Action Comics #816 (2004)

Action Comics #816 (August, 2004)
“Superman vs. Gog, Part 2: Behold, I am Against Thee”
Writer – Chuck Austen
Penciller – Ivan Reis
Inker – Marc Campos
Colors -Guy Major
Letters – Comicraft
Associate Editor – Tom Palmer, Jr.
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.50

Ya know… I’ve been working on this blog for almost 800 days at this point… and in that time I’ve uploaded nearly 20,000 images using the same phone I’ve had since 2015.

And today was the first time I noticed that I can fiddle with the colors on my phone before I upload ’em.  I generally just hit the little “magic wand” thing, and call it good.  Never realized I could enrich the colors manually!  I guess I still have a lot to learn about my already-nearly obsolete phone!

I say all of that, so that I may say this… I’m fiddling with the images a bit… sooooo, there might be a bit of “saturation abuse” in the coming days, until I can work out the “kinks”.

Kinks as in… I might overdo it and make the sky look like the Crisis is visiting Arizona!  Stop me before I saturate again…

Anyhoo, if anybody’s still reading at this point… lemme know if these pics “pop” any better than usual.

Picking up where we left off, Gog had just jabbed Superman with his spear-thingie.  Superboy manages to get in between them and gets into his own fist-fight with the baddie.  He takes a good pounding just long enough for Superman to recover and take a swipe at Gog with that very same spear.

Superman checks in with Kon… and there be banter.  It’s not long before Gog is back to his feet… and back in his helmet?  Could’a sworn that had been knocked off.  I’d love to have seen a few panels of Gog kicking aside rubble to find it… then wiping it clean before putting it back on.  Anyhoo… he attacks.

Gog has clearly got Superman’s number… and is making really holding his own.  Nothing Superman (nor Superboy) is doing appears to be hurting him.  Also… he can teleport!  So… uh, why didn’t he just teleport in last issue rather then pretending to be a meteorite?

Nearby, Kid Flash and Wonder Girl have gotten all of the Smallvillians to safety… and wonder what their next move ought to be.  Before they can decide, Superman-and-boy come barreling past them and into a couple of cars.

The fight continues… this time with added-Titans.  Wonder Girl manages to cinch Gog up in her lasso… and gives him quite the shock.  Gog then hops away, Hulk-style.

As the dust settles, Superman gives instructions.  He asks the Titans to get more help… the Justice League… more Titans… Hero Hotline… whoever!  He’s going to try and draw Gog to a nearby abandoned military base to settle the score.  We can see that his wound from earlier is glowing… green.  Looks like Gog might’ve dipped the tip of his spear (sorry about how that sounds…) into some Kryptonite.

After Superman leaves, the Titans realize that the place he’s headed is… the same place they brought the Smallvillians for safe-keeping!  Whoops.  Kon tells Bart and Cassie to go for help… he’s going to follow and protect the civilians.  Gog overhears all of this… and makes sure to give the teens a little dig before heading back into battle.

At the abandoned base… Gog attacks Superman… sending them both into the underground bunkers… that are just loaded with Smallville-folk.  Well, maybe not loaded… but there are a few of ’em here.  Superboy starts carrying them out by the armful.

Then… the base explodes!

Superboy returns to the wreckage to find Superman… dead?!  It’s really a heckuva page, very reminiscent of that… other time Superman died.

We close out with Kon demanding answers from Gog… why would he do such a thing?  Without a reply… Gog vanishes.

Well… it was a fight scene, and a pretty good one at that!

Gog is depicted as quite the threat… actually “killing” Superman.  I can’t quite remember how this ended up… I think he turned out just to be a nut who happened upon the memories of the actual (Earth-22?) Gog.  I dunno… I think he might’ve made a pretty neat addition to Superman’s rogues gallery… but they definitely had grander designs on the Gog/Magog “brand” following Infinite Crisis… which we chronicled here at the humble blog… and this is where I’d leave a link, if only I bothered to assemble them into an easy-to-find page!  Eh, maybe later.  For now, if you are interested, check out the Justice Society of America (vol.3) discussions in the archives.

For this issue… I only really have one complaint.  I don’t feel like Chuck Austen has the right “voice” for Superman.  I mean, he calls Gog a “loser” who “kicked my–“  I mean, really now?  I dunno.  Just really feels like he’d be more at home writing a Superboy comic.  It’s just too bad there wasn’t one in 2004…

The art remains really great.  I hope I didn’t muddle it up too much with all my newfound color-sorcery.  Reis makes this book feel like something really special.  His work definitely evokes that “event” feel.

Overall… it’s, ya know… a fight scene.  I could joke and say having Chuck Austen write a fight scene might be considered “risk mitigation”… but, I try to avoid the low-hanging fruit… sometimes.  Worth grabbing?  I think so… the art, as mentioned, is really nice… plus, ya know… Superman dies!  This issue is available digitally.

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