Quick Hitter: Comic Book Review: Action Comics #841

The Revolution is a little hesitant about Action Comics #841. Geoff Johns leaves the title and Fabian Nicieza takes Johns’ place. In my opinion that is a big downgrade. I love Johns’ writing while I have never been a fan of Nicieza. So, now I have a writer that I really enjoy is Kurt Busiek teamed up with a writer that I have never really liked in Fabian Nicieza. Hopefully, Action Comics #841 will turn out to be a good read. Let’s go to the review.

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

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: This issue starts with some robots out in deep space feeding data to an alien known as the Auctioneer. We then cut to Superman battling Carapax. During the tussle, Firestorm appears and lends Superman a helping hand in taking out Carapax. Firestorm then asks Superman if it is really him or is he a fake. Superman then flies off slightly bugged by what Firestorm said. Firestorm then takes off.

After the heroes are gone, a robot suddenly appears and starts scanning the various religious buildings and various exotic structures and artifacts that would be “interesting to customers.” The robots are all over the planet and are sending back information to the Auctioneer. We see one of the robots starts to digitally steal a church. Firestorm is in the area and chases the digital data stream that used to be the church.
We cut to Clark and Lois at the Daily Planet. Clark sees a news report about giant robots appearing all over the world. Clark quickly ducks out and heads out to Manhattan to deal with the robot there.

We cut to Manhattan and see Nightwing trying to disrupt the robot’s digital data stream. Nightwing’s effort fails. Superman then arrives on the scene. The military then appears on the scene. Superman uses the military’s communications system to talk to the President and the Joint Chiefs at the White House. The generals tell Superman that his clearance was revoked a year ago after he disappeared. And on top of that they don’t know if it is the real Superman. The generals tell Superman to stand down until further notice.

We then shift to San Francisco and see the Teen Titans dealing with a robot out there. The Titans begin to brawl with one of the robots. Superman appears in San Francisco to lend a hand to the Titans. Superman then takes out a couple of the robots.

Back in space, the Auctioneer notices that Superman has destroyed a Pacifier robot and an Aquisitioner robot. Suddenly, a Godzilla sized Auctioneer appears in San Francisco demanding to know “What’s all the fuss about done here?” End of issue.

The Good: Action Comics #841 was an average issue. Nothing terrible, but certainly nothing great. I was concerned with Fabian Niceiza being co-plotter, but since Busiek retained control of the script, I had no serious problems with the dialogue.

This issue is your standard multi-hero team up to deal with a huge alien threat from outer space. Nothing original. Nothing all that engaging or thought provoking. Nothing mysterious or suspenseful. It is simply a straight forward modern version of a silver age comic book storyline. Popcorn for the brain. And, there isn’t anything wrong with that.

The issue has plenty of action and moves at a nice pace. Plus, we get to see tons of different heroes. Busiek is a solid writer who always delivers quality dialogue. I think that this three part storyline is going to end up being a fun and action packed story arc.

Pete Woods turns in another great job with the artwork. Woods has excellent detail and it pulls the reader into the story. As always, Woods draws Lois like a middle aged soccer mom, but other than that, his art dynamic and really boosts an average storyline. I’m also a big fan of Woods’ Superman.

The Bad: This story was just average. The Auctioneer is a rather generic and uninspired villain. The entire plot line of evil robots from space trying to steal stuff from Earth for an intergalactic auction is not a compelling story. I found myself blasting quickly through this issue not really caring what was going on.

I’m also not a big fan of multi-hero story arcs. It is simply a case of too many cooks in the kitchen. Usually, the heroes guest starring are not well handled. Plus, if there are too many heroes involved then most of them end up just standing around as window dressing. Not many writers can juggle many characters and pull off a very large multi-hero story arc.

Honestly, Action Comics #841 is exactly why I never got into Superman before Busiek and Johns took over Superman after Infinite Crisis. I always viewed Superman comics as being skimpy on character development and complex and engaging storylines. Instead, they were heavy on generic or uninteresting villains involved in mindless fights with Superman where you always knew Superman would emerge victorious.

Overall: Action Comics #841 is nice mindless brain candy. If you enjoy just a quick easy read involving a silver age style storyline then you will definitely enjoy this issue. I hope that the rest of this story arc will be more engaging. What I am really looking forward to is the next story arc beginning with Action Comics #844 by Richard Donner and Geoff Johns with art provided by Adam Kubert. It should be fantastic.