Action Comics #876 Review

The Revolution was unimpressed with Rucka’s debut issue on Action Comics. It was a fairly average read that failed to give the reader anything other than quite an ordinary story. My hopes for this title being a gripping read during Superman’s absence are quickly fading. Still, let’s hope for the best and see if Rucka can rebound with a strong read in Action Comics #876. Let’s go ahead and do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils: Eddy Barrows and Sidney Teles
Inks: Ruy Jose and Julio Ferreira

Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Ursa about to shoot Thara. Ursa engages in some standard issue melodramatic villain inner monologue. Ursa goes on about how her favorite part of her job is killing. That Zod loves the planning and the tactical aspect of war. Ursa just loves killing. Ursa then kicks Thara. Ursa’s other favorite part of killing is inducing fear. Ursa wants Thara frozen with fear before Ursa kills her.

Chris starts to wake up. Ursa says that it is nice to see Lor-Zod again. Chris says that his name is Christopher and not Lor-Zod. Ursa kicks Chris in the face and is disgusted at how weak he is. Ursa then flies after Thara.

Ursa thinks how fear can steal a person’s control and reason. Ursa calls out how she thinks of Thara’s parents often. Ursa yells that Thara’s father begged and that Thara’s mother reached out for Thara. Ursa continues that she does not know why Thara did not save her parents. Ursa calls Thara a coward.

Ursa thinks how you just have to push the right buttons and fear and anger will give Thara away. Ursa then spots where Thara is hiding. Thara yells “Liar!” and angrily attacks Ursa. Ursa kicks Thara’s ass. Ursa thinks how control, death and pain are all wonderful, too. (Okay, we get it. Ursa is “mwuh-ha-ha-ha” level evil. If she had a handlebar moustache she would be twisting it right now.)

Ursa whips out a knife and proceeds to slice and dice Thara with the knife. Ursa then reveals that her knife’s edge is frangible. (That is a great S.A.T. word.) That the knife leaves fragments behind every time Ursa cuts Thara. Ursa wonders what the Kryptonite inside of Thara is doing to her right now.

Thara resumes her attack and basically guts Thara like a fish. Thara collapses in a pool of blood. Christopher comes streaking onto the scene and punches Ursa.

Ursa is angry that Lor-Zod hit his own mother. Ursa proceeds to beat the crap out of Christopher. Ursa says that Christopher is not even a true Kryptonian. That Christopher is a phantom zone mutant with a fraction of a real Kryptonian’s powers.

Christopher agrees with Ursa but adds that his time in the Phantom Zone allowed him to learn other powers that Kryptonians do not have. Christopher uses his telekinetic abilities to shatter Ursa’s goggles. Without them her damaged eyes are in great pain.

Christopher also points out that he is not vulnerable to Kryptonite like a Kryptonian is. We see Christopher holding Ursa’s Kryptonite knife. Ursa begs for Christopher to not stab her with the knife.

Thara mumbles that Ursa is the enemy and for Chris to kill Ursa or else Ursa will never stop following them. Chris drops the knife and says “Superman wouldn’t.” Thara responds “Superman isn’t here.” Thara then collapses unconscious. Chris grabs Thara and says “All the more reason.”

Ursa grabs the Kryptonite knife and yells that Lor-Zod is weak and useless. Chris flies off with Thara in his arms. Ursa chases them. Chris breaks part of the crystalline structure of the Fortress of Solitude. Part of the Fortress collapses and crushes Ursa. All we see is Ursa’s hand sticking out of the rubble.

We cut to the Daily Planet where Jimmy informs Lois that he could not find a picture of David Carter that was less than two years old. Jimmy talks about the Government’s Project 7734 and that those numbers backwards spell “hell.” Lois mentions how her father loves word games and things like that. Lois then gets a strange look on her face.

We shift to Lois back at her penthouse. Lois calls her sister and gets her voicemail. Lois tells her sister to call her. That they need to talk about their dad. Suddenly, a red and blue blur enters the room. Lois smiles and says that she was not expecting a visit from “him” so soon. Lois turns around and is stunned and says “You’re not Superman.”

We see Chris holding a bloody and dying Thara. Chris says “Hello, Mom.” End of issue.

The Good: Action Comics #876 was another pedestrian read. Still, there were a couple of positive aspects to this issue. Rucka definitely doles out tons of action in this issue. Action Comics #876 is basically just one big drawn out brawl. This is a fast paced issue that should please some action fans.

Rucka did shed a bit more light on Chris’ powers. We learned that Chris being a Phantom Zone mutant means he is not as strong as a Kryptonian. And we learned that Chris’ non-Kryptonian powers stem from his time in the Phantom Zone.

Chris is actually not that bad of a character. Yes, his rapid age growth problem is not that interesting and is a re-hash of what we just finished up with on The Flash concerning Wally’s kids. Still, I like the general honorable nature of Chris and his powers are interesting. I hope that Rucka has something more in store for Chris getting killed and providing even more “drama” for Superman’s character.

The plotline that interests me the most is the one involving Lois and her father. It should be quite entertaining once Lois realizes that her father is still alive.

Eddy Barrows, Sidney Teles, Ruy Jose and Julio Ferreira all do a nice job with the artwork in this issue. Normally, I dislike artwork by committee. However, the four artists in this issue do a fine job blending their styles together so that this issue has a nice consistent look. The artists do a great job delivering dynamic fight scenes and are able to inject plenty of emotion into the character’s facial expressions.

The Bad: Action Comics #876 is a generic read that smacks of an editorial dictated story. Rucka has utterly failed to impress me with his work on this title. I like Rucka and he is great when writing crime stories. Rucka’s talent really shines when dealing with urban heroes and street crime dramas or with a blacktops title like Checkmate.

Unfortunately, with a traditional super hero title, Rucka is simply giving the reader an unoriginal and uninspired story. It also does not seem that Rucka’s heart is in this title. Action Comics #876 read as if Rucka put forth very little effort.

Action Comics #876 was a thin read. The new direction of Action Comics is lacking in substance and I am finding it difficult to get excited about the new direction of this title. The plotting is average. Rucka has not given the reader that many plotlines. And the few plotlines that we do have on this title are not deep or intriguing. For the most part, Action Comics #876 reads like pure filler as it appears that Rucka is simply stalling for time and trying to stretch out this shallow story.

Rucka gives the reader a heaping helping of standard issue comic book clich├ęs. Dialogue is painfully common. Ursa’s inner monologue was completely unimpressive. All Rucka gave the reader was a canned super villain monologue that we have read countless times before. Ursa was delivering such hackneyed lines. There was nothing remotely original or interesting in Ursa’s running monologue that dominated this issue.

The character work continues to be largely absent. Chris and Thara are as bland as possible. Neither exhibit much personality and they both speak in neutral voices. Rucka delivers a one-dimensional version of Ursa. And Ursa also comes across too over the top. Ursa seems a bit goofy with how Dick Dastardly evil Rucka makes her. And this only served to take the reader out of the story.

Overall: Action Comics #876 was another unimpressive read. So far, this story has been quite ordinary. I would only recommend Action Comics #876 to action fans and to readers to prefer very traditional, straight forward and common super hero stories. For everyone else, I would recommend that you save your money and spend it on some of the other titles on the market that are offering more original and creative stories than what DC is giving us on Action Comics.

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  1. Okay, I’ll say it: with Kryptonian powers but at a lower level, and telekinesis or something close to it, how does this help set Chris apart from Conner? Okay, he ages in spurts. That will be cured, and probably reversed, or he won’t be around much longer, anyway.

    I do think a lot of people will be happy with the level of action in Action, and with Psycho-Ursa, but so far this risks being a missed opportunity to give Chris and Thara a reason to be in the DCU. Next issue, and their interaction with Lois, could totally turn that around, but if that doesn’t happen then these two are disposble characters. Once this roller coaster ride is over, they will be, too.

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