Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Action Comics #868
Johns, Frank & Sibal
Superman gets investigated by Brainiac and Supes can’t take him down using the usual tricks. This issue manages to put Superman in an impossible predicament. He can’t possible escape this problem. It will be doom for Earth! Well, that’s where this issue takes us, but it is a very good issue in its own right.
This issue is basically divided into three parts. Daily life at the Daily Planet, Superman versus Brainiac and Ma and Pa Kent with some eerie foreshadowing of what’s to come.
The issue begins with the usual suspects, minus Clark, at the Daily Planet. It provides some light moments while continuing to push forward the personalities of Cat Grant and the others. Supergirl shows up looking for Superman. She provides some humor with Cat’s implants. Of course, the obvious questions are: a) she’s never seen or heard of implants before? and b) she needs to actually walk into the Daily Planet to figure out Clark isn’t there? I realize Supergirl is being fused to Superman in future arcs, but there has to be other ways to include her.
Next we have the Superman probe. There isn’t a ton of dialogue here, but the visuals are grotesque. Superman gets some metal jammed down his throat and needs to wrench it out. He eventually escapes the probing room and works his way to where Kandor is kept. Then he meets Brainiac. Brainiac is huge. He’s a friggin monster. Superman tries to get tough with him, but Brainiac isn’t easily moved.
Superman’s parents continue to discuss how worried they are for Clark. Some over the top symbolism is shown right after they talk themselves into thinking Clark will be okay. It would appear doom is heading Clark’s way.
This issue wraps up with Brainiac revealing how evil he is and then the giant floating robot head heading to Metropolis.
It’s a very good issue. The artwork is brilliant. Christopher Reeve lives in this comic book. I don’t know how any other portrayal of Superman can stack up to what is shown on these pages. Everything from the coloring of Brainiac to the yellow and red in Superman’s crest is stunning and sharp. The whole comic tells an awesome story just with the visuals.
The story is good, but not great. There are holes in this story that I found hard getting past. Brainiac is pitched as the “real” one. All other encounters with Brainiac by Superman were with Brainiac drones. However, in this issue Brainiac reveals how long he has searched for Superman and how excited he is that he now knows where Earth is. Small problem: Brainaic should already know where Earth is because his drones have been fighting Superman there since the 60s. I didn’t like this aspect of the comic at all. It’s tough when you mess with stories from the past and in this case it doesn’t seem to stack up one hundred percent. It might later on, but for now it didn’t make a ton of sense.
I do like the Brainiac in this issue. It presents the ultimate challenge for Superman. A creature with excellent brawn and superior brains. However, a previous Superman arc did have Doomsday with Brainiac’s brain, but this is somehow better. Maybe because it’s “really” Brainiac.
I like this arc. It isn’t my favorite Superman arc by any stretch, but it is making good use of one of Superman’s most dangerous villains. I am excited to see where this all ends up.
4 out of 5 geek goggles
Action Comics #868