Action Comics #827 (July, 2005)
“Strange Attractions, Part One”
Writer – Gail Simone
Penciller – John Byrne
Inker – Nelson DeCastro
Colorist – Guy Major
Letterer – Pat Brosseau
Associate Editor – Tom Palmer, Jr.
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.50
For today’s piece we’re going to cover a book from that really weird time back in the mid-2000’s where John Byrne started getting along with DC Comics again! I know it’s crazy, but it’s true.
I was kinda on the “outs” with DC around this time… really wasn’t picking up much. Actually really wasn’t picking up much in the way of comics, period. Felt like we were learning that Byrne was taking over another book like every day… though, in reality it was “only” like 3-4 of ’em. I guess we can politely say that his work was a “mixed bag” at this time… though, I could bet that his take on the Doom Patrol is probably at least a couple of folks’ definitive take.
Anyhoo… let’s take a look and see how his Superman Homecoming went.
We open in Metropolis… duh. A traffic copter flies overhead, sharing the information of the evening’s commute with the populace… and a strange cloaked woman approaches the retired superhero, Aura to inform her that she’s a fan… and also, that she has similar powers. She introduces herself as “Repulse” and to prove that she’s just as magnetic… she drops that traffic copter right on top of her.
We shift scenes to an African village where some bad dudes are threatening the Wise Mother who oversees it. They attempt to railroad her… unfortunately for them, she’s got some back-up in the form of Superman. He smashes their vehicles and crumples their weapons… and promises the tiny tribe that they won’t be back to bother them anytime soon.
Wise Mother refers to Superman as Moja Ini Chapa Nyumba, which translates to “One Heart, Many Homes”… though, if you run it through Google Translate… it means “One Liver Print House”. Either way, he’s touched. He even leaves his cape with them, so anybody who might do them harm knows just what they’re messing with.
Superman zooms back to Metropolis to deliver Lois some goodies he’d picked up while he was “out”. I know a lot of us bag on Byrne’s post-1980’s work… but he still has a really good Lois here.
Anyhoo, she has to get ready to head into work… a new shutterbug named Willis is picking her up to take her in. Clark remains at home… where he can work on his next novel… which from the looks of it, looks kind of like an article for the Planet. “His” writing here is also pretty lame… it’s got that thing we all learned in Junior High where you start with something poignant… write a paragraph or two… then repeat the poignant phrase verbatim for emphasis. Not to be confused with rewriting your thesis… this is far too cute for that.
We jump over to the Planet, where Perry is riding Jimmy for not being out taking snaps. Turns out that it’s currently “raining cars”… and the Chief would really appreciate some photos. Just then… a car lands right on the newsroom floor!
Jimmy peeks outside and sees… Doctor Polaris! S’funny… my first “Polaris” in comics was Lorna Dane from the X-Books… and so I just can’t see the name as fitting a man. No matter how many times I see “the Doc”, I still take a pause when it hits me that his name is “Polaris”. Anyhoo… he’s in Centennial Park… and he’s really freaked out.
We can see that he’s facing off with Repulse from earlier… she’s the cause of the torrential car-storm.
After beating him up for a bit, Repulse attempts to choke him out with some cables. Luckily, Superman happens by and nyoinks Polaris away. Dude is frantic, explaining everything that Repulse has done… including nearly killing Aura. So, if you were worried about a former “Raver”, you can breathe a sigh of relief… or disinterest.
As they chat, Superman is a bit incredulous. His attention is drawn behind him… where he is blinded by a flash of light, courtesy of Repulse.
He regains his druthers (but not his vision)… scoops Doc Polaris in his arms, and flees the scene. He takes him to the top of a nearby bridge where he informs him that… Repulse does not exist! It’s all in the Doc’s head, maaaaaaaan. With that, the Repulse “alter” appears to rear its head inside Polaris… and he wallops Superman with a blast.
This was okay… really didn’t do much for me though. As far as “jumping on points” go, this was decent enough. It’s a solid story opener for the decompressed era… but not all that exciting.
The idea of Polaris having an “alter”, if that’s even what this is, is pretty neat. Total disclosure, I don’t think I’ve ever read this run before… so, I can’t speak to where this is headed. For all I know, “Repulse” might just be introduced as a real living and breathing humanoid. Who knows?
Superman protecting the African village was a good enough scene… but nothing we haven’t seen before. Not that everything has to be new and novel… but, if we’re trying to set a tone for this “all-new” run on Superman… there were probably more creative ways of doing that. Then again, what do I know… maybe this wasn’t supposed to be a “brand new day” for the character. Again, it didn’t have to be. At least it led to Clark writing that really neat report for his 8th Grade English class though… right?
The Return of Byrne is… well, it’s okay. Feels kind of half-hearted… which might just be the perfect descriptor for this issue as a whole. Non-committal… non-socks rocking… just kinda “there”.
Overall… I hate to be all “ehh” but, it’s really all I can muster. Perhaps if I were to continue along, I might retroactively appreciate this more… but, I mean… aren’t we, as comic fans, like really tired of that kind of mindset? I really don’t wanna go off on a tangent… but, these are still periodicals, right? Shouldn’t we get some measure of satisfaction every time we plop a few bucks down on our local shop’s counter?
Oh well… I’ll just curb it here, lest I go on for days and lose the plot (even more than I already have!). I’m feel like this issue will have a certain appeal for folks… so, I guess this is one’a dem “your mileage may vary” books. For your convenience, this bugger’s available digitally.