Action Comics #811 Review

Superman created by: Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: Strange New Visitor: Part 1

Written by: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art by: Karl Kerschl
Colored by: Tanya and Richard Horie
Lettered by: Rob Leigh
Associate Editor: Tom Palmer Jr.
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Publisher: DC Comics

Lame duck comics…

It’s been a while since I was a regular reader of any of DC’s regular Superman books. After Jeph Loeb’s departure from the main book, I dropped everything about eighteen months ago. In that time the only solo Superman books I’ve picked up where Action Comics #800, and Superman #200 a couple of weeks back. Before I dropped them this was probably the most inconsistent line of comics on the shelves. I can’t comment much on what went on while I was absent, but from what I heard that hadn’t changed.

When it was announced that new all-star creative teams would be beginning on the books in April, I decided to give the Superman line a try once more. I didn’t have the heart to join back in before the previous teams left, but since Superman #200 was heralded as the end point, that’s where I decided to slide in. That and the fact that Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (who’s work I loved on Legion and Resurrection Man) would be penning a three part cross-title tale before the new direction began in earnest.

Superman’s greatest hits

Superman recently disappeared in the timestream, so Metropolis is without their greatest protector. A “time storm” is raging above Metropolis and there is a great deal of panic and uncertainty afoot. This issue is really nothing more than a look back on the big events in Superman’s current continuity history. We get moments about his death, the battle with Brainiac that led to the B13 technology integrating into the city, not to mention a look at many of the important characters in Supes life. Including: Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Perry White, the past and current Steel, and one of my favorite supporting characters, Bibbo.

This issue is really just a setup to put Lois Lane into a precarious predicament; much the same as the predicament, which originally introduced her to the Man of Steel. On the final page, a fish-out-of-water from another “universe” rescues her. While it’s been reported in many places just who this character is, I will arrange an appropriate spoiler warning since I have previously had a comment about giving things away.

SPOILER WARNING

Now I think it’s the worst kept secret in comics, but Mr. Majestic (Wildstorm’s heavy hitter) is the new “strange visitor” to the DC Universe. He’s come to town to take Superman’s place, at least for a little while. He shows up on the final page of this issue, which promises to make for an interesting story, which will continue next week in Adventures of Superman #624 and conclude the following week in Superman #201.

The rumor has it that Mr. Majestic will actually remain in the DC Universe after this run, which in all honesty makes very little sense. Captain Marvel already is vastly underused, so I see no reason for yet another all-powerful character running around the DCU. Of course, what the hell do I know.

Pulling it all together

The artwork by Karl Kerschl is a real treat. I like the fact that editor Eddie Berganza farmed out the art chores for all three parts to one, very talented, artist. Kerschl’s work reminds me a bit of Ed McGuinness’ time on Superman. He handles the flashbacks with Superman and the modern day stuff (obviously without Superman) with equal flair. The last page of this issue is really the icing on the cake. Great stuff.

As a whole this was a nice opening to a story that even without his presence is still all about Superman. Abnett and Lanning’s tale shows the absolute impact that the Man of Steel has on Metropolis and how deeply in trouble the place is without him. This one set the table quite nicely; I’m very interested to read the final two parts of the storyline. I have the utmost confidence that DnA will bring us all to a very fun place before the story ends.