Action Comics #891 (September, 2010)
“The Black Ring, Part Two”
Writer – Paul Cornell
Pencillers – Pete Woods & CAFU
Inkers – Pete Woods & Bit
Colorist – Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor – Wil Moss
Editor – Matt Idelson
Cover Price: $3.99
Had such a good time with Lex Luthor’s Action Comics yesterday, I decided to keep the ball rolling today. When last we left him, he was facing of with… of all peo… er, things, Mister Mind!
Worth mentioning, we’re nearing the fourth quarter of our #Action100 endeavor. I’ve still got a few requested reviews on the docket, including a couple of the “hundredth” issues. I’m saving those for a little closer to the end though. That said, I’m still taking requests… so, if you’ve got an issue of Action you wouldn’t mind seeing me spoil… and it’s one I’ve got in the library, just lemme know… here, Twitter, Facebook… wherever!
We open in… prehistoric times? Sure, let’s roll with it. Lex Luthor is leading a loin-clothed band of cavefolk toward a temple bathed in light. There’s a bit about class and privilege before Lex runs in and steals a bowl of fire… and tears down the temple for good measure.
Everything starts to make sense when we shift scenes to Mister Mind… a far cuter-looking Mister Mind than the one we met last issue. He reveals that he has taken over Luthor’s consciousness… and he did so on behalf of, well… we don’t know who yet.
Back to Luthor’s head, where the fantasy has jumped ahead several centuries… and he is depicted like Dr. Frankenstein. His Lois-bot gets the Bride of Frankenstein makeover for good measure. On the table lays a man covered in a sheet. Before revealing who it is, Lex pauses… feeling as though something’s not quite right here. Lois encourages him to remove the sheet… and wouldn’tcha know it, the “monster” is… him!
Lois asks if he’d have pulled the sheet if not for her prodding… and he realizes he wouldn’t have. Lex is a man who works best when he has others to do his bidding (sort of like that hitman we met last issue). This troubles Mister Mind, because it’s going against the fantasy he’d placed Luthor in. He realizes he’s going to have to get involved.
Back in Luthor’s head… townspeople crash through his window, pitchforks and torches in hand… before they can do any damage, however… Lex shifts into his next fantasy. In it, he is a Sheriff in an old Western town. His Deputy rushes the saloon to inform him that “Big Blue” is back.
“Big Blue” is… well, you know. He and Lex face off in the street in front of the saloon. Again, Lex is getting hip to the fact that this ain’t all kosher. He decides to take control of the situation by… not shooting “Big Blue”, but blowing the brains out of his Deputy!
Now this really vexes Mister Mind… who is not only losing control of the situation, but his own consciousness. His “benefactor”, whoever that is, watches as Mind is pulled into the simulacrum.
Sheriff Luthor reenters the saloon, and finds Lois has been taken captive by… Mister Mind in an adorable black hat. He and Lex exchange some banter, and we (well, I) learn that this Mister Mind is the offspring of the original. Lemme pull out by best Johnny Carson… ahem, I did not know that. At this point Lex is all but sure that they are, in reality, still atop that building in Metropolis.
Mister Mind reacts to this deduction by growing to kaiju-size!
|Ambushed… by a Bug?!|
Lex pulls the whole “Stand back…” bit, tearing open his shirt… revealing… well, his hairless chest.
He takes the fight to the giant Mister Mind… and realizes all he really needs to do to win this one, is to regain control of his actual motor reflexes. He does, and boots the poor caterpillar off the Metropolitan roof.
The simulacrum ends with a bang… and when the dust settles, Luthor and his kidnappers spring back to their senses. They apologize to Lex, claiming to have been under Mister Mind’s control when they acted. Lex agrees to let them off the hook, so long as they tell him everything they know.
Later, Lex and Lois discuss the day’s events. Lex worries that Lois isn’t sure she’s actually a robot… but she assures him that she fully understands. He then tells her that their journey has just begun. Since Mister Mind was so set on isolating Lex, he now knows his best bet is to assemble a team to seek out the Black Lantern ring.
We wrap up with Lex putting in a call to a potential third member…
More fun than it had any right to be!
When I first heard that Lex Luthor was taking over Action Comics, I had braced myself for some… well, to be blunt, really boring “boardroom” stories. I feel like a lot of writers in comics today are tickled by scenes of “mundane intrigue” (probably because they’re trying to use comics as a springboard into movies and television)… and I was glad to see this was most certainly not the case.
Back when I used to talk about Marvel… when I thought Marvel was almost worth talking about, I used to complain about how books like the Avengers and X-Men no longer felt like “fun” superhero comics. So often half the pages were taken up by members of S.H.I.E.L.D. sitting in a darkened monitor-filled room “sassing” at each other. Apropos of nothing, when it got to the point where Captain Freaking America had to get permission from Maria Freaking Hill in order to do… well, anything… I knew it was time for me to split.
Back to this story… I mean, this is the perfect way to show Lex in different situations. It’s great seeing him so out of “control” at the start, and slowly regain himself as we move forward. I really can’t overstate how much fun this was. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of lucid dreaming… and taking control over your dreams. My wife claims she’s able to do it from time to time… Just between us, I’m not quite sure I believe her. Figure if anyone can do it though… it’d be Lex Luthor.
Mister Mind made a really fun foil as well. I’m glad he wasn’t the dripping, oozing mess he was last issue… and was back to a more cartoony-cute look. Shame he went splat though! I’m glad he wasn’t the “big bad” though… seems like we’ve got quite a reveal in the making (one that I’ve actually forgotten the outcome of… so, yay for that!).
Art here was, as expected, top-notch. The addition of CAFU (or Cafu… not sure if that’s all-caps) was great and absolutely seamless. Really just another beautiful chapter.
Overall… if you haven’t read this run, I’d recommend you do so. I’ll admit, I was a bit on-the-fence about it at first, but so far it’s over-delivered on an engaging, entertaining, and excellent (EEE) story. As with yesterdays book, this has been collected in trade… and is available digitally.