Action Comics Annual #13 is a bombshell. Writer Paul Cornell takes comic book readers down two memory lanes where the young Lex Luthor became an intern of Darkseid and, in the second story, an apprentice to Ra’s Al Ghul. But I must admit that to understand how these two stories play into Luthor’s persona that we know today, one may need some familiarity with the Superman saga.
In this annual issue of Action Comics, we see Lex Luthor in his early years, but with the same conceitedness and arrogance. Even back then, he was preoccupied with the idea of attaining ultimate supremacy. But just like any young man, Luthor still lacked the prudence and the far-sightedness that he is known for today. So, we’re basically seeing the hasty or even foolish side of one of the world’s greatest criminal masterminds. If you have been wondering how Luthor lost his hair, I think this issue started it all.
In the first feature, we see Lex Luthor in his very first meeting with Perry White, a newspaper reporter (who would later on become the big honcho at the Daily Planet). Their encounter will put criminal boss Bruno Mannheim in the picture, which will ultimately lead to Luthor working for Darkseid in Apokolips. Meanwhile, the second story gives us a glimpse on Luthor’s stint under Ra’s Al Ghul where Lex almost lost his life due to his unquenchable curiosity.
Overall, this issue dishes out a unique but very interesting style of storytelling. Paul Cornell is a very innovative writer. The art by Marco Rudy is also something to look forward to in this Action Comics Annual issue. His work has that retro feel, with a little dash of noir visual style which I like.
As Lex Luthor goes on a quest to find the remaining traces of Black Lantern energy, he’s bound to meet some very formidable obstacles along the way. But for the third time in the Action Comics series, he has proven that he can outgun, outman, and outwit anyone who crosses his path. First, he foiled an assassination attempt by Deathstroke. Next, he thwarted Grodd from turning him into a Lex Meatball. Finally, Luthor eluded Death herself.
So, it’s just natural for the world’s smartest criminal mastermind to finally take a break and let things hang loose back in Metropolis. Alas, there’s no rest for the wicked. A new thorn on Luthor’s side pops up in the form of Vandal Savage, who’s bent on preventing Luthor’s plan of harnessing the energy from the Black Lanterns. Why? Well, it’s because Luthor’s scheme can only materialize with the use of the Black Lantern energy domes which, in turn, are held by Savage in preparation for some kind of ancient prophecy. This latest confrontation forces Luthor to enlist the services of the Secret Six. And we’ll soon find out if it’s going to be another smart idea from LL.
The absence of Superman in Action Comics started in issue #890 and will last all the way through #899. But I tell you, I do not miss Supes at all. Writer Paul Cornell has given fans of the comic book series a lot to look forward to, most important of which is the amazing scripts between Luthor and his DC villain contemporaries. The artwork by Peter Wood is also worth mentioning. The detailed expressions on both Luthor and Savage are simply amazing.
Lastly, let’s not forget about the co-feature story where we find Jimmy Olsen preventing a cruel bunch of aliens from turning Earth into a bloodsoaked party venue. The plan involves turning Metropolis into a boring city in the hope that the aliens would see the entire planet as an uninteresting place and, thus, a total waste of time for them. Well, only Jimmy Olsen can do it with just a bow tie on his neck.
Action Comics #894
Lex Luthor and Death. This. Is Happening. Right now. In this issue. Many people say that Death from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman gracing the pages of Action Comics is just one big marketing ploy. Whether that’s true or not, I honestly don’t care. Apart from the cover, the crunchy storyline makes this issue a good read. Besides, who wouldn’t want to see Lex Luthor feeling vulnerable as he comes face to face with Death. I gotta tell you, the conversations—even if touching on the philosophical—are captivating, especially if you think like Luthor. The question is can Luthor talk his way out of Death’s grasp?
Green Arrow #5
This is one of the Brightest Day tie-ins that definitely hit the spot. Green Arrow faces off against a masked female assassin right on the streets of Star City which resulted in one of the bystanders getting killed. To save the man, our archer hero brings the dead body to the forest in an attempt to resurrect the man. But far from what Green Arrow expected, his noble act brought to life a horde of zombies, which include Oliver McQueen’s own father. Green Arrow fights side by side with Galahad to drive back the Black Lantern abomination. Again, I would also like to mention that the cover art by Mauro Cascioli for this issue is downright awesome!
Justice League Generation Lost #12
At first glance, you’d think that this issue is about a big clash between Fire and Ice. Well, no. It’s actually a retelling of the origin of Ice. Sure, there’s a lot of fight scenes between the two. But the meat of the issue is Tora Olafsdotter’s history and how her childhood experiences made her the Ice Goddess that we know today. The retcon portion makes this comic book issue enjoyable.
Time Masters Vanishing Point #4
I know what you’re going to say. You think that this story arc should have been titled Bonding Time with Rip Hunter and Booster Gold. Perhaps, somewhere in the series you even thought that Time Masters Vanishing Point is half-baked—no offense to Dan Jurgens—and has nothing to do at all with finding Batman who’s been lost in the time stream. But if you can only hang on to this issue for a bit longer, you’ll see the error of dismissing the whole series as rubbish.
As for me, I say that this issue is the turning point of the Vanishing Point arc. There are a handful of revelations that will literally open your eyes to why Darkseid sent Batman to the past. You’re wondering why the Vanishing Point was destroyed? It’s right here in this ish. Want to know why the heroes who are trying to find the Dark Knight are themselves lost in time? Well, grab a copy now. Also, cover art by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund is very impressive. It gives me that vertigo effect…in a good kind of way. Definitely, 10-over-10.
Action Comics #893
What would happen if two megalomaniac intellectuals come face to face? In this issue, Grodd the super ape plans to eat Lex Luthor’s brain. But really, who will outsmart who? Here, we are shown how brilliant and clever Lex truly is. I can’t help but wonder if the almost comical Lex played by Gene Hackman in the 80’s can ever match the Lex presented in this Action Comics series. Rating: 9 out of 10.
Jimmy Olsen will also be in the co-feature. Although, I have to admit that I found Jimmy’s story to be a bit dragging. The part about Jimmy’s botched relationship with his girlfriend and love for the Superman video game can be wearisome. Still, I hope that the impending alien invasion will make things better next issue. Rating: 5 out of 10.
First Wave #4
So far, the only thing that keeps me hanging on to this story arc is the art by Rags Morales. Brian Azzarello is a great writer and he has done some awesome stories on Batman. This time, though, I’m afraid that First Wave is a bit too crammed with characters, what with Batman, the Spirit, Doc Savage, and the Blackhawks fighting for panels. However, in this issue, the story now goes to Hidalgo and the real adventure is set. I believe that Issue #4 is that part where all the main characters start to come together like chess pieces on the board. Here’s hoping for a great ending.
It’s no secret that Machete gets his own film to be released later this year, thanks to film producer and director Robert Rodriguez. But before you go to the movies, you owe it to yourself to first get acquainted with former Mexican Federale officer Daniel Lopez who’s now out for vengeance against the people who betrayed him. This series reveals the events that led this big deadly Mexican to bring out the blades. The art may not be that awesome, but the storyline itself is an offer you can’t refuse.
Star Wars: Blood Ties – A Tale of Jango and Boba Fett #2
“Can you shoot yourself?” That’s Jango asking another Jango. This issue shows us how ruthless Boba’s old man was. We will also witness how Jedi Mace Windu played an important part in shaping the distinctive nature of Boba Fett, the greatest bounty hunter in the entire galaxy. More than that, the story takes us deeper into the Fett clan. Is Boba really Jango’s only son? Who is Boba’s new prey and why is our bounty hunter willing to help this guy?