Thursday, May 21, 2009

Retro Review: Action Comics #844-851 + Action Comics Annual #11

This post is going to specifically look at the "Last Son" storyline from Action 844-846, 851 and Annual #11. All were written by Richard Donner(the Superman: The Movie director!)and the incomparable Geoff Johns. Yep, I have a huge crush on Geoff's writing, and I'm not embarrassed to admit it!

These comics detail the first appearance of Christopher Kent/Lor-Zod, the current Nightwing. Basically, Christopher arrives in Metropolis via a strange spacecraft, is taken in by the government, gets broken out by Supes, and is adopted by Supes and Lois. Aww, how nice right? Not quite! It turns out that Chris is actually the son of General Zod and Ursa, two Kryptonian criminals who were banished to the Phantom Zone, which is basically a dimension where the occupants are trapped as living ghosts. Zod and Ursa, along with 20-something Kryptonian criminals follow Chris' escape route from the Phantom Zone and invade the Earth. 20 some-odd criminals with Superman's powers is too much for even Supes to deal with and he is summarily defeated and banished to the Phantom Zone while Zod and Ursa conquer Metropolis, defeat dozens of super-heroes and abuse their son.

With the help of Mon-El, a friend of Supes who(at that time)is trapped in the Phantom Zone, Supes escapes and realizes that he really needs some allies if he is going to defeat Zod and his crew. Who does Supes turn to with the heroes defeated? Why Lex Luthor of course! Who better to attack a mass of evil Kryptonians than the guy who has made a career out of fighting a Kryptonian? So in one of the best team-up's in recent memory, Supes teams with Lex, Bizarro, Metallo and the Parasite. Lex outfits his group with weapons that will harm Kryptonians and the 5 mismatched characters launch their assault on Zod and the Kryptonians.

While everyone else battles the evil Kryptonians, Lex discovers a way to send them all back to the Phantom Zone, including Superman. Ah that Lex, always scheming! Lex activates the device and Zod and his Kryptonians get sucked back into the Phantom Zone. Supes and Chris are also getting pulled in, but Chris sacrifices himself to allow Supes to remain on Earth. Needless to say the victory proves to be a bittersweet one for Supes and Lois.

This was another amazing story by Geoff. It was also pretty cool that Richard Donner had a hand in this story. I have to say, Zod was a real ass in these comics! He's way more mellow in the current World of Krypton series. Once again, Geoff did a great job providing Lex Luthor's lines in this series. Upon killing one of the evil Kryptonians, Lex says, "So this is what it feels like to kill a Kryptonian... Feels good." Brilliant! It was hard not to feel badly for poor Chris. I know I sure as hell wouldn't want to return to the Phantom Zone with Zod and that crazy Ursa. For a score, I'd be crazy not to give this storyline a 10 out of 10. I absolutely loved these comics, and I can't wait to dig into "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes", the next Geoff Johns authored Superman trade I'll be reading.

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