Tag Archives: Joe Kelly

Action 836 – the original Superman lives the post-Crisis life

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Action 836 (April 2006) is part of a three-part story running through the Superman books this month, a crossover storyline with Infinite Crisis, that pits Superman against the original, Golden Age version of the character.  Joe Kelly scripts, with another big line-up of artists: Dan Jurgens, Kevin Conrad, Dick Giordano, Jose Marzan Jr, Ed Benes, Ian Churchill, Norm Rapmund, Andy Lanning, Phil Jimenez, Thomas Derenick, Drew Geraci, Renato Guedes, Lee Bermejo and Doug Mahnke.

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Continuing from the pages of Superman, the two variations of the same character fight, but also merge, and in this middle chapter, the original Superman lives the life of the post-Crisis one.

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When the story replays the first meeting between Superman and Batman, from the Man of Steel miniseries, this Superman calls Batman on his lie right away, and shows an openness and trust that gets Batman on his side right from the start. And with Batman at his side, Luthor’s kryptonite ring is no threat.  Batman steals it right after Luthor first uses it.

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The Golden Age Superman is amazed at how similar things are with Lois.  The first meeting sparking his feelings, her brief rage when she learns his identity, but the love that can never be destroyed.

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When it comes to the death of Superman, the battle with Doomsday, Superman does not die.  Of course he doesn’t.  No one had a chance to kill the hero through the 30s, 40s and 50s.

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But as the story progresses, it gets much darker.  When it gets up to the rape of Sue Dibny by Dr. Light, and the Justice League’s decision to wipe his mind, Superman steps in with another solution – the Phantom Zone.

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Superman becomes increasingly totalitarian, and winds up leaving the League, and forming the Elite, along with Batman, Hawkman, Guy Gardner, Green Arrow and Manchester Black.

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The story concludes in the next issue of Adventures of Superman, but the issues ends with Jimmy Olsen getting hit by the Infinite Crisis wave, as we see different versions of him.

Action 813 – Lyla Lerrol in Metropolis, and a broken promise to a child

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Godfall crosses the halfway point in Action 813 (May 2004), as Kelly, Turner, Caldwell and Gorder have all the illusions wiped away.

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Powerless and framed for murder, Superman has to escape from a Kandor that hates him, and specifically from Preus, a police officer determined to catch him.

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Lyla Lerrol has made it out, and arrived in Metropolis.  She is disappointed that she is not worshipped by the masses the way she expected Superman was.  She heads to the Daily Planet, and confronts Lois Lane, and tells her that Superman is dead.

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Superman, and a few of his Kandorian allies, make it out of the bottle.  But the Kandorians remain full-sized, for reasons he does not understand.

The story continues in the next issue of Adventures of Superman.

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Austen, Reis and Campos have a heart-breaking back-up story, about a boy rescued by Superman during the Our Worlds at War storyline.  He tells the boy they will search for his father.

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The boy interprets this as Superman promising to find his father, and that all will be well.  It’s disturbing to see the hopeful child in the midst of tragedy.

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Eventually, the boy finds his father, dead.  He is upset beyond belief, taken to an ambulance and sedated.  And a figure comes to see him, a person who hugely resembles Gog, from the Kingdom Come miniseries.

Action 812, Kal-El is married and living on Krypton, and Lana Lang’s true love

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Despite having a farewell issue two months earlier, Joe Kelly returns to script, along with Michael Turner, on the astounding art by Talent Caldwell and Jason Gorder.  Godfall begins in Action 812 (April 2004), a six-part story that retains the art team as it jumps books for the next couple of months.

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The story catches up with Superman, missing these last couple of months.  He is living on Krypton as Kal-El, married to Lyla (after Lyla Lerrol, from pre-Crisis Superman), and they have a son.  He never was Superman.  Krypton never exploded.

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But all is not well in this visually stunning reality.  The El family are considered dangerous, and he is challenged by people who yell “free Krypton!”

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In danger, Kal instinctively uses heat vision.  While it gets him out of trouble, it confuses him hugely.  What is going on?

The story continues in the next issue of Adventures of Superman.

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Chuck Austin, Ivan Reis and Marc Campos, who will be the creative team after Godfall concludes, have a back-up story centring on Lana Lang, as she discusses her life, and her relationship with Clark, with the Kents.

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It’s a low key piece, but a good one.  And she answers the question that the stories have skirted around.  Yes, she is divorcing Pete because Clark is the only man she has ever loved.

Action 810 – a world of letters

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Joe Kelly’s run on Action Comics comes to an end with issue 810 (Feb. 04), and far too many artists join him in saying goodbye.  Ferry, Lopez, Bullock, Rouleau, Alquiza, Mendoza and Smith have all worked on his stories, and they are joined by Renato Guedes, Keith Champagne and Jorge Correa Jr.

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The story is sort of an extrapolation of the letters scene from a couple of issues earlier, as Superman travels the world, doing his best to respond to wishes, requests and pleas.

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And protecting the world from threats and demands.

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Dr. Spectro returns, having solidly become the joke villain in the Superman books. It’s the one scene out of the finale I really enjoy.

Action 809 – Clark Kent’s shipboard murder mystery

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Kelly, Ferry and Smith are joined by Andy Owens on an enjoyable, offbeat story.

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Lois and Clark are on a cruise, along with obnoxious Jack Ryder.  Clark and Ryder get into a heated argument, and both storm out. Later, Ryder is found dead, and Clark is suspected.

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The shipboard mystery plays out with more victims, and mysterious tattoos.

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The Creeper is the one responsible, but it’s only kind of the Creeper.  Jack Ryder had the creature exorcised from him, and this is the Creeper with no human controls.

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The ending is kind of Mxyzptlk-y, as the Creeper is rendered unconscious, merges with Ryder, and all of its actions are undone. So no one really died.  As with most Kelly stories, I sort of like it, and sort of don’t.

 

Action 808 – Superman saved by girlpower

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Kelly, Ferry and Smith conclude the Supergirls story in Action 808 (Dec. 03).

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Traci Thirteen, Supergirl, Lana Lang and Steel hold off the ghosts, as they try to save Superman in his Fortress.

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The ghost sees the Fortress as a temple he built to himself.  She sees Superman as nothing but arrogance and power.

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Natasha shows the letters he keeps. The ones of gratitude, but also all the letters from people he wasn’t able to help.  She shows the ghost that Superman is not about power, but about humility.  The ghost concedes that her vengeance is unwarranted, and leaves.

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A really good three part story, making the most of the various women involved.  Also nice that it dealt with Lana, as opposed to Lois.

Action 807 – Traci Thirteen vs Steel

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Kelly, Ferry and Smith continue the Supergirls story arc in Action 807 (Nov. 03).

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Natasha thinks Traci has caused the injury to Superman.  Apparently she doesn’t see Lana there.  She attacks, but winds up hitting Superman with the Steel hammer, which sparks his heart back into beating.  The girls quickly get on the same side.  You can’t help but think that male heroes would have fought for two pages first.

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News of the attack on Superman hits the media, and the new Supergirl hears about it, and goes to help her father.  We know little of this character at this time.  She had recently appeared in the pages of Superman, announcing that she is from the future, and Superman’s daughter.

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She doesn’t bother with the pre-fight, joining with Traci and Steel against the evil ghost ninjas.

The story concludes in the next issue.