Well, here it is – the last issue of Action Comics penned by the fantastic Grant Morrison.
It was stated that Grant had signed on for six issues of the book – we ended up with three times that number – with extra sized issues at the end, to boot!
Let’s go page by page, and see what this last bit of magic entails:
First, the covers – nice pieces of work by Rags and by Paolo Rivera.
Page one – Brad Anderson really gives us a planet Earth that seems to be suspended in the heavens. Then we get an inset of Metropolis, followed by a shot of a giant Luthor battle suit attacking Super Doomsday – Lex still has a sweet spot for Kal El, as he demands that no one gets to kill Superman but him.
Page two – oops. That plan didn’t work out too well, did it, Lex?
Page three – Krypto is still chained by kryptonite, and SD finds the battlesuit is empty. What?!? Luthor’s still in his cell, controlling the suit via Lex-telepathy circuits (you know he calls them that).
Pages four and five are a double-page spread featuring the book’s title – Superman’s Last Stand – all of the creators’ names are reversed. Vyndktvx sics the Superman Revenge Squad on Clark.
Grant – I’d love a run-down of this current SRS – I know Drekken, Susie, Nimrod and Dr. Xa-Du, but I’m unsure of the rest.
Page six – Supes is having a super-hallucination, courtesy of the SRS-Red chick. He now has a lion’s head and paws, and sees Vyndktvx everywhere, including seven shadow demons.
Page seven is spent taunting Superman, but also gives Superman the genesis of an idea to beat the devil.
Page eight brings us back to the hospital room where Mxyzptlk lays dying, surrounded by Jimmy, Lois and the three core members of the Legion of Super Heroes. I mentioned once before that I don’t feel much for the LoSH, but when Grant writes them, it seems to work out. But who’s that approaching?
We are introduced to Ferlin Nyxly on page nine, who comes in raging about his parenting. Boy, is he in for a rude awakening.
Page ten – the magic trick begins to reveal itself.
Page eleven hits you right in the face – like a custard pie. Wow.
Page twelve is one I’m going to read over and over…there’s some hidden gems in there that I haven’t gotten yet.
Susie isn’t part of the SRS attack on page thirteen – she’s standing aside, when Adam Blake returns. Only Adam isn’t alone…
…because on page fourteen, we are greeted with the return of The Wanderers! I had that first issue – Dave Hoover art, of course. What concept can’t Grant make cool?
Page fifteen sees Krypto released and healed from his poisoning – and what a testament to the love of a dog for his best friend – “he’ll grow a new one”. The Wanderers begin dispatching the SRS easily.
Blake dispatches Dr. Xa-Du on page sixteen. The SRS-Red chick is beheaded, while Drekken switches sides and joins the Wanderers. Now begins the work to defeat Vyndktvx.
Page seventeen brings us our last look at Ferlin, and we get to see Vyndktvx starting to feel the desperation – he pleads for his minions to deliver, despite his failure to deliver on his end of the deal. He thinks he has Clark on the ropes – but this is Superman we’re talking about.
Page eighteen shows that even magic has to follow rules, and there is one basic rule – for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Vyndktvx’s actions creates Superman’s reaction. It’s just that simple. Vyndktvx erred by connecting Superman to every living mind on Earth…
…and Clark’s will is anchored and strengthened on page nineteen by The Wanderers. Fifth-dimension character stories have been done before, and they mostly seemed to entail the ease at which 5-D beings can traverse our dimension, but here, Grant examines that, and to interfere in the life of a 3-D being entails being mired in everything a 3-D being experiences, and to a 5-D being, it’s akin to walking into a spider’s web, or flypaper, as mentioned by Blake.
Page twenty – Clark works his magic trick on Vyndktvx. Now for some of the fun stuff I saw in this issue – thank you, Rags, for the revelation. If you didn’t see it, I won’t spoil it.
Page twenty-one shows that Clark’s still got it. Of course, Vyndktvx is a sore loser, isn’t he? He sets his SD shell to blow up…
…leaving Clark to pull that trick we first saw in Amazing Spider-Man #33, where Peter lifts that amazing weight and frees himself to save Aunt May – what we see on page twenty-two is what we should have seen at the end of Superman Returns.
Page twenty-three – Vyndktvx is still nursing that hand from AC #14 – ouchie! What’s worse, his SD bomb is going, going…gone.
Pages twenty-four and twenty-five are the end and the beginning of the fairy tale.
We are presented with the beginning of the end of Krypton on page twenty-six.
Here’s where I once again praise the genius of Grant Morrison. On page twenty-seven, we see Superman Red and Superman Blue. Without making it screamingly obvious, he has Brad Walker illustrate the emotion of Superman Red, while showing the cold logic of Superman Blue. And yet, the two mirror each other in every other way. Excellent stuff. This panel alone is why I read comics. of course, Grant isn’t satisfied with just that – Miss Nyxly is alive! But is Superman?
Page twenty-eight show the lasting impression Superman has on everyone.
Page twenty-nine has Susie back with Aunt Lois, and Superman’s best pal is also Clark Kent’s best pal. Talk about wishing on a falling star.
Page thirty – “You should see the other guy.”
Well, we won’t, for at least ninety days, right, Grant?
I’m gonna miss you, brother. Up, up and away!