Monday, March 15, 2010

Comic Book Review: Action Comics #887

Book Information
Written by Greg Rucka & Eric Trautmann
Art by Pere Perez

Nightwing and Flamebird take on one of the most powerful foes they have ever faced, the Kryptonian god Rao!  As last month’s issue took a religious and historical trip to help us prepare for the events happening in this story, we now have to watch Flamebird relive the past of loosing her loved one, Nightwing, at the hands of Jax-Ur.  Flamebird now faces the same set of decisions she was faced with centuries ago, and this time she may not have a choice.

My Thoughts
I broke my #1 rule again and read some reviews of this issue before writing my own.  I wanted to get a good idea of the general consensus of this particular comic to make sure I wasn’t regurgitating reviewer opinions.  Surprisingly enough, I found that most reviewer’s opinions of #887 were less than satisfactory.  I will not be sharing these sentiments as I found this installment of Action Comics to be quite entertaining.

I guess it’s the interest in the mythological side of comics that did it for me.  Before Nightwing and Flamebird came into the picture, Superman was always spouting Rao’s name like we do with God, as a term of surprise or awe.  But I’ve always had this desire to learn a little more about the religious history of Krypton.  So the last two issues have been like candy for me, as enjoyable as the best German chocolate bar.  However, I was confused about the god Rao as depicted in this book.  Jax-Ur claims that this is his concocted version of Rao and not the real one, yet the religious guild comes together and prepares for Rao’s return.  Is there something going on that Rucka and Trautmann are keeping secret, or was there a major oversight on their part with the writing and continuity? 

Keeping with the page-drafted narrative from last month, this issue presents Lois Lane writing a news article exposing her father, General Lane, and telling the story of Nightwing and Flamebird and their mythological importance.  While I did like the approach, it didn’t come off as well as I’m sure Rucka had intended.  I’m typically a fan of this type of narrative story telling, but this approach was a little less than satisfactory.  The writing was well done, but missing that needed edge.

One question that does ponder my mind is why these Kryptonian deities have now all of the sudden come out in the open.  Just as Nightwing and Flamebird have arisen, so has Jax-Ur, which I find very convenient. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but does make me wonder why all of the gods of Krypton are now on Earth at the same time.  And does Zod know his sleeper agent is the Builder?

The artwork certainly stays firm as the months progress, with the action scenes and exploding moments with the risen god Rao being the highlights of the book.  I’m very impressed by the incredible use of the light and shading aspects.  It’s just the right amount of flavor, not overdone or over inked.  The religious guild has always impressed me as their faceless glowing heads are blindingly gorgeous.  Overall, the art is great and worth the cover price.

One aspect that really outshines the rest of the story is how Flamebird relives her dreaded past of loosing Nightwing yet again and in almost the same way.  Nightwing is trapped in the Phantom Zone again, Jax-Ur gives Flamebird an ultimatum, Flamebird is torn apart by this, etc. etc.  It was a nice addition to the book and leaves a lot of potential next month for Flamebird in how she decides to counter Jax-Ur’s actions.

A fun issue.  If you enjoy mythological stories being applied to today’s world, this is definitely a book for you.  It has its flaws, but they are necessarily distracting flaws.

Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

Next Issue Coming April 14, 2010
ACTION COMICS ships twice in April! With Nightwing nowhere in sight, ACTION #888 finds Flamebird face-to-face with the rampaging Rao! But can she defeat him by herself? Luckily, it looks like she won't have to! Enter: Wonder Woman and the Justice Society of America! And in the co-feature, Captain Atom discovers that to complete his journey, he must first travel through the lost world of Skartaris!

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