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Action Comics #875 [Review]

The Sleepers Part I

Writer: Greg Rucka
Penciller: Eddy Barrows
Inkers: Ruy Jose & Julio Ferreira
Colorist: Rod Reis
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Andrew Robinson
Publisher: DC Comics

As indicated at the top of the cover, this issue is part of “World Without Superman,” the general (apparent) over-arching premise of the next year or so in the Superman family of books. We’ve had New Krypton, we’ve had a couple months of after-effects and fallout, and finally we now have a story taking place after Superman has left Earth for New Krypton to live there, apparently (to the people of Earth) turning his back on them to live among his own kind. This title looks to be starring the new Nightwing and Flamebird characters that cropped up early in the New Krypton arc.

This issue picks up on Nightwing and Flamebird in new costumes designed to give the appearance of being super-powered armor augmenting humans (to cover the fact that these two are Kryptonians…as all Kryptonians except Superman have been officially banned from Earth). They take down a threat, though things do not go as smoothly as they planned, which leads to some questions developing on multiple fronts as different parties harbor their own suspicions and motivations regarding what to do with these two. We also get to see the unfolding of some background and motivation of Nightwing and Flamebird themselves–what role they played in Kandor, and so on. We are also (after several months of not doing so) treated to a revelation as to WHO Nightwing really is. After this revelation, another twist is thrown in that explains how Nightwing can exist in his present condition, as well as suggest some potential of stories to come. The end of the issue shows that this book and World of New Krypton will not be operating as if the other doesn’t exist, but will continue to share in continuity.

The cover art seems kinda different from what I’m used to seeing, and has a sort of almost watercolored look to it…not quite surreal, but something close to that. And with the way the colors are used, and the logo and even the World Without Superman banner…I really, really like this cover.

The interior art’s pretty good overall as well, if a bit “basic.” By that, it’s not art that would in and of itself inspire me to purchase the book, but it is art that I really can’t complain about, as it does what art’s supposed to do in a comic. It conveys the visuals of the story in a clear, understandable way, and doesn’t leave me confused…it works well right alongside the written aspect of the story.

The writing’s by Rucka, whose work I’ve generally been a fan of. I’ve lost track of who all has handled what characters the last few months, but it seems just from this issue that he’s got a plan for some of these characters in context of the Superman corner of the DCU. That we’ve been given Nightwing’s identity allows I think for much more story potential than keeping it a mystery, and I’ll be interested to see where Rucka takes these characters. Having read his work on Adventures of Superman a few years back, I have confidence in his handling/developing the supporting cast with respect and believability.

On the whole, this is essentially a “First issue,” and does its job well. A new arc is begun; new characters introduced, old characters appear (showing no lack of continuity placement). We see our heroes in action, get some background on them and what’s likely to drive them; some conflict and a mission, plus a classic sorta cliffhanger.

While you’ll get a lot more enjoyment out of this if you’re familiar with Superman continuity of the last couple years–and the last few months in particular–this is a decent point to hop onboard for a Rucka-written story involving characters associated with Superman operating in a world without Superman actually present. Well worth checking out.

Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 8/10

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