Review: Action Comics #876

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Greg Rucka and Eddy Barrows team up to bring us an Action Comics without Superman, a risky move that, last month, offered us an excellent issue of comics as we were introduced to the concept of deadly sleeper-Kryptonians spreading xenophobic sentiment amongst humanity in an effort to start a war. We also met Thara Ak-Var and Chris Kent, the new Flamebird and Nightwing pair who are protecting Earth from Kryptonian abuse in Superman’s absence.

Yes, last issue spoke volumes for a world without Superman, but this issue falls back on weak cliche and so-so action to fill its 22-pages. Ursa, mother of Chris and one of the masterminds behind the sleepers, comes to Earth to destroy Nightwing and Flamebird before they can cause any more damage than they already have. Ursa’s internal monologue is compelling, a tightly-wound madwoman with intelligence and skill, but the conflict of the issue – Ursa beating the tar out of Thara for her betrayal until Chris shows up to save her and defeat his mother – is trite and cliche. There is some genuine emotion there, especially in the tormented Thara Ak-Var, but not enough to save the lackluster action, and not enough to redeem the issue for abandoning an interesting arc so quickly.

Eddy Barrows continues to improve. His art in Teen Titans was fairly generic, and though he has yet to come truly into a style all his own,  he is certainly getting better. He illustrates the action competently and offers a few particularly lovely panels, but ultimately, like the rest of the story, fails to distinguish in any meaningful way.  I hardly noticed on first read-through that multiple artists worked on the book – the blend is well-handled and does not distract.

Grade: C

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6 thoughts on “Review: Action Comics #876

  1. I’m skipping this status-quo. I must admit, the Gary Frank covers to the main mini (Or maxi I guess since it’s now 15 parts) are very tempting. I’ll just have to wait for Secret Origins.

  2. I loved this cover, and some of the covers for World of New Krypton. Right now, I’m reading Action, Superman, and WoNK. My feelings on Johns are already well-established, so it’s good one of us’ll be reading it, because my bile would likely be unappreciated.

  3. God, it’s been so long that I actually forgot about that. Yeah, I’ll read it. I alone will enjoy the wonderful Gary Frank art. Our site will have that event covered.

    Hey, it is our site now. We can do whatever we want!

    Oh hey, did you see that The Juan Jose Ryp thanked me for putting Black Summer on my Top Ten of 2008 list?

    How cool is that? An artist has commented on our site! How long will it be until a book takes one of our quotes for promotion?

  4. I was enjoying this until they revealed who nightwing and flamebird were. I liked it more when they seemed to be 2 rebellious teenagers following supermans lead. Lets see who superwoman turns out to be..

  5. I liked Thara Ak-Var okay, and I’m waiting to be sold on Chris. Unfortunately, this issue failed to do that, when it had some pretty big chances to wow me. Still, Action is a book I’m looking forward to for the first time… ever… so they’re doing something right.

  6. Pingback: Review: Action Comics #878 « read/RANT!

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