By Geoff Johns (story), Gary Frank (pencils), Jon Sibal (inks), Brad Anderson (colors)
I’m not the most knowledgeable Superman reader out there, but I know a retcon when I see one. And that’s exactly what Geoff Johns does with Action Comics #866. The subject matter this time is Brainiac. Written as a relentless terror from the far reaches of space, Brainiac steals entire cultures in an almost “Borg” like fashion (including a deadly attack on Krypton). But instead of assimilation, it’s a ruthless harvesting of information and societies. This is probably the first issue of Action Comics that I’ve read in about a year and the best part of it all is it was incredibly easy for me to jump aboard as a new reader.
Geoff Johns writes a fascinating story that just about anyone can pick up and read. It also serves to educate people (like me), who don’t know much about Brainiac. I’d love to see Johns do this with more of Superman’s villains and history. Sprinkled throughout this issue are touches of Superman’s life as Clark Kent. Here, we’re given some gratuitous laugh out loud moments at the Daily Planet as the newly hired Catherine Grant attempts to seduce Clark right in front of Lois with her fresh “implants”. The whole scene is masterfully handled and paced by Johns, but it’s Gary Frank who nails the scene home and will have you laughing your butt off. Indeed, Frank’s art is the catalyst that will make many new readers feel right at home with this book. His renditions of Superman/Clark and Lois are dead ringers for the late Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder. I wish all the Superman books were drawn like this.
There’s honestly nothing I can complain about in this issue as a whole with the exception that purists may not be happy with this retcon. With All Star Superman’s last issue on the horizon, I’m thrilled to know there’s another Superman book (and it’s montly!) out there that I can enjoy. If you’re a casual Superman reader or someone who’s looking for a place to jump aboard, this issue’s it. (Grade: A)
– J. Montes