Writer: Greg Pak
Artists: Aaron Kuder, Scott Kolins
Action Comics Annual #3 Recap
Still under Brainiac’s control, Lois is used as a conduit to coordinate Brainiac’s attack. Superman arrives in Gotham City to battle Brainiac’s ships, but causes more devastation due to his Doom effects. Batman, at the Fortress of Solitude, enacts a plan to clear the atmosphere of kryptonite as quickly as possible, so Superman can regain control over his Doom half. In Sao Paolo, the Martian Manhunter is overpowered by drones, but Superman flies in and saves him. Putting a mental wall in Superman’s mind, the Martian Manhunter is able to suppress Superman’s Doom half. As the horde ship nears, Baka arrives to assist Superman. Seeing that Lois is still under Brainiac’s control, Superman uses his Doomsday abilities to burn away the trillions of nanobots infecting Lois. At the last second, Batman is able to open trillions of portals that clear the atmosphere of kryptonite. Superman regains full control and destroys the horde ships. But they discover that the ships were only a distraction for Brainiac’s real invasion.
Still action-packed. However, relative to Superman / Wonder Woman Annual #1 and Action Comics Annual #3, there was a definite slowdown in pacing. The plot does introduce some other problems when Superman’s plan goes awry, so it makes the overall story a bit more interesting.
Plot Details and Spoilers and Deaths: Oh My!
While rescuing civilians in Gotham City, Batman’s Outlaws and Gotham’s citizens are put into a trance state by Brainiac’s psychic powers. Batman, monitoring the situation from the Fortress of Solitude, requires Superman’s help, but Superman’s top priority is to re-apprehend Xa-Du. Soon, we see most of the Justice League being taken over by Brainiac’s powers.
In Metropolis, Superman meets up with Lois. Though free from Brainiac, Lois still has some of Brainiac’s abilities. She communicates with Martian Manhunter and they discover that Brainiac actually wants to keep the people alive for an unknown reason.
At the Fortress of Solitude, they discover that only a few individuals are still free from Brainiac’s control: Lois and Martian Manhunter are protected by their own psychic powers; Batman, Harrow, and Ghost Soldier are shielded by the Fortress of Solitude’s Kryptonian defenses; and Wonder Woman is unaffected due to her being a demigod. The remaining team hypothesizes that Brainiac is creating a network using human brains. Superman quickly develops a plan.
Using Harrow and her ghost army as a distraction, Superman and Martian Manhunter fly towards the Sun. Now energized from solar energy, Superman releases an immense, powerful blast of heat vision. The blast rushes towards the Fortress of Solitude’s dish array, lifted up by an airborne Wonder Woman. As the dish array collects Superman’s heat vision blast, it powers up the Fortress of Solitude — allowing it to form a giant portal to the Phantom Zone. Superman’s plan is to pull Brainiac’s ship and Earth into the Phantom Zone, a place without time, so that the team will have enough time to save everyone.
Suddenly, Brainiac assimilates Harrow’s ghost army. He proceeds to destroy the Justice League Emergency Bunker and, finally, the Phantom Zone portal. As Brainiac’s ship goes on a collision course towards Earth, Superman and Martian Manhunter, using sheer brute force and strength, divert the ship away from the planet. In the Fortress of Solitude, an unexpected outcome has come from opening up a large portal to the Phantom Zone — the freeing of Non and Mongul.
Wrapping It Up
I would say that this week’s issue was adequate. Not a great issue, but a solid one. We have Superman regaining control of his Doom half and having no more internal conflicts. He’s basically the old Superman we know. The action has been brought down a big notch since Superman / Wonder Woman Annual #1 and Action Comics Annual #3. As for the art, I have to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Aaron Kuder’s drawings. Most of his characters look a bit too “cartoony” to me. I think I’m more of a Lashley fan. But nonetheless, this issue does introduce a turning point to Superman: Doomed.