Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Secret Six #33 & Action Comics #900

Just two comics to post tonight, both from the wacky world of DC. One comic I couldn't stand, while the other was surprisingly good... Read on to find out which was which!

Secret Six #33:

Summary: This issue gets under way with Ragdoll offering the Secret Six(minus Catman, who I'll get to later) the opportunity to rule by his side in Hell, as opposed to being tormented for all eternity. The team does a vote(how democratic of them) and Deadshot gets the deciding vote which he answers by shooting Ragdoll in the head. While that's going on, Catman and Etrigan find Catman's father, who is being tormented by Catman's mother. Content that his old man had received the punishment he so richly deserved, Catman says hi to his mom before leaving them. The rest of the Six are busy battling Ragdoll's Secret Six-Hundred and Sixty Six(yes, I love that), with Scandal Savage making her way through the crowd to come face to face with her dead girlfriend, Knockout. Knockout doesn't remember Scandal, and tries to attack her, which Scandal responds to by putting Knockout over her shoulder and carrying her along... Really?!? The same Knockout who used to beat the hell out of Superboy monthly?! This... just... doesn't... make... sense... Blaze(the current head honcho of Hell) arrives on the scene and tells the Six that the jig was up. It seems that she had decided that Ragdoll and Knockout would marry, and wasn't going to stand for the Six screwing up her plans. Blaze forces the Six members to face their greatest fears, which they do, until they all suddenly decide not to anymore... Huh? Anyway, Scandal decides to challenge Blaze, the ruler of Hell, to one on one combat, in Hell, for the souls of her friends and Knockout. Yeah, okay. By this point, Catman and Etrigan arrive and Catman pledges that he'd support Scandal, as do the rest of the Six... As well as Ragdoll... It seems that after ALL this, Ragdoll has had a change of heart and gives Scandal the Get Out of Hell Free card, at which point Scandal and the rest of the Six forgive Ragdoll... With that, Blaze decides that the Six and Ragdoll can leave Hell(wait, why?!?), but warns Scandal that if she uses the card to free Knockout, her current girlfriend(who is being tortured by a maniac) would probably be dead soon, so she had best consider her next step carefully.

Thoughts: Wow, this was horrible... I mean, when I first read it I thought it was pretty bad, but going thorugh it a second time for this review really hammered home just how bad it was. Scandal deciding to literally carry Knockout away ON HER SHOULDER, the Six suddenly not being trapped in their fears, Scandal challenging Blaze to one on one combat, IN HELL, and then the rest of the Six announcing they'd fight by Scandal's side... I mean everything about that is off... First off, Blaze rules Hell! No matter what you do, you're not beating her! Besides that, did the Six miss the part where Scandal made the challenge and specifically said it would be a one on one fight, as in only involving Scandal and Blaze?! And then we have Ragdoll having a change of heart and being forgiven, and then Blaze allowing the Six to leave Hell, just like that. Now I can ignore the leaving Hell thing because the Six did need to get home somehow, but the Ragdoll thing was just the coup de grace for me. That should NEVER have happened! He betrayed the ENTIRE team, tried to marry Scandal's dead lover, and basically almost doomed them to an afterlife where he'd be lording over them... I mean if ever you're not going to forgive somebody, this is that time! But as always, I hate Ragdoll with a passion, so that kind of shades my opinions. I was hoping this storyline would finally rid the team o f Ragdoll, but no, I'm sure all of this will be forgotten 2 or 3 issues down the road. I have to say, I'm pretty surprised this comic hasn't been canceled yet...

Score: 3 out of 10.Um, Knockout could kill Scandal with ONE finger! This scene makes NO sense!!!

Action Comics #900:

Summary: Supes take a break from his cross-country trek to head to Metropolis upon learning that Doomsday had kidnapped several Supes based characters, Superboy, Eradicator, Supergirl, Steel, and Cyborg Superman in particular. Those characters do play a part in this story, but it's a very small part until the very end, so I'll be skipping over most of their scenes. Basically they fight and run from Doomsday a lot on some freaky space station. As for Supes, he heads into the sky to try to figure out where his allies(and enemy) have gone when he is teleported to Lex Luthor, who had managed to acquire the powers of a god last issue. Lex, being Lex, gives Supes the story as to how he gained the power he now wielded(he bonded with a young god from the Phantom Zone), but Supes is more interested in finding the doorway to the Phantom Zone this god came from, since it was his chance to rescue his son, Chris(in a GREAT touch!). Lex doesn't take kindly to being ignored, and attacks Supes physically, before deciding to break Supes mentally by forcing him to relive several painful events in his life. First Luthor heads to the scene of Superman's “death” at the hands of Doomsday and forces him to feel the emotions Lois Lane felt that day, since Lex wanted Supes to feel what human loss felt like. This annoys Supes, who tells Lex that he's felt the sting of loss before. Lex refuses to believe that an alien can feel emotions such as loss, and forces Supes to live through the last moments of his father and mother as Krypton exploded. This angers Supes, but still doesn't break him. Lex now decides to force Supes to relive Chris's sacrifice and return to the Phantom Zone, which seems to legitimately hurt Supes, bringing Lex some pleasure. From there, he forces Supes to watch New Krypton explode once again. Finally having had enough of Lex's games, Supes tells Lex that he DOES feel like a normal person does, and demands that Lex looks into his mind to see what caused Supes the most pain. Figuring it was some cosmic event, such as the deaths of worlds, or something else that would separate Supes from a normal man, Lex does as he's told, and is brought to the Kent family farm where Supes and Ma are mourning over the dead body of Pa Kent. Lex recognizes the farm, and the Kent's, and then finally realizes that Superman and Clark Kent were one and the same(!!!). Supes tries to take that opportunity to prove to Lex that they were more alike then Lex thought, but instead Lex is infuriated by the fact that Supes got to grow up amongst people who loved him, while he didn't. Lex finally flips out and blasts Supes with enough power to disintegrate him, but is surprised to see that Supes was still alive. At this point Mr. Mind(in the body of the Lois Robot), tells Lex that the god from the Phantom Zone had woken up and was fighting Lex for control of their merged body(as well as limiting Lex's powers). Lex realizes that he has to defeat/kill the Phantom Zone god, and summons it, since killing it would give Lex the infinite power he needed to finally kill off Superman. The Phantom Zone god decides to stop fighting Lex and give him the infinite power he craved, provided he only used it as the Phantom Zone god wanted it used, to bring peace and happiness throughout the universe. With that, Lex has his infinite power, and begins radiating happiness throughout the universe, causing every being to be filled with bliss. Supes tells Lex that what he was doing was a wonderful thing, and that he could finally be the hero he always saw himself as, while Mr. Mind warns Lex that the power would leave him if he acted in a negative manner. Supes apologizes for anything he did to Lex that may have caused him anger, since he wanted Lex to continue to shower the cosmos with bliss. Lex ponders all of this for a moment, but is unable to let go of his hatred, and attacks Supes anew, losing his infinite power in the process... Ah Lex... With that, Mr. Mind leaves the body of the Lois robot, and Lex continues his assault on Supes. Supes plays the old rope-a-dope, and takes the worst Lex can throw at him, as Lex slowly but surely uses up the last of his cosmic power. Finally nearly empty, Supes stages an attack of his own, and knocks the rest of Lex's power away, as well as apparently a part of his very mind. It seems that Lex's mind was unable to cope with what he lost, and begins to fail him. Even brain-addled, Lex is still coherent enough to taunt Supes by telling him that he was responsible for the disappearances of his friends via Doomsday, before he is sucked into a portal and vanishes from sight. Now remembering the whole Doomsday thing, Supes rushes to the base Lex described to him and enters the space station. Supes meets up with the captives and learns that Lex had managed to create several Doomsday clones, and the main story of this issue ends with Supes and his allies(and Cyborg Superman) being confronted by a wave of Doomsdays! There were also four other stories here, as well as a screenplay. Some of the stories were great(Damon Lindelof's tale in particular), while others were absolute rubbish(David Goyer's piece, which I'll hit on in the thoughts section.).

Thoughts: This comic had 96 pages and cost $6, but it was well worth the price. Paul Cornell's main story, the conclusion to his Lex Luthor storyline, was absolutely fantastic, and on it's own would have probably given this comic a perfect score. Unfortunately, I can't judge this comic by just that one story, I have to look at everything here. If not for the Goyer tale, I still would have gone with a perfect score, but alas, in good conscience, I can't... The Goyer story is the one getting so much play in the mainstream media, and has Supes renouncing his US citizenship. To be honest, Supes renouncing his US citizenship didn't bother me as much as the horrible story it took place in... Yes, renouncing his citizenship was a bonehead move, especially considering the fact that he's STILL traveling across America in the main Superman title, and will STILL be living in Metropolis, but the story itself was a horrible Middle Eastern political statement piece that really bugged me. I've stated numerous times that I like to have my politics separated from my comic books(I'm looking at YOU, Civil War!), and this issue didn't do that. So yeah, the Goyer story REALLY hurt my enjoyment of this one, and kept it from a rare perfect score...

Score: 9 1/2 out of 10.Lex's reaction here is laugh out loud stuff!

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