Action Comics #846 (2007)

Action Comics #846 (February, 2007)
“Last Son, Part Three”
Writers – Geoff Johns & Richard Donner
Artist – Adam Kubert
Color Artist – Dave Stewart
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Associate Editor – Nachie Castro
Editor – Matt Idelson
Cover Price: $2.99

We’re really taking our time getting through “Last Son”, huh?  I guess I’m just trying to make this as similar an experience today as it was ten years ago.  With our delays here, we’re getting the “genuine” Last Son experience… delays aplenty!

I think by this point, the delays weren’t so out of hand yet… but there will come a point where they fit whole story arcs between the chapters just to keep Action Comics on the shelves!  Of course, that doesn’t matter to we folks in the enlightened future… but, back in the day… boy howdy was it annoying.

We get the impression that comic creators don’t sweat the delays these days… due to the fact that everything gets a “collected edition”.  While that’s not incorrect… it’s just so dismissive of the core-monthly-reader.  Being one of those monthly readers… it often makes me wonder why I take funnybooks so seriously, when the folks being paid to produce ’em don’t seem all that interested.

Anyhoo… there’s a rant for another day!  Let’s get on with today’s chat.

We open the same way we’ve opened the previous couple of chapters of “Last Son”, right in front of the Fortress of Solitude projection of Jor-El.  This time, however, he’s not being summoned by his son… but General Zod and the gang!  Zod decides to ask “Jor-El” to spill his digital guts about… General Zod.  The projection then gives us the quick and dirty on the Phantom Zone.

Zod takes exception to his being referred to as a criminal, and claims that had Jor-El listened to him Krypton wouldn’t have suffered the fate it had.  The trio then take a quick tour of the facilities… and note both Kal-El’s apparent sentimentality… as well as nabbing the Phantom Zone Projector!  Worth noting, we can see that Mon-El currently occupies the space.

Back in Metropolis, Lois and Clark try to get their story straight about “Chris” Kent.  In a cute bit, they pop a pair of glasses on his head and hope for the best.

Inside, just as the Kents are chatting up Jimmy Olsen… the Daily Planet Building is attacked by heat-vision a’plenty!  Jimmy sets off his Signal Watch as Clark rushes off to “supe up”.  Before he can, however, he is attacked from behind by Non.

Superman hits the ground and finds himself knelt… before Zod.  Thankfully they don’t say that though.  Zod is surprised to find that he doesn’t need to introduce himself… Kal’s done his homework on Krypton’s history.  It’s pretty clear that this is intended to be their first face-to-face encounter, which kinda sucks… because that undoes a pretty important post-Crisis story arc.

Back inside the Planet, Ursa confronts Lois and “Chris”… and insists that her Son, Lor-Zod be returned to her.

Outside, Zod and Superman do the old pro-wrestling “test of strength” thang while they shout at each other.  Zod claims that he will turn Earth into a “New Krypton”… and introduces us all to his Army… including a scientist named Jax-Ur, who thanks the quick and dirty “Phantom Zone 101” we just got, we know he was the first Kryptonian to have been exiled.

With Superman disoriented, Zod decides to play his trump card… he reveals that Jax-Ur is carrying a Phantom Zone Projector, and uses it to banish the Man of Steel.

To be (duh) continued…

Another very good chapter of “Last Son”.

Before going into the… whatever it is we do under the second set of hyphens, I just want to express my relief that Johns and Donner fought the urge to include a “Kneel Before…”.  I was bracing for it, I’m not gonna lie.  It was definitely a pleasant surprise not to be “memed” here.  I think “Kneel Before Zod” is up there with “One Punch” in overused, overrated, and just plain annoying things about DC Comics.  The less we see/hear both, the better.

As for the chapter… we get a fair amount of forward momentum, and have a question or two answered.  We know that Chris Kent is really called Lor-Zod, and we get clarification on some post-Crisis events that never actually happened… or happened with other criminals?

Gotta remember, this is that era I refer to as the “Nebulous Interim”… that time between Infinite Crisis and Superman: Secret Origin, where everything is kind of “up in the air” (pun!).  Nobody knew for sure what was coming along from the post-Crisis status quo into the post-(other)Crisis.  I may not dig that the final John Byrne arc has been retconned out (or just plain erased), but was happy for any clarification we received at this point.

Overall… a fun, action-heavy issue.  Might not be the best read on its own, but as part of the “Last Son” story arc, it’s a really good time.  Adam Kubert really shines here, and uses some very interesting and dynamic panel-placement.  Definitely worth a look.  Available digitally.

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