer – Geoff Johns
Penciller – Gary Frank
Inkers – Jon Sibal & Bit
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Colorist – Brad Anderson
Associate Editor – Nachie Castro
Editor – Matt Idelson
Cover Price: $2.99

It’s weird… last week we discussed a five-part story in Day of Judgment, and today we wrap up another in Brainiac.  I swear it took us about three times as long to get through DoJ!

It’s the same writer too, which makes it all the more weird.  I guess nearly a decade’s worth of writing experience can really help out!

Anyhoo, let’s burst through the finish line!

Picking up where we left off yesterday, Brainiac has “collected” Metropolis, and is set to send our Sun into super-nova… so that he’s the only entity with the knowledge from (and of) the Earth.  What’s worse is he’s detained both Superman and Supergirl in the meantime.  Superman is finally able to focus after hearing the tiny voice of tiny Lois Lane.

Superman is back up and at’em… and bashes Brainiac in the face.  He rushes into the “collection room” and grabs both the Metropolis and Kandor domes.

He next rushes into the area where Supergirl is being kept.  He downs her captors and brings her up to speed.  It’s going to be up to her to stop whatever it is that’s heading toward the Sun.  Kara expresses that she’s too slow… too scared.  Superman tells her that it’s okay to be scared, and also that he has all the faith in the world in her.

And so, she jets.  At this point, Brainiac has recovered… and is looking for a fight.  Unfortunately for him, he appears to have brought a knife to a super-breath fight.  Superman blows him right out of his Skull Ship with ease.

Brainiac SPLLLTTTs down face-first in an Earthen swamp.  It’s really a cool scene.  He’s suddenly overwhelmed by the amount of microscopic bacteria he’s among.  I guess there might just be such a thing as “too much knowledge”.  I wouldn’t wanna know what kinda microscopic buggers might be hanging out in the neighborhood park… yeesh.

Wait’ll you try a public pool, Brainy!

Superman curb-stomps him into the muck… at which time, Brainiac reveals that the containment domes will not hold forever… and so, Superman’s going to have to return Metropolis to it’s normal spot… and find a place to plop down Kandor.  After he leaves, we learn that Brainiac has figured out where Superman calls “home”… and decides to do something about it.

At this point things become really cinematic… which is really fun to read, but not so much to synopsize.  We’ll do our best.  Superman drops Metropolis where it belongs… and it returns normal.  A rocket blasts into the American midwest.  Supergirl is still en route to saving the Sun.

It’s soon clear that the rocket is heading directly for the Kent farm.  Ma and Pa see it coming… Superman, however, is at the Fortress of Solitude making a deposit.

The rocket hits the Kent home, but Pa is able to get Ma to safety.  Supergirl is able to save the Sun.  Superman is still otherwise engaged.

Everything seems to be hunky-dory… however, the stress has triggered a heart attack in Jonathan Kent.  He slumps down in Martha’s arms while she frantically calls for their Son…

… who is still busy, with the no-longer-bottle city of Kandor.

Eventually, Ma’s cries make their way to his ears… and he’s off to Smallville.  Sadly, it’s too late to even say goodbye.

Okay… we’ve got a bunch to unpack here.

Let’s start with the ending.  Pa Kent saves Martha… then succumbs to a heart attack.  It’s not as though we didn’t see this coming.  Of course, we weren’t quite sure of the “how”, but I think we could deduce the “when”.  This was telegraphed all throughout this arc… it was pretty clear ol’ Pa wasn’t going to make it out of this story alive.

Telegraphing isn’t always a bad thing though.  I don’t think it was a bad thing here asamattafact.  The closeness shown between Pa and Clark… while a bit “heavy”, didn’t feel out of line with the way they’re normally written.

Also, there was enough subtlety to make these interactions feel natural.  I mean, it’s not like we got Pa telling Clark, “Ya know, Son… I’m not always going to be here” and Clark didn’t say, “I don’t know what I’d do without you, Pa!” as they played catch… or were fishing or something.  Instead we get scenes of them appreciating one another… and we get a real understanding of how important they are in each other’s lives.

So… yeah, telegraphed, but not blatantly so.

It is a bit troubling that Clark was busy dealing with Kandor when all of this went down… but I suppose that’s a way to introduce some internal conflict.  I’m never all that keen on pushing guilt on characters (who aren’t Peter Parker… that’s his thing, after all)… but, I think I’m okay with it here.  The forthcoming New Krypton story should be chock-full of conflict for the Man of Steel… so, I’m cool with it.

I appreciated Brainiac going out the way he did.  Through all of his machinations and collecting, he made himself almost too aware.  Sensing all of the icky bacterium and whatnot in that nasty swamp threw him off just enough for Superman to get the drop on him.  On the face of it, he comes off looking like something of a chump, but in actuality… he wound up beating himself, so he doesn’t look quite as bad taking the “L”.

It’s brief, but we get a bit on Supergirl coming into her own here.  She’s petrified that she’s not powerful enough to complete her task… but Superman’s belief in her is enough for her to begin believing in herself.  She’s able to save the Sun… and with it, the universe.  Pretty good showing!

Overall, this was a lot of fun.  I really enjoyed this the whole way through… and I’m left wanting more.

Of course, not too long ago… we discussed the issue this flows into:

So, if you’d like my thoughts on that… just click’a da cover.

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