Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Worst of Human Nature

Action Comics #985-987 (DC, October-November 2017, $2.99-$3.99)
DC's issue numbers, just like Marvel's, have all gone to heck with the recent rash of reboots and renumbering (New 52, Rebirth, etc.). Not long ago, however, select titles—including Action Comics—have returned to their original numbering as they approach #1000. Personally, I think that's a good thing. Regardless of whether a publisher frequently reboots or renumbers, I encourage all publishers to keep track of and make explicit the ongoing whole number of a title. Or, be more honest about volume numbers and keep that apace with the reboots. Keeping track of titles based on year of reboot is confusing and unnecessary.

Written by Rob Williams (#985-986) and Dan Jurgens (#987) and drawn by Guillem March (#985-986) and Viktor Bogdanovic (#987), these three issues include parts of two story arcs: "Only Human" and "The Oz Effect." In "Only Human," around the world, people and animals are being controlled by the Machinist using technology appropriated from Lexcorp. The militarized elephants and tigers are a fun concept, as is the combat between a power-suited (Apokoliptan tech!) Lex Luther—under the thrall of the Machinist—and Supes.

#987, then, with its unnecessary lenticular cover—can we please stop with the lenticular covers?—apparently draws to a head an ongoing plot thread that I'm just now exposed to: Mr. Oz. Having missed the teasers and build up, I don't want to give too much away, so suffice to say that Mr. Oz is a mysterious costumed figure wielding a scythe of sorts who seems intent on drawing out the worst of human nature in an attempt to persuade Superman that the human race isn't worth protecting. This issue reveals who Mr. Oz actually is, and if you read any of the comics leading up to this, you might be shocked or surprised. Personally, I'm confused and intrigued, so I look forward to next issue's secret origin.

It's quite fun to see Hallie Bulleit, Bill Florio, Mikey Erg, and other members of the house band for The Chris Gethard Show in ads for the TruTV series. The faux vintage covers featuring Harley Quinn to celebrate 25 years of that character is nice work by Ryan Sook. But a crossover series featuring Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy meeting Archie Comics's Betty and Veronica? Whoah.

Availability: Action Comics #985, 986, and 987 have yet to be collected. (You can buy them online or as back issues, however.) Mr. Oz's appearance in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 has been collected in Rebirth Omnibus, Vol. 1.

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