In the DC Universe, where there’s time-travel, there’s Booster Gold. But will even that save the Man Of Steel from a paradox that ends everything he knows?
I wouldn’t bet the rent… Your Major Spoilers review of Action Comics #995 awaits!
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciler: Brett Booth
Inker: Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse
Editor: Paul Kaminsky
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Action Comics: “Time is broken, and Superman and Booster Gold are in over their heads trying to repair it! Meanwhile, Lois Lane confronts her estranged father—and Sam Lane now stands face to face with his grandson Jon for the first time. As Clark struggles to reconcile the truth of his own father, can Lois Lane do the same?”
I’M ALWAYS LEERY WHEN JURGENS WRITES BOOSTER GOLD
It’s weird to say that I love Booster Gold and I have since 1986, but in modern time I have a problem with seeing him written by his creator. Part of it is the way Jurgens makes EVERYTHING about Booster’s legacy, even when the story should be about something else, and this issue suffers from a bad case of drop-everything-let’s-talk-about-my-character-itis. Stuck in 25th century Gotham City, Superman and Booster are trying to seek out the truth about Jor-El’s seeming survival, but quickly get mired in the local troubles. Booster is taken into custody and chucked in jail with his no-good father, while Skeets and Superman have a deep conversation about what a great guy Michael Jon Carter really is. It’s set up as a big deal moment that Superman has to avoid detection to save the Gold-meister, but the payoff is… Superman just walks into the jail, smacks Daddy Booster in the skull and walks out. Lois Lane’s sub-plot, tracking down HER father is given the tiniest bit of space to grow, with Jon Kent sneaking onto a cargo plan after her as they seek the truth about General Sam Lane.
A GOOD INKER FOR BOOTH
The art of Brett Booth is on my personal “Do Not Get It” list, and this issue continues to support that with tall, slim, spindly necks on both Superman and Booster, characters who are traditionally drawn like athletes. Rapmund’s inking helps a lot in these pages, but only Jon Kent comes out looking consistently good (and even he seems to be an older, gawky adolescent) in these pages. The setting of future Gotham is sketchy at best, and though much of the issue seems to take place on the rooftops of the city, the perspectives are (intentionally?) chosen to never show us much of the actual cityscape, which could be an artist accepting his limitations. Sadly, it makes it difficult to accept that we’re not just in another corner of the Daily Planet or modern Metropolis, and the issue suffers as a result. The implementation of the issue’s themes is heavy-handed and repetitive, as well, especially a line from Superman about not knowing how he would feel if something ever happened to Jon, making it feel like we’re building to the death of Superboy, which would be a real shame if followed through on.
THE BOTTOM LINE: DOESN’T QUITE COME TOGETHER
In short, this issue is muddled and not particularly satisfying for me, with Booth’s ill-fitting art combining with a sudden focus on the guest-star and less-than-subtle plotting to make things just sort of okay. Action Comics #995 even features a panel homaging the iconic Jim Lee “stand-on-the-rooftops-and-scan-my-city-protectively” Superman cover which just reminds the reader of how much better this book would look with different pencils, leaving us with 2 out of 5 stars overall. My worries about what happens in the upcoming giant anniversary issue aside, I’m hoping that it will lead to a shakeup in the Superman offices and new takes and creative teams, as this one just isn’t my bag…