Comics on the Can – Action Comics Annual #10 (2007)

GameStop, Inc.

action comicsI got a box of random comics from a Nigerian Prince, instead of the hundred thousand dollars I was promised by helping launder his money. Since it only cost me $3.75 in shipping I guess it still worked out. Now I read them while making poop, and review them for YOU.

Also, I have this inside track on how to make a killing in real estate, wanna go halfsies with me?

Oh, here is the next comic in the box…

ACTION COMICS 10 (2007) THE 48 PAGE GIANT ANNUAL!

Written by Geoff Johns with Richard Donner (the extent of Richard Donner’s input is not clear. Since no big deal is made of it I imagine that his contribution consisted of Geoff looking at some notes jotted down about the original movie by Donner, which were found in the Warner Brothers commissary.)

Art by a buncha dudes including Art Adams, Joe Kubert, Rags Morales, Phil Jimenez, Randy, Tito, Jermaine, and famous illustrating dwarves Sneezy and Gloin.

It is a well-known tenet in storytelling (and doubly so in comic story telling) that a hero is only as good as his villain. There a lot of reasons for this; a face to connect to the antagonism, the villain defines the hero by being the antithesis, you need someone to help you enjoy (by proxy, of course) all the wicked crap and plot that a story throws at you. Prime examples of this Hero/Villain dynamic – Luke/Darth Vader, The Doctor/Daleks, Batman/The Joker, Republicans/sanity, and Jack Bauer/the entire federal government and anyone who gets in his way ‘CAUSE THERE IS A BOMB IN THE PRESIDENT’S PODIUM! MOVE, NOW!!!!

Anyway, one of the most iconic match-ups is Superman/Lex Luthor. I don’t really read much Superman but I know his rogues gallery (which is included in this issue) and Luthor is #1 on the list (see below). The fact is, you don’t have to read much about the Man of Steel to know Luthor. He’s just as iconic. So much so you can’t debate it. Try to think of Superman without Lex insistently clearing his throat while standing on the perimeter of that thought.

Here’s what I dig about the greatest criminal mind that ever lived – it usually looks like he’s enjoying himself. My fondest thoughts of Lex is through video games. Mortal Kombat vs The DC universe – Luthor is really the only one who looks like he’s having fun. Sure, TWO universes are in danger of destruction and there are ninja’s tearing people’s heads off and stuff, but Lex doesn’t let such small potatoes get in the way of his schemes. Same goes for Injustice: Gods Among Us. He’s on the right side of the conflict but damned if he ain’t enjoying getting the better of Superman. He’s smug, self-assured (I know they’re practically synonyms but this is Lex Luthor for Pete’s sake), smart, egotistical, on his game, has the chops to back the ego up and just bat-crap crazy! Luthor is the kind of crazy that is textbook super villain and the kind of crazy that is a gas to read and/or watch. Forget Jessy Eisenberg, if Lex Luthor was in real life (and a foot shorter) he’d be Kanye West!

The opening story in this book is the best; Luthor is searching in the jungle for something and we get a peek inside his head. It’s pretty much what you’d expect; fantasizing about Supes kicking the bucket in a variety of nasty ways. The multiple Superman deaths are operatic, grandiose, and savage; you have to imagine you are witnessing them through the eyes of Luthor himself. What adds to this little slice of fun carnage is you also get Lex’s internal monologue. Like any good sociopath he is so utterly self-obsessed that it blinds him to his faults. He knows that he can solve the world’s problems and he’ll apply his extraordinary intellect and scientific genius to that AS SOON AS HE KILLS SUPERMAN! Geoff Jones has Lex make a valid point about humans not being their best as long as Superman is around to save their bacon, but it is obvious that he’s justifying his delicious, murderous fantasies. Lex finds what he’s looking for in a river; a chunk of green Kryptonite. The devious and self-satisfied look on Lex’s face caps a fun psychotic whimsy of a story.

I forget if this issue was out around the same time all the batman titles had his enemies fantasizing about punching the Dark Knight’s card. If it does, the story works on another level as meta-joke and pulls off in a few pages what was padded for multiple issues with Bats.

The next story, Who is Clark Kent’s Big Brother explores a side of Superman rarely examined; a re-telling of the Mon-El origin. It is a tight little story (aside from a confusing and pointless page about Lana Lang’s dad almost hitting a dog) that hints at a side of Superman that isn’t explored much to my knowledge; his loneliness. Young Clark has to back out of an offer to play baseball with some other Smallville kids because, well, he’s Superboy. The incident is nothing compared to Darkseid’s shenanigans, but you feel like the world is collapsing for Clark with his level of disappointment. When he finds a crashed rocket and a slightly older kid speaking Kryptonian, Clark is excited for many reasons but the most touching is that he gets to play baseball and not worry about holding back or hurting anyone. The stakes are small scale but Johns finds the right amount of pathos in the baseball metaphor.

Mystery Under the Blue Sun is two pages used to re-introduce (I’m guessing) Bizarro and Bizarro world. Not much else to say here except that the vehicle deigns and look of the story has a pleasant pulpy Flash Gordon vibe.
Secrets of the Fortress of Solitude is a two page spread of Phil Jimenez and Andy Lannig bad-assery showcasing Superman’s home away from home. I felt like a kid again, like when I first saw extras like this in comics of yore. Large chunks of time just soaking in the illustrated information. I didn’t know there was a space animal zoo in the FoS!

Criminals of Krypton is the weakest link in this chain. The story gives background to General Zod’s attempted coup of Krypton and why Non is a mindless killing machine. If the story is an attempt to cultivate sympathy for Zod, it fails. If the story is attempting to restate Zod’s lethal power lust, it muddies the water with making the council just as bad and twice as idiotic. Zod points out, quite astutely I might add, that Jor-El is saving their lives but dooming the planet. A plot point that always bothered me. Zod is just using the exploding sun as a justification for his acts… not much different than Lex. Unlike Luthor, though, Zod is all blood, iron, and grim attitude; there’s not much dimension to him. I assume this is where the coffee stained Richard Donner notes came in since, this story shares more with the original movie than any comic book cannon. Essentially it just doesn’t work. If you want to enjoy Zod in his purest form, here you go. You won’t be sorry.

Superman’s top ten most wanted – Lex at number 1 like he should be! WHAT!? Braniac at #2, knocking Zod to the bronze? This is a travesty and the biggest upset since that one hit wonder “Call Me Maybe” took the musical genius of Taylor Swift outta the top spot! RIOT!

ATTICA! ATTICA! ATTICA!

Our buddy Luthor gets to bookend the comic with a monologue about different colors of Kryptonite. He adds the chunk of green he found to a collection of red, gold, and blue, and places them all in an upgraded Metallo. This bit is pure exposition, but Luthor’s having a blast plotting the demise of The Man of Steel, and his enjoyment is infectious. This is a guy who knows how to be a villain and lives it to the hilt. Other bad guys take note; relish your schemes and plans, enjoy them and your imaginary rewards. What good is ruling the world if you can’t take the time to enjoy it.

Next: X-Men legacy # 245, starting the weird Age of X story line, or maybe one of the dozen new books I’m backlogged on.

Later: Something from DC called Hammer Locke, which I’ve never heard of, but looks odd.

For those of you that asked I’m not doing SDCC. I’ll be earning money instead. But I will be attending the World War Kaiju release party on Saturday 4 pm at:

Rising Sun Creations
1640 Camino Del Rio N Suite 1478, San Diego, California 92108

Id_pic_by_Josh_Finney

Dib, is that you!?

Come on by and get WWK, which is awesome in every aspect ever, and also marvel at how much Josh Finney looks like Dib from Invader Zim all growed up.

Otherwise enjoy your time with the only other people that saw Earth to Echo over $15 cheese burgers, that sweaty obese He-Man cosplay, and getting trampled by people trying to get a “Under the Dome” mini-poster. And if any of you can grab me a Mr. Potato Head Deadpool, or a mighty mugs ROM the Spaceknight, I’m good for it!

Michael has a really cool graphic novel out called Crazy Mary – By Factory Smoke and Acetylene Light which is available on amazon: http://amzn.com/0983923019. read the first story, illustrated by J.K. Woodward, at www.crazymarycomic.com

Don’t confuse this with the Pearl Jam song of the same name. If you get that you’ll be perplexed while trying to read it. If you want a Pearl Jam song I suggest “Glorified G” off the same album.

I also have a short story about space travel and ducks called Car Commercials Have the Best Songs for the Kindle. It’s currently ranked # 1… million four hundred and eighty six thousand and forty fourth, but if you guys buy a few copies I think I can overtake Turtle Crochet Patterns for the Home and Office in no time. It’s funny, how could it not be if it has ducks?

Anytime Costumes

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