Action Comics #842 Review

The Revolution thought that last issue, Action Comics #841, was rather weak. Will Action Comics #842 be able to rebound and deliver a more interesting issue? I hope so. Even though I have never really enjoyed much of Fabian Nicieza’s work, I like Busiek and I can’t imagine he’d turn in back to back weak issues. Let’s go ahead and do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Pete Woods

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: This issue starts with Superman getting in the Auctioneer’s face. The Auctioneer is delighted that he has come across such a rare find: A Kryptonian. They are evidently worth a lot. Auctioneer scans the entire planet and finds out there are THREE Kryptonians on Earth. (Woah!! That was unexpected!) Superman is also shocked and wonders who the third Kryptonian could be. The Auctioneer decides that since there are so many metahumans on Earth that he is switching plans and decides to capture them all since they are worth plenty of money. The Auctioneer’s robots begin zapping meta humans with a ray that makes the meta humans teleport away.

We cut to a massive collection facility where hundreds of meta humans are immobilized in glass cases like a massive collection of action figures. Firestorm and Nightwing decide to sneak aboard one of the Auctioneer’s robot ships and sneak aboard the Auctioneer’s mother ship. The minute they enter the mother ship, Firestorm loses his powers. Nightwing eventually discovers the massive room where all the meta humans are being held.

We cut to Superman talking to Skyrocket who is next to him. All the heroes are immobilized and can’t use their powers. Suddenly, we see the heroes in Superman’s case burst through the glass of their case. The characters that escaped with Superman are: Blue Jay, the new Aquaman, the Veteran, Skyrocket and Livewire. None of the heroes can access their super powers. They join up with Nightwing and Firestorm. Our heroes begin to bicker about who should lead the team. (This is pretty funny.) Superman and Nightwing figure out a way to hack into the Auctioneer’s system and to communicate with Earth. Their plan is a success and suddenly, our heroes are broadcast over every media outlet in the world.

Superman contacts Mr. Terrific and asks him to review the schematics of the Auctioneer’s ship and let find out what is jamming their super powers. Our heroes go to the location where the power source is that is jamming their powers. It looks like the power source in Star Wars in the Death Star. The problem is that the machinery dampening their powers is on the other side of the power core below them. That they can disrupt the power core itself but for only seven seconds before the back up source kicks in and restores it. If they don’t get past the power core then they will be incinerated. Unfortunately, it will take twenty seconds to dive from the platform to get to the past the power core. So, Superman tells Nightwing to wait no less than thirteen seconds and no more than nineteen seconds before disrupting the power core so Superman can safely pass through it. Superman says he has faith in our heroes and he dives off the platform. End of issue.

The Good: Action Comics #842 was much better than last issue. Before I pick apart this issue, let me get right to the heart of this comic book. THREE Kryptonians? Oh man! I cannot wait to learn more about this. We know about Superman and Supergirl, but now there is a third one? Just who exactly could Busiek have in store for us? This is a great plot twist and has me very curious and fired up to read more about this.

Busiek delivered a much more focused and tighter story that moved along at a nice pace. We got plenty of action and I like the collection of characters that Busiek has assembled. I’m thrilled that Busiek chose Nightwing for a role that would have been very easy and tempting to plug Batman into. This is a great way for DC to continue to build up Nightwing and molding him into a major central player in the DCU. Normally, we would see Batman engaged in this role sneaking onto the mother ship to try and free Superman and then team up and craft a plan to defeat the Auctioneer. Nightwing fits that role just as well. Plus, Nightwing needs the exposure a lot more than Batman. I hope that DC continues this trend and uses Nightwing instead of Batman for appearances like this one.

Busiek writes a great Nightwing! Dick is full of confidence and flashes his crafty and sneaky mind. DC, please put Busiek on Nightwing! This is the version of Dick Grayson that I wish we would get over in his own title.

The scene with the giant cases holding the hundreds of meta humans like a massive action figure collection was pretty cool. It was a neat poke at the obsessive collectors that are out there that feel compelled to amass these incredible collections of either toys, cards or comics.

The rest of the characters on this ragtag team are some odd and interesting choices. Blue_Jay, the Veteran, Livewire and Skyrocket. I love it. This is vintage Busiek. Take some obscure characters and then make them interesting. The bickering between these characters as to who should be the leader was hilarious! Blue Jay was cracking me up about how he lead the Justifiers and “save four worlds at once, dammit.” He also mentions how he has the most experience at being a leader prompting Livewire to respond “Aren’t they all dead?” Good stuff.

Livewire’s character was an entertaining and disruptive force in this issue. Her slapping Nightwing’s butt was amusing. Nightwing’s reaction was funny. Knowing Dick, he’ll probably bed Livewire after this mission is over.

The dialogue was well crafted and there was plenty of humor. The chemistry between our rag tag team was very well done and made for some entertaining reading. Action Comics #842 was a fun issue that delivered a silver age style story with a modern twist. Very well done.

This series is basically just a three issue filler until Donner and Johns comes aboard and handles the next big story arc on this title. Usually, these filler stories are pretty lousy. Luckily, this filler story arc is definitely the exception to that rule.

Pete Woods did a nice job with the artwork. It wasn’t anything incredible, but it was very solid and well done.

The Bad: I have no complaints. This was an enjoyable issue.

Overall: Action Comics #842 was a big improvement over the last issue. We got treated with a fun issue. This comic is nothing heavy or serious. It isn’t trying to be deep or political. It is just delivering some straight up action and adventure with plenty of humor. It seems like there isn’t much of that in comics anymore so this issue is a refreshing change of pace from what you get with most titles on the market. If you are looking for that type of change of pace, then this comic book will appeal to you.


  1. Auctioneer scans the entire planet and finds out there are THREE Kryptonians on Earth. (Woah!! That was unexpected!)

    “Kneel before Zod!” 🙂

    Well, okay, that’s just an out-of-left-field guess based on a rumor I heard that Busiek wanted to bring back General Zod. But it would be cool if Zod showed up. I know that Superman executed Zod years ago, but that guy was from the Pocket Universe. Which means there could have been a Zod from the regular universe version of Krypton, as well.

  2. 3 Kryptonians? Interesting stuff, I was excited when I read that in the comic. I wonder if that is a lead in for a future Busiek story on the Superman title or something for when Johns and Donner take over Action in a couple months.

  3. Remember when superman was the LAST son of krypton? It’s kind of hard to be a unique hero if some write is always digging up a long laost cousin of something. Personally, I liked how the DCAU handled it, with supergirl being from a sister planet. Works the same, and makes both of them unique. I’m just waiting until they reintroduce Beppo the Super-Monkey. I don’t know, I’m old school. I miss when having powers made you special. Most likly,in a few years, they’ll have some sort of house of M deal to get tird of all the extra capes.

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