Action Comics #845 (2007)

Action Comics #845 (January, 2007)
“Last Son, Part Two”
Writers – Geoff Johns & Richard Donner
Artist – Adam Kubert
Colorist – Dave Stewart
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Associate Editor – Nachie Castro
Editor – Matt Idelson
Cover Price: $2.99

It’s been a little while since we discussed Part One of “Last Son”… guess I got sidetracked by other stuff.  Kinda poetic in a way though, considering how the story itself was plagued by infuriating delays the first time around too!  Hey-yooo…

Anyhoo, delays aside… I think this will be a fun one to revisit.  Let’s do it!

We open at the Fortress of Solitude where Superman is presenting the recently-arrived Kryptonian Boy to the crystal computer simulation of Mr. Oz.  He’s looking for answers, unfortunately… the Jor-El simulation doesn’t have any.  I mean, whattaya expect?  Anyhoo, Superman then asks the lad (in Kryptonese… translated Kryptonese!) if he’d like to learn how to fly.

We move ahead to Smallville… where Lois and Clark are chatting up the Kents about what they ought to do with the little feller.  Pa suggests that they… adopt him.  Lois doesn’t appear too keen on the idea, though Clark seems to be on board immediately.  The lad floats into the Kent kitchen and asks Lois why she doesn’t feel like she and Clark could be his parents… and he does so, in English!

Later and Elsewhere, Lex Luthor is attempting to tap a phone call between Superman and Sarge Steel.  He manages to break through, and learns where the pair are going to meet and decide the fate of their strange little visitor.  Lex then frees his “backwards friend”… that, ya know… the cover has already spoiled.

We shift ahead to the meeting site, which to Sarge Steel’s surprise… is a full-blown press conference.  This makes complete sense, as it inhibits Sarge’s ability to conduct himself in an underhanded manner.  Smart stuff here!  Unfortunately, just as Superman is about to announce his plan for the Super-boy… an uninvited guest appears to crash the party.

In a really brutal bit, Bizarro scans the crowd looking for the Super-boy.  He grabs one, believing it to be the right one… and snaps his arm to test him!  When the bone breaks, Bizarro realizes he’s got the wrong one… and so, he just hurls him away!  I really like this… it ups the danger-factor on Bizarro in a big way.  This isn’t the (almost) lovable goof Bizarro… this is a scary monster!

Following some mighty impressive panels depicting Bizarro’s city-wide rampage, he hurls a school bus in Superman’s direction.

The bus… gets some really good hang time… flying through a nearby building, and landing right on top of the Super-boy!

Lois approaches the crushed bus and finds the Super-boy standing inside… he is unharmed, but clearly shaken.  Nearby, Bizarro attempts to break his own car-toss record by hurling a truck at the Daily Planet globe…

Acting fast, the new Super-boy leaps into action… catching the Daily Planet globe before it crushes Lois Lane.  By this point, Superman has already neutralized Bizarro… using his super-breath to freeze him where he stands.

Shifting ahead, we rejoin Lois and Clark in the park (rhyme!).  Lois has come around to the idea of adopting the lad… and even gives him the name Christopher.  I think that’s a mighty fine name… and thankfully, so does her husband.

We close out this chapter… with the arrival of Chris Kent’s biological parents… General Zod and Ursa… the (no longer dead) Phantom Zone Criminals.

The thought that keeps flashing through my head is that this is “Decompression Done Right”.

Sure, there’s a bit of padding here (you could probably read it in less than five minutes)… but also, more than enough actually happens in the issue to make it feel worthwhile.  I mean, I could’ve done without the Fortress of Solitude/Jor-El crystal computer pages… and the four-pages spent on introducing General Zod were a bit much, but still… we actually got a fair amount of story-progression here.

I’m not going to mention… or, at least I’m going to try not to mention all of the delays this story faced a decade ago.  Anybody tracking these issues (or trades) down today won’t have the proper frame of reference for that anyway.  When we discuss “Last Son”, I’m going to try and focus the commentary on only what’s inside the book.

So… what do we get?  Let’s start with Bizarro.  A character I feel I really need to be “in the mood” for.  I really don’t get the gag… and I gotta be looking for a certain type of story to really appreciate him.  Here, however… he’s depicted as goal-oriented and scary!  He has his orders… and goes so far as to break a young boy’s arm just to see if he’s the Super-boy he’s looking for!  That’s a scary villain… and illustrates the potential (non-silly) Bizarro stories really have!

The adoption story… kinda just happens.  It’s been… a long time since I read this last, so I don’t remember how/if they explain it.  It’s not that I have a real problem with it… it’s not like it’s permanent.  Even back in ye old 2007, I think we knew that.  Although… Kon-El was dead at this point… and we didn’t actually have a Super-boy in the world.  Also… Superman himself was adopted… so there is a parallel there.  Ehh… maybe there is an argument to be made… and maybe some folks thought it might be permanent.

We get a look at just how, I dunno… small the DCU is perceived to be.  Lois and Clark worry that people will connect the dots between the Kryptonian castaway and their new adoptive Son.  I mean, aren’t there millions of people in Metropolis alone?  Noting (and running with) commonalities like this is taking an awfully big leap.  Maybe it’s just me.  I think these are “coincidences” that we readers should notice… but really shouldn’t be brought to light inside the books.

My only complaint would be that the scene transitions feel a bit disjointed.  I’m not sure if this was a Donner thing… where he was picturing a movie transition, which might be accompanied by sweeping camera work and a soundtrack… because this feels unlike a “normal” Geoff Johns book in this regard.  It didn’t completely pull me out… but I did notice the wonkiness.

Overall… this was a fine chapter… featuring some wonderful Adam Kubert art.  It’s the cliche “feast for the eyes”… discounting Clark (and Bizarro’s) emo haircut, this was really great stuff!  I think I’d certainly give this storyline a recommendation.  It’s well worth a look.

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