Thursday, April 22, 2010

Comic Book Review: Action Comics #888

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

With Nightwing trapped yet again in the Phantom Zone by the deceptive Jax-Ur, and Flamebird’s emotions at their breaking point, the clone of Rao walks closer and closer to achieving ultimate power.  Flamebird must do all she can to distract Jax-Ur while the JSA fight off the oncoming nuclear onslaught of the Pakistan and Indian military.

Also, Can Nightwing come to terms with who he really is and once and for all defeat Vohc-The-Breaker?

My Thoughts
Action Comics, in these last few months, has mustered itself up as being the mythological archetype for the modern comic book era.  The story surrounding Nightwing and Flamebird has developed so much in such a short amount of time that I wonder if this story was planned out years ago, waiting for the right moment to rise up.  While the comic itself isn’t the best I’ve read, it takes quite a few strides in further developing the story of the two Kryptonian legends.

The story in and of itself has its good points and low points.  The book’s setting goes from being on Earth, to the Phantom Zone.  While on Earth, Flamebird partakes in a knuckle bearing knock down with Jax-Ur…or Vohc-The-Breaker, I’m never quite sure what to call him.  While she does this, the two Eastern military forces armed themselves to take out the super-sized cloned God of a former planet Krypton, which was apparently his plan all along.  This plot development, while still used well, isn’t necessarily the strongest literary approach.  Personally I find it hard to swallow and a bit contrived (Boy, I love that word don’t I?!?) that Rao, in that short amount of time figure out that the missiles, after crashing onto the very spot he stands, would allow him enough power to grow an exponential amount.  It works for the story, but in and of itself is a bit unrealistic.

Speaking of unrealistic plots, how was that second trip to the Phantom Zone for our little Nightwing?  It was one of the most interesting and creatively done sequences I’ve ever seen in comics.  What I couldn’t tell was if Chris was actually talking with himself, or if the Nightwing and Chris somehow became two completely separate entities entirely.  The verbal exchange between the two was spot on perfect, allowing Chris time to realize who he really was deep down inside.
Rating: 7

The thematic scale is off the charts for me with this issue.  I’m not entirely sure where to start.  The moment Chris throws away the only piece of glass showing him the outside world as if all hope is lost, The amount of triumph that fills the pages as Wonder Woman flies in and breaks open Rao’s eye, this issue is almost too jammed packed to list everything that was good in one review.  But the theme that Greg Rucka wanted in the forefront of our minds was everything surrounding Nightwing and the Phantom Zone.

I think this was a much needed turn of events in the Nightwing and Flamebird mythos.  I wasn’t even sure if Chris was THE Nightwing or not, but the last page obliterated any doubts I might have had. 
Rating: 10

Perez really outdid himself here.  The toggle from the scenes on Earth and the Phantom Zone were incredibly well contrasted, one portraying Perez’s typical style we see from week to week, the other presenting a much more painted look.  I sometimes forget the array of emotional impacts that using many shades of only one or two colors that can be presented in a piece of art.  The image of the Nightwing presenting itself to Chris was horrifically gorgeous.  The use of the dark, misty light creates such a deep emotional impact that both mystifies and horrifies. 

The cover could very well be one of the best covers of the year.  The feeling of heat radiates all throughout it as the three heroes displayed honestly look as if they can’t push through the flames shooting at them.  And this cover also achieves some incredible artistry by only using many shades of one color.
Rating: 10

While not the greatest piece of work on the literary side, overall this book achieved some masterful work within the genre.

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Next Issue Coming April 28, 2010
ACTION COMICS ships twice in April! In issue #889, with the fate of both New Krypton and Earth weighing on their young shoulders, are Nightwing and Flamebird prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice? And in the co-feature, Captain Atom has managed to find a way back to Mirabai's world, intent on confronting the woman who made him a tool of destruction — but what stunning revelation awaits him there?

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