Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Action Comics #866
Johns, Frank & Sibal
Brainiac Part One is a smash hit. This story has mild hype going in, but big expectations from long time Superman fans like me. This issue delivers all over the place. It’s not only new reader friendly, but its also old reader friendly. It brings elements of the past into the present in a clear manner. We get excellent characterizations from almost all of the Superman cast, plus some new ones to boot. As expected, the artwork delivers and it gives a nostalgic feel to it. A perfect start to this arc.
The issue begins with Brainiac’s invasion of Krypton. A couple of things stand out in this sequence. First off, the brutality and horrific deaths that Brainiac dishes out really sticks with you. Secondly, the fact that Zod is totally cast as the hero (or attempted hero) really ties into the other stories that Zod has had a role in recently. He claims to be a hero, but now we finally see how and to what end. At the end of this scene Brainiac basically steals the city of Kandor.
Back at the Daily Planet we have a staff meeting. It sounds dull, but it is outstanding. We get some characters reintroduced and we get some excellent character moments from the old ones. Clark puts on many faces in this scene. He acts like a goof for some, a stud for others and a humble friend for yet another. The whole scene really builds a strong basis for all the Daily Planet characters and how most of them interface with Clark. I cant gush enough about this layout.
When Clark rushes off as Superman, he is confronted by a robot. This robot puts up a little fight, but it is really a means to retrieve something from Clark. Clark suspects exactly who is behind this. At the very end we finally see Brainiac and his metamorphosis into life.
This issue sounds so simple and yet it is so good, but what about the art? The artwork is outstanding in every sense of the word. The Clark and Lois look like they popped right out of the 1970s movies and that is a great thing to see. Meanwhile, the depiction of Krypton and Brainiac has the consistent comic book likeness we’ve see for years and years. Add in a great splash page of Brainiac’s lair and you have some unparalleled visuals. Hell, even the donuts look appetizing in this issue.
What more can you ask from an initial issue of an arc? Well, how about even Ma and Pa Kent getting some page time. This issue really is a perfect point for someone to jump on.
As a long time Superman fan it’s nice to see the other side of the coin for Zod and its nice to see just how twisted and sick Brainiac really is. Superman has a great cast of villains that sometimes are under used, but not in this issue, albeit a setup.
I cant recommend this story enough to people. Even if you never read another issue in the arc I still think you will be very entertained with this comic. That, in itself, is a huge compliment. I cant imagine long time Superman fans not liking this issue.
5 out of 5 geek goggles.
Action Comics #866