Action Comics begins its next 900 issues of action by revisiting several characters from one of the greatest Superman stories of all time in “Reign of The Doomsdays Part 7.” This issue is a veritable who’s who of the super-powered Superman Family members. They’re all here: Superman, Superboy, Supergirl, Steel, The Eradicator (Where was he during “New Krypton?”), Cyborg Superman, and Supergirl. Instead of just one Doomsday though, there are four. The real new character though, dubbed The Doomslayer, seems to be at the helm of all the mayhem, and there’s mayhem aplenty. The Doomsdays and the Superman Family are all inside the same space ship, that is in actuality a pocket universe, which is on a direct collision course with Earth. Unless, the Superman Family can stop the ship, stop The Doomsdays, and stop The Doomslayer, the Earth is sure to be destroyed. It doesn’t look as if the Justice League is going to be able to help as President Obama mentions that “we have not been able to contact the Justice League,” so Kal-El and the gang need to figure out a solution to the runaway ship and fast…and yes I was quoting the DCU version of President Obama above. Apparently he’s finally been elected to the Oval Office on the main Earth of the DCU Multiverse.
“Superman—your country needs you now!” President Obama commands before the television cameras in the White House’s press room and, before all the conservatives out there get all wound up, yes America is still Superman’s country. America is a country of the world, and Superman, since his decision to give up his US citizenship makes him a citizen of the world (which interestingly isn’t addressed in Action Comics #901—DC Comics must be saving this juicy storyline for a more opportune time), America is still be “his” country. Honestly, until the Superman as ex-American citizen thing really gets going story wise in the pages of Action Comics and Superman, there isn’t much more to say on it beyond what I said here. What’s more interesting is that the DCU has finally joined the real world by having a real President of The United States actually be the real President of The United States in the DCU. There’s been plenty of interesting storylines over the years in DCU comics regarding the Presidency of the US, not the least of which was the President Lex storyline. I wonder though how the presidential linage in the DCU goes over the past twenty years or so. Would it something like the following: Bush The First, Bill Clinton, Lex Luthor, Pete Ross, Barak Obama? Where’s Bush the Second? Oh wait, maybe there’s something metaphorical going on here story wise as well…
The real story of Action Comics #901 is its relative lack of story. It’s a sort of throwback to the aforementioned “Death of Superman” story from the early 1990s in the fact that it is full of action, adventure, sound, and fury, but really signifies nothing beyond the fact that President Obama is an official member of the DCU. Maybe Superman is due now though for a simple knock down, drag out, action-packed, fisticuffs type adventure. “New Krypton” was pretty heady, both politically and socially in the commentary department, and its immediate successor, “Grounded” started out pretty brilliantly as well, but has floundered recently since Straczynski split to deliver a cameo in Thor (2011)…I mean…work on the follow up to Superman: Earth One. Sometime seeing Superman and a super powered group of the closet thing he has to an extended family tear up some indestructible Doomsday(s) is a welcome (but hopefully short-lived) reprieve from a consistent series of deep storytelling. Artistically though, Action Comics #901 suffers from a visual inconsistency born out of the shared artistic duties of both Kenneth Rocafort and Jesus Merino. Rocafort’s style is reminiscent of Marc Silvestri’s work, but with much better anatomical proportioning. Merino is definitely more in the Jim Lee School of art. His characters, anatomy, and background detail all are reminiscent of Jim Lee’s highly original, but now highly copied, style. This isn’t a slight on Merino. His pencils are beautiful, just not very distinguishing. To me, Rocafort’s style is more interesting, especially since we haven’t seen this type of art on a Superman book in quite a while. I want to see more of it here in the pages of Action Comics.
So after 901 issues, Action Comics is still going strong and is finally Superman’s again. The Lex Luthor “Black Ring” storyline was interesting and well written, but I want to see the man who originated the book remain the protagonist of the book. As for Superman’s return to the pages of his flagship title, unfortunately there really isn’t much to get all hyped up about. We pretty much know how “Reign of The Doomsdays” is going to play out. It will be interesting to see what Cornell and Co. have in store for us in the long run, after Doomsday is defeated again.