Action Comics #875 (May, 2009)
“the sleepers, Part I”
Writer – Greg Rucka
Penciller – Eddy Barrows
Inkers – Guy Jose & Julio Ferreira
Colorist – Rod Reis
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor – Wil Moss
Editor – Matt Idelson
Cover Price: $2.99
One of the neat things about writing about Action Comics is, even if you’re not necessarily in the mood to write about Superman… you can find a bunch of issues that don’t even feature him. Such is the issue we’ll be discussing today.
While on the subject… as we draw ever nearer to the end of our #Action100 Endeavor, I am kinda bummed that I didn’t get around to covering any Action Comics Weekly. On the face of it, seems like it would be a good time… but, lemme tell ya… synopsizing those short stories, and making the piece “flow” (not that my pieces ever really “flow”) was quite a challenge. I couldn’t tell ya how many times I started writing a piece for Action Comics Weekly #601. It’s one of the very few books that actually “beat” me.
Oh well, maybe one of these days I’ll get a running start and give it another go.
We open in Sydney, Australia in the office of one Mr. Carter… a big-wig for the Empire Communications Network. He’s on the phone with an assistant and is looking for some sort of a scathing expose on the Kryptonians of New Krypton. As he wraps up his call, he gets walloped by… Nightwing (not that one)! Flamebird arrives right behind him and calls him out for his impetuousness.
As they yak, Carter recovers and attacks! He believes (as does the world) that Nightwing and Flamebird are normal humans in super-powered suits. He promises that they aren’t prepared to deal with what he really is.
A fight rages on… with Carter eventually grabbing Nightwing by the throat. He is taken aback when the kid starts speaking to him in Kryptonese. This distraction proves to be just enough for the Kandorian Dynamic Duo to regain the advantage.
They manage to capture Carter, who is in actuality a Kryptonian Sleeper Agent named Tor-An. Job well done, Nightwing proclaims “One Down, Five to Go!”… before noticing that his partner might be a little worse for wear. They disappear into the skies before they are spotted.
We briefly check in on Metropolis, where Lois is watching footage of the event we just read. She furrows her brow. Thrilling.
We then shift scenes to General Lane’s Project 7734, where they too are watching the footage… in an attempt to positively identify Flamebird. Unfortunately for them, the image is too degraded to match up.
Next stop, New Krypton. Alura is rather annoyed that her Chief of Security Thara Ak-Var has flown the coop… but not before abducting/rescuing Lor-Zod (Chris Kent) from the Phantom Zone. They don’t yet know that Thara and Chris are currently Nightwing and Flamebird. Anyhoo, she sends Ursa (Lor-Zod’s mother) off on the retrieval mission.
Over at the Fortress of Solitude, Nightwing and Flamebird deposit Tor-An into their version of the Ghostbusters’ Containment Unit… or, ya know… the Phantom Zone.
Chris heads off to change clothes, as his current ensemble is in a pretty bad state, and he’s too bashful to do so in front of Thara. While he’s off, Thara takes a gander at the rest of their intergalactic hit-list.
Her viewing party is interrupted by an off-panel shout. It’s Chris… who has been struck with a sudden (and apparently painful) growth spurt. He explains that this might be a byproduct of having spent time in the Phantom Zone.
We wrap up with Ursa’s arrival in the Fortress… where she looks to be ready to kill Thara… if not both of our new heroes!
Not a whole lotta meat on these bones… but enjoyable enough.
I’ve said it before, but I didn’t stick around all that long for the New Krypton saga… so, it was rather a pleasant surprise to learn that Nightwing was our pal Chris Kent. I was afraid he was never heard from again after “Last Son”.
I think his depiction here was pretty great. Over-zealous in his attack on Carter/Tor-An… his bashfulness around Thara… even his innocent mention of how pretty she looks in her costume. Just seems like a really good take on the “kid hero”.
I still can’t really go “all in” on Zod… any time he’s mentioned, I become instantly bored. At least we didn’t get a hilarious “Kneel Before…” bit. Kudos to Rucka for that. The story also looks pretty damn fantastic. Barrows is absolutely wonderful.
Even though I really dug this… the fact that it is so decompressed really hinders my ability to recommend it. I mean, I’ve got the next issue within arm’s reach… so, I think it might be easier for me to forgive the lack of “meat” here… but, if we were to hop back to 2009… I doubt that I’d have been satisfied.
This kind of book brings me back to a time where I forced myself through my buy-pile. Just blasting through each book in order to get to the next one… and the next one, and so on. This book wouldn’t have really “moved my needle”, and I feel like the most satisfaction it would have given me, is putting it back in the polybag… happily knowing that I can move on to the next book in the pile.
Overall… I liked it. Not enough really “went down”… but it’s a decent enough “part one”. Not sure I’d recommend picking up just this issue… but then again, not having read this through, I’m not sure I’d recommend picking up the whole magilla either!