Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Action Comics #877 Review

Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Eddy Barrows and Ruy José

Greg Rucka has a few issues of Action Comics under his belt and, while I've been enjoying it, this issue continues the downward trend in terms of quality.

While it started with the promising theme of Flamebird and Nightwing tracking down escaped Phantom Zone prisoners, who have been planted on Earth as Kryptonian sleeper agents by Zod, everything since that first issue has moved the book further and further away from that initial premise. Last issue was nothing but one long fight sequence and this issue continues from there with nothing but the undoing of the damage Flamebird suffered from that fight.

Speaking of which, the manner in which they dealt with the kryptonite blade that Ursa sliced up Flamebird with was horribly handled. Lois Lane simply dials up Dr Hoshi, who is actually the female Dr Light from the JLA, and has her "operate" on the injured Flamebird. The operation consisted of Dr Light simply shooting Flamebird with some light and leaving her out on the balcony to soak up some sunlight.

While I don't particuarly care for the hokey genre cliche super hero powered fixer up hack job employed here, I was annoyed by the fact we were never told who Dr Hoshi was. It doesn't use her first name, she's not in costume and they never use her super-hero name either. I was left scratching my head as to who the hell Lois trusted enough to call in to help them and couldn't think of any recent Star Labs or Cadmus people that may have been introduced or other recurring guest stars and Hoshi is hardly the most well known character, even by her Dr Light moniker, let alone her secret identity.

I actually didn't realize it was her until she started blasting Flamebird with light, which then had me wondering why they didn't just tell us who the heck she was in the first place. I didn't go over every line of dialogue, but I'm pretty sure the only mention of Dr Light was a random one-off from a military grunt after she had finished up and was written out of the story. Poorly explained random plot devices like this feel cheap to me and I didn't expect someone like Rucka to resort to a crutch as weak as this.

Another oddity with this issue was the random tattooed girl working with General Lane. She seems important, but I'll be damned if I can place her and she's another case of no-name syndrome. She hasn't appeared before in Rucka's current run and I don't recall seeing her during the New Krypton arc that ran through the books prior to this World Without Superman theme.

Despite my beef with the whole 'Dr Light saves the day' washing away of everything that happened last issue, I was actually fairly impressed with what little else occurred in this issue. Everything with Ursa was handled well and the Bonny and Clyde-like Kryptonian couple at the end looks promising and should herald a return to the Phantom Zone plot the series started out with.

Verdict - Check It. There's nothing here that will entice you to pick up this book if you aren't already, but it should entertain those that already are. I just hope this comic starts picking up again or I may end up dropping it. Next issue will more than likely be the decider for me.

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