Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Action Comics #875 Review

Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Eddy Barrows and Ruy José

Okay, colour me impressed. This was easily a book and event I was ready to skip not two weeks ago, but, after giving World of New Krypton a shot last week, I decided to test the waters with Action Comics this time around and Rucka did not disappoint. If you don't wish to be spoiled about the identities of Flamebird and Nightwing, I suggest you move along to the next review as I'll be discussing them and their implications throughout the review.

With little bit of spoiler warning out of the way, I'll get right to the big reveal of who Flamebird and Nightwing are. Flamebird is one Thara Ak-Var, Supergirl's friend, chief of security for Kandor and the person I had actually pegged as the new Superwoman. If you're still drawing a blank, she used to have short, black hair compared to her longer, brown hair when she has her mask off in this issue.

As for Nightwing, that's Dick Grayson. Oh, sorry, force of habit. Nightwing is actually one Lor-Zod, better known as Superman's adopted son, Christopher Kent. Yeahbuwha-, you say? Well, by issue's end, we're told that Thara had been hearing Chris' cries for help from the Phantom Zone and helped free him. We also learn that Chris is experience unexplained 'growth spurts', which are forcing him to age. It was hinted it may be due to his time in the Phantom Zone, which is probably related to his birth in that time bubble Zod and Ursa used to conceive and age him.

With the two big reveals out of the way, we can finally discuss just what the heck this storyline will be about. It seems that Chris has filled Thara in on just what kind of trouble Zod and his crew have been up to prior to Kandor's return and also reveals the existence of some Kryptonian spies planted in key locations around Earth by his father, Zod. These plants were the series of names Rucka and co rhymed off at the recent conventions, namely (details of who they were was not in the actual issue. Just adding that for those curious):
  • Tor-An - Nightwing and Flamebird captured this issue
  • Jax-Ur - a rocket & missile engineer who accidentally destroyed one of Krypton's two moons and a populated moon of millions and the only criminal ever sentenced to spend all existence within the Phantom Zone, without the possibility of any kind of parole and is considered Krypton’s worst criminal.
  • Nadira (last name obscured) - a petty criminal with telekinetic powers (oh the conversations she and Superboy would have had)
  • Az-Rel - was a partner with Nadira and is a pyrokinetic
  • Quex-Ul - the only innocent person ever sentenced to the Phantom Zone. Quex-Ul was put in the Phantom Zone for killing a herd of the sacred Rondors. Rondor horns had healing properties and were therefore sacred to Kryptonians. Quex-Ul was caught at the scene of the crime and was convicted and sentenced to 25 Sun Cycles in the Phantom Zone. Superman proved his innocence and released him and Quex-Ul in turn saved Superman from exposure to Gold Kryptonite. However, this information is obviously from the Silver Age and most likely his freedom will be ignored.
  • Car-Vex - I actually know nothing about this Kryptonian. I imagine it's a new character created for this storyline.
After learning about the identities of Flamebird and Nightwing and what they are doing on Earth, we were treated to the conflict set up for coming issues, mainly Zod sending Ursa to retreive their son, Chris. The issue ended with her tracking them both down at Superman's Fortress of Solitude and I imagine we'll be seeing some Kryptonian cat fighting next issue.

Verdict - Must Read. While I found the reveal for the 'magically aging' Chris Kent to be a tad off putting, everything else about this issue and the plot Rucka has set up for future issues was more than enough for me to give this a Must Read rating.

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