Monday, April 27, 2015

ACTION COMICS #691 - September 1993


Secret Weapon
Credits:  Roger Stern (writer), Jackson Guice & Denis Rodier (art), Bill Oakley (letterer), Glenn Whitmore (colorist)

Summary:  Superman and Steel continue to fight against Mongul and the Cyborg’s foot soldiers.  During a break in the fighting, Superman reveals that Supergirl has been aiding them the entire time in her invisible form.  However, she’s soon separated from the others during their search for Engine City’s power supply.  Mongul declares to his personal followers that he isn’t taking orders from Cyborg Superman any longer.  He orders them to start the kryptonite-powered engine, which will destroy the Earth.  Meanwhile, Lex Luthor discovers a semi-conscious Superboy, who’s fallen in a landfill after stopping the Engine Bomb.  He’s furious that Superboy doesn’t know where Supergirl is.  Elsewhere, Eradicator absorbs the Fortress’ energy, nearly destroying it, so that he has the power to return to the fight.

Irrelevant Continuity:  Superman says he hasn’t felt this vulnerable since Mxyzptlk cancelled out his powers.  A footnote points to Superman #49.

Mom, Apple Pie, etc…:  A series of narrative captions explains that Eradicator didn’t understand the concept of humanity, of complex ways of thinking and feeling, until taking on the form of Superman.

Review:  Apparently, we needed yet another chapter of this Engine City fight.  To his credit, Roger Stern breaks up some of the monotony by throwing in Supergirl’s surprise appearance, and he’s able to portray Superman’s use of machine guns in way that doesn’t feel like gratuitous shock value.  The action isn’t necessarily bad, it just feels redundant at this point.  There are only so many pages of Superman and Steel plowing through armies of alien goons that I’m willing to tolerate.  The only real plot advancement comes from Mongul’s decision to turn on Cyborg Superman, which has been telegraphed for what feels like six months now.  The rest of the issue consists of getting the remaining cast members in place for the big finale, which would be a welcome relief right about now; however, it’s still a few issues away.  I understand that this story was inevitably going to end with all four replacement Supermen and Superman, along with Supergirl, gathered together for a big fight...but honestly, I was expecting something a bit more creative than this.

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