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Action Comics #996 Review

Superman faces his youngest villain yet.

We are counting down to the epic Action Comics #1,000 which will not only feature a new costume design by Jim Lee, but also a ton of creators and 300+ pages! We’re not there yet though and it may seem far off due to Superman being trapped in time. This issue continues his time travelling adventure with Booster Gold.

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So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

“BOOSTER SHOT” part four! Superman and Booster Gold are out of time, and they’ve found themselves marooned on a strange planet sometime in the future. So why does this planet’s infrastructure look…Kryptonian? The answer shakes the Man of Steel to the core as the ruler of this planet reveals himself…the son of Zod reigns supreme!

Why does this matter?

This story is all about Superman figuring out if Mr. Oz is really his father. That means Supes and Booster Gold are flashing through the timestream (and possible futures), always a little bit further from the truth.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Lois finally gets more page time!

Writer Dan Jurgens started this story arc drawing too, but now he has the help of Will Conrad on his side. Conrad does a good job with the muscles on supes and the futuristic look of Eradicators and the like. Colors by Ivan Nunes allow for a more lifelike looking skin on the characters. Together they do well to show off Superman’s strength as he tears apart robots with ease.

This issue mimics the form of the last few, which is to open with Superman and Booster Gold confused as to where they are. A threat arrives, they take it out, and then the hijinks gets crazy with long lost parents, rivals, and the like popping up. This issue generally follows that format, though it does dig into Lois’ journey to find her own father. This issue gives readers the most Lois yet in the story arc, with her kicking ass and pulling off the covert spy stuff well. That’s very much a good thing as it has tiptoed around her story with very little development up until now.

The big takeaway for fans will be the appearance of Zod’s family. I’ll say no more, but if you’ve been reading Action Comics you’ll know Zod buggered off with his wife and kid looking for revenge. Jurgens drops a bomb on Superman that ends up being quite a cliffhanger.

That ain’t good.

It can’t be perfect can it?

The formula is getting quite repetitive at this point when it comes to Booster Gold and Superman. If you’re reading this to see some slick looking action you’ll enjoy this, but for the most part the cliffhanger is the only reveal worth reading. Lois gets to kick butt and her story does progress, but its still moving so slowly you’ll be indifferent on where she ends up. It’s clear they’re biding their time to get to issue #1,000 and stretching this out.

Is It Good?

This issue has some badass fight scenes and a cliffhanger that’ll knock you in the teeth, but damn is it getting predictable. It’s also slow moving. We’re on part 4 of a story arc that has barely given us any answers.

Is it good?
Come for the action and cliffhanger, but the rest is moving so slowly you could easily skip this.
Sharp art with big Superman-strength action
The cliffhanger is a rather big surprise
Lois Lane's story finally progresses a smidge
The story is getting rather predictable following the same time travel formula
While we get more Lois scenes than ever her story is barely moving forward...again!

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