Tuesday, January 29, 2013

365 Comics...29: Action Comics #586 (1987)

One of my favourite comic book series of all time is DC Comics Presents, a 97-issue, 4-annual series that starred Superman and one other guest star each issue.  As a kid, before Who's Who came along, it exposed me to a vast number of different characters in the DCU pantheon and I loved it for it.  I loved it so much I've filled the gaps in my collection as recently as 2 years ago, though I haven't yet gone back and read them all.  I'm saving that bit of special something for retirement.  After completing my hunt for all things DCCP, I felt a little... wanting, or in need of some new sort of treasure hunt, so I thought I would extend myself past that and pick up the logical continuation of DCCP, John Byrne's run on Action Comics from about issue 580 - 599.

I actually bought many of these on their original issuance to the newsstands, but in the intervening years some have gone missing and others I never had, so I made a list and promptly forgot about it, until today, when I came across a handful of that 20-issue Action Comics run.  Unfortunately the only one there I knew I didn't have was this one, in which Superman teams up with the New Gods.

Okay, he teams up with Darkseid.

But not really.

Unfortunately, unlike DC Comics Presents, which did a great job at making fun comics out of big superhero team up spectacle, Byrne's taking this stuff way too seriously and this is the third part of a three-part story that crossed over from Superman #3 and Adventures of Superman #426 along with being a Legends tie-in (Chapter 19... those "Chapter Indicators" back then were such bullshit, since there was no logical story flow from one chapter to the next for the most part.  The only way they really connected was through the main Event comic itself, but I digress).  As well it seems, even with 25 years between me and the comic, that Kirby had just put the New Gods to bed and with this and Legends Byrne is throwing stones at their window and stomping his feet to wake them up again.  They needed their rest.

There is some absolutely terrible exposition bogging down the first 10 pages of this book.  Deathly dry and dull, particularly as Amazing Grace and Darkseid mince on and on about the grand scheme that's taking place in Legends. Snore!

The crux of this issue is Superman has been brainwashed by Darkseid into thinking that he is his son, and when Orion and Lightray come knocking, he's sent out to challenge them.  Meanwhile Lightray resists the temptations of the comely Amazing Grace, because, really, we all know that Lightray is totally Sam Wise jonesing for Orion's Mr. Frodo.

In the end Orion uses wits instead of brawn to defeat his amnesiac foe, and has Mother Box apply a mental remedy so that Supes is all normal-like again (but minus the memory that he slaughtered hundreds of Darkseid's servants during a quelled uprising.  Because, as Orion explains, that's not something a champion should worry about, and that he's something special (methinks that Orion is perhaps Sam Wise-ing for Superman's Mr. Frodo).

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