Superman and SuperLuthor team up against The Machinist, until they don’t (Action Comics #985 Comic Review)

Action Comics #95

Written By: Rob Williams
Art By: Guillem March
Colors: Hi-Fi

General Zod assembled a team to break his wife and son out of The Phantom Zone, and left Cyborg Superman trapped there. The Kent family moved from Hamilton back to Metropolis, where Lex Luthor has been operating as a surrogate Superman with the help of a Motherbox he transformed to suit his needs.


What happened:

Superman takes a break from unpacking to blow off some steam and rescue a submarine, all while talking to his wife on the phone about the fact that he’s been feeling optimistic again lately. Superman overhears some gunfire coming from the country of Georgia and stops some armed goons before learning that they were being controlled by the evil Machinist, who uses wireless microchips to control his victim, and has been providing weapons to both sides of the civil war going on in the country. As similar attacks are carried out across the globe, Superman heads to see the only man who could have provided The Machinist with the tech he needed: Lex Luthor.


Lex tells Superman that he has not faltered in his recent attempts to be a good guy, and insists that The Machinist stole his work. Superman is of course reluctant to believe Luthor, but accepts his offer to help. The two team up and track the stolen tech using Lex’s Luthorbox. As the pair close in on The Machinist they are promptly attacked by soldiers and animals under his persuasion. As Lex falls, Superman goes to help him, only to find that he’s been infected by one of The Machinists’ “Mind Ticks.”


Thoughts on the issue:
This issue is the first of a two-part story arc, presumably allowing Rob Williams and Guillem March to give the standard creative team a small break before they launch into their anticipated Mr. Oz arc. The key element of this story feel a bit like Geoff Johns follow up. Johns introduced The Machinist in his run 3 years ago, but he was overshadowed by Ulysses. Johns also was the one who gave Lex his Luthorbox and made him a Superman in the pages of his Justice League run. So here we are, picking up on some threads from ambitious series that couldn’t do all they planned to. That being said, the issue doesn’t feel bogged down by history or continuity. It’s a pretty straightforward superhero story. Superman finds some goons, finds they masked leader, and grabs a friend to help take him down. The “twist” at the end felt obligatory, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be fun to see.


One last thing:
It’s odd that we’re supposed to just accept that there’s a Civil War in Georgia right now. Usually this kind of thing happens in a fictional country from the comics like Biyalia or Rhelasia.


Final score: 6.5/10

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