TITLE: Action Comics #600
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
COVER DATE: May 1988
COVER PRICE: $2.50
WHAT I REMEMBER...
So this book is the official celebration of 50 years of Superman stories in Action Comics! Coincidentally enough, we have the landmark issue Superman #600 coming out this month as well. You gotta love the timing of the Randomizer when it comes to picking the books to review. The skeptics among you might actually think that this whole random thing is a gimmick. Fear not, true believer, as it's all on the up and up.
Anyway, back to the issue at hand, and we're in for a real treat. We'll look at the first story from this issue today, and included within we have three firsts here for the Random Longbox.
First, while we've reviewed books by John Byrne before, this is the first time we've looked at his Superman relaunch.
Second, this is the first time that we've been graced with the artwork of George Perez. He did do the cover to The Defenders #51 which we read sometime last year, but it was such an average looking cover that I initially didn't even realize it was drawn by Perez. Rest assured, we're gonna get the good stuff now.
Third, Wonder Woman finally makes an appearance on the blog.
And now that I think of it, we have a fourth first as well. Darkseid is the big baddie in this one, making this his first full (non-Tangent-ized) appearance at the RL.
With all of that said, let's not waste anymore time meandering around a preamble and lets just get to it.
- Story/Breakdowns: John Byrne
- Finishes: George Perez
- Letters: John Costanza
- Colors: Tom Ziuko
- Assistant Editor: Renee Witterstaetter
- Editor: Mike Carlin
Easy there Superman! It's obvious to us at least, that the lady just isn't all that into you. Unfortunately this is a powered-down post-Crisis, and he apparently left his powers of super-perception back in the silver age.
Luckily for Supes, he finally realizes that maybe Wonder Woman is not quite into the kiss as he is. She explains that she has only been in man's world for a short time, and the feelings and emotions that accompany that come with much trepidation. She acknowledges that she has thought of Superman as something more than friend, but she is going to need some time, as this is their "first date" after all.
It's encouraging to know that even Superman gets shot down on occasion, as that proves there is hope for the rest of us mere mortals.
So they agree to take it slow and easy, when Superman suggests that they go to his place. I'm sure his intentions are entirely innocent, but that doesn't necessarily seem like slow and east too me.
While they're flying to Supes' place, Hermes appears and summons Wonder Woman to Olympus as he is in grave danger.
Sure he is! It's more like Wonder Woman called him off panel and said, "Hermes, you gotta help me out here. This Superman is a real horndog! You gotta appear in front of us and pretend that there's some sort of emergency or something. Athena lost her owl, Zeus stubbed his toe, anything! Just get me outta here!"
So Wonder Woman is summoned to Olympus, but Superman is not ready to let his date slip through his fingers, and he follows her through the wormhole.
I gotta say, no one draws Greek architecture and ruins like George Perez
On Olympus, Superman and Wonder Woman are now separated as each of them gets transported to a different area. Superman is lost in the ruins, as the "up is down, left is right" nature of the place has him at a disadvantage. Wonder Woman, on the other hand, finds Hermes as he explains who has done this to him...Darkseid!
Instead of being worried that Superman and Wonder Woman have mysteriously appeared on Olympus so shortly after he has conquered it, Darkseid sees only opportunity and goes about scheming a plan to capture them as well.
Seeing as how the two heroes are separated, he sends Amazing Grace and Kalibak out to find them, masked as Wonder Woman and Superman respectively. He will take advantage of their confusion to gain the upper hand with his disguised warriors.
Since the real Superman and Wonder Woman have just spent seven pages awkwardly explaining their feelings for each other, they are not so easily fooled by the dopplegangers. It matters little to Darkseid that the deception is uncovered so easily, for that was part of his plan. He has Amazing Grace and Kalibak lead the two heroes to the same spot, so when next they meet they will destroy each other, thinking that they are still being fooled!
And here's where John Byrne and George Perez really get to show off, as they give us three beautiful pages of silent fighting with a grinning Darkseid enjoying the show.
Unfortunately for Darkseid, the player just got played. Superman and Wonder Woman could tell that they were actually fighting each other and used the slobber-knocker as a ruse to search for Darkseid's command center without him catching on.
Breach it they do, but instead of taking the fisticuffs directly to him, they clue him in to something that he has overlooked...Olympus is empty. There are no other gods here, and all he has captured is an empty rock. Conveniently enough, a Parademon captain arrives to confirm their observations.
Olympus is empty.
Realizing that the only victory left is of the scorched earth variety, Darkseid and Desaad disappear into a boom tube as Darkseid activates explosives that he has planted throughout Olympus.
No worries though, as Olympus is eternal and will not be destroyed until the gods themselves wish it to be so.
Back on earth, Superman comes to the realization that the "real" gods just play too rough for him. He is, after all, just a boy from Kansas. The two heroes decide to just be friends from here on out.
SO, WHAT DID WE LEARN...
There's really only one flaw with this issue, and that's the romantic tension between Superman and Wonder Woman. Maybe it's the fact that twenty years worth of stories with Lois and Clark married have colored my perceptions, but I don't ever remember there being a whole lot of sexual tension between Superman and Wonder Woman before.
I realize that it makes for a great vehicle with which to get Perez and Byrne together on the same story, but the fact that the whole romantic subplot gets introduced and resolved within thirty two pages just seems a little ham-handed to me.
Even with that, I still enjoyed the heck out of this issue as the real draw is seeing George Perez and John Byrne working together. These were two artists at the top of their game, telling stories with two of the most iconic heroes of all time.
With Byrne scripting and doing the breakdowns, it give the comic a fluidity that moves the story along at just the right pace. Add in George Perez, and his unparalled sense of detail and design on finishes, and you have a seriously beautiful story definitely worthy of Superman's golden anniversary.
Follow along here for the next set of stories in the celebration.
All characters and artwork reproduced are (c) DC Comics