“Action Comics” Issue #900 Comic Book Review

“Action Comics” Issue #900
Cover by DAVID FINCH; 1:5 Variant cover A by ADAM HUGHES; 1:5 Variant cover B by ALEX ROSS
On Sale April 27, 2011
DC Comics; 96pg.; Color; $5.99 US

“Action Comics” has hit a major milestone and DC Comics pulled out all the stops with the release of Issue #900. The 96-page spectacular includes stories written by Paul Cornell, David S. Goyer, Damon Lindelof, Paul Dini, Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, and Derek Hoffman. Sounds spectacular doesn’t it? Surprisingly, what we get is a mixed bag that in my opinion should have been better.

The first adventure in “Action Comics” Issue #900 is the finale of “The Black Ring” entitled “Reign of Doomsday.” This story which was written by Paul Cornell and drawn by Pete Woods wraps up the extremely entertaining Luthor-centered arc with an explosive confrontation between Superman and Lex. There are also appearances by Supergirl, Superboy, Cyborg-Superman, Doomsday, and others. This portion of the comic is a major highlight of the issue.

The second story is a short entitled “Life Support” that is an emotional 10-page read from writer Damon Lindelof. It is beautifully drawn by Ryan Sook. This tale will definitely leave you pondering. What a sad but touching little feature.

Next, writer Paul Dini gives us a 3-page lesson in kindness and compassion through the use of metaphysical mumbo-jumbo in “Autobiography.” This “existential” riff-raff is communicated to us through a conversation that a younger looking Superman is having with a purple hippopotamus that conveniently resembles Buddha. I value the message but it could have been delivered in a way that was a bit more neutral and not leaning quite so heavily in the direction of new age mysticism. The combined efforts of RB Silva, Rob Lean, and Java Tartaglia on the art were adequate but not my favorite by any means.

“Friday Night in the 21st Century” is a humorous little story that has Lois setting up a party for the Man of Steel who needs a night off from patrolling Metropolis. This was scripted and drawn for “Action Comics” Issue #900 by Geoff Johns and Gray Frank. Superman and Clark Kent resemble Christopher Reeve as is usual with Johns’ Man of Steel art that I’ve seen.

David S. Goyer gives us a story he wrote entitled “The Incident.” There’s been a lot of buzz about this little entry into “Action Comics” Issue #900. I can understand the Man of Steel wanting to be a citizen of the whole world, but was it really necessary for Goyer to use bold lettering when Superman states he’s “RENOUNCING MY U.S. CITIZENSHIP.” It just seems kind of over-the-top and a slight slap in the face to the country that Goyer calls home. Let’s not forget where Clark Kent/Superman was raised up to be the great man he has become. On a more positive note, I did enjoy Miguel Sepulveda’s art.

I think the biggest letdown in “Action Comics” Issue #900 is Richard Donner and Derek Hoffman’s “Only Human.” The concept of doing a comic in the form of a storyboard was promising enough. The problem isn’t in the actual art but in an extremely weak plot that centers on Superman battling another egotistical guy in a power-suit. I just sat reading this thinking to myself, “this is the best idea the guy that directed ”¹…”Superman the Movie’ could come up with?”

The two-page spread that Brian Stelfreeze drew for “Action Comics” Issue #900 entitled “The Evolution of the Man of Tomorrow” is excellent. He starts with the 1930’s version of Clark Kent pulling his shirt open to reveal the old-school classic “S” symbol and then moves through the character’s different looks and stages over the past several years. We even get the mullet-sporting version of the Man of Steel that so many fans detest. Interestingly, much to David S. Goyer’s dismay I would imagine, we have Superman holding an American flag proudly as it waves in the breeze of Metropolis.

I’m not even a big Superman fan but was really excited about “Action Comics” Issue #900. The caliber of artists and writers that they were showcasing as contributors to this special comic had me practically beside myself in anticipation. The end result didn’t live up to my apparently way too high expectations.

You can buy “Action Comics” Issue #900 right here.

You can buy “Action Comics” Issue #900 (Alex Ross Cover variant) right here.

You can buy “Action Comics” Issue #900 (Adam Hughes Cover variant) right here.