Never Underestimate A Snooty Robot In Action Comics #998

by James Ferguson

Superman and Booster Gold are about to be destroyed with an array of heat vision from General Zod, Ursa, their son, Lor-Zod, and the Eradicator.  Things could be better.  The pair must break free and return to the present day to hopefully prevent this timeline where Zod rules an entire planet he’s renamed New Krypton from ever happening.

Action Comics #998 is packed with…well…action.  Of course, Superman and Booster Gold break free.  You didn’t think they would just die, did you?  What follows is a knock-down, drag-out battle of Kryptonian proportions.  Artist Will Conrad somehow manages to contain these two warring factions within the pages of the comic.  Although the fight scenes look great, there are a number of panels where the characters are standing awkwardly, like they don’t know what to do with their limbs.

I have to give props to Booster’s robot companion, Skeets as he becomes the real MVP in this issue.  Without him, Superman and Booster Gold would have been roasted alive.  He pulls some interesting moves that I didn’t know he was capable of and they really turn the tide of the battle.  Never underestimate a snooty robot.

As with the last issue, Lor-Zod is a real stand out.  If you thought his father was a ruthless tyrant, you have not met his downright heinous son.  There’s a moment where even Lor-Zod’s own mother questions the boy’s actions.  One single, doubt-filled line from her speaks volumes.

After a climactic battle, of which there have been several in this arc, the storyline is wrapped up pretty quickly.  Superman gets the answers he was looking for when he set out to travel back to witness Krypton’s demise. He watches somberly, understanding that he can’t do anything to stop the deaths of billions of people.  Meanwhile, in the recent issues of Superman, he watches this once a year for kicks or to somehow pay tribute to their deaths.

Writer Dan Jurgens also ties up the plot thread of Lois and Jon going to save General Lane from behind enemy lines.  This side story has irked me from the beginning.  Fortunately, it does have a nice, emotional beat that ties into the main story, although it didn’t sit well with me.  It still feels like it was added on so Superman’s family would have something to do.  We’ll see if this plays out at all in the next issue.

This arc of Action Comics already got some extra points from me for including Booster Gold.  The time traveling hero even gets to poke fun at The Flash by the end of this issue, over the speedster’s manipulation of time over the years, if not for Flashpoint.  I am disappointed we didn’t get more with Lor-Zod as he proved to be a pretty terrifying foe for the Man of Steel.   For more as to how this possible future might roll out, we’ll turn to Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, where Zod is rising to power in the present.

Action Comics #998 is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.