Action Comics #984
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art by: Patch Zircher, Rob Leigh, HI-Fi
Published by DC
General Zod led an invasion of the Fortress of Solitude alongside Mongul, Blanque, Metallo, The Eradicator, and Cyborg Superman. While Lois helped her son Jon into an escape pod, but it was shot out of the sky, and Superman was blinded in combat. Supergirl, Superwoman, the New Super-Man, Steel, and Lex Luthor came to the Fortress to assist. The villains defeated the Superteam, and Zod trapped all but Supergirl in The Phantom Zone. He then betrayed Cyborg Superman and The Eradicator, trapping them in The Phantom Zone as well.
The conclusion to the “Revenge” arc begins by telling us that Lois and Jon anticipated the destruction of Jon’s escape pod. He was never in it, and Zod simply destroyed and empty ship. We then see that Zod’s remaining allies are given little time to process, as he directs Blanque to keep telepathic contact with The Eradicator, who, along with Cyborg Superman, may not be as abandoned as we thought. We follow this link into The Phantom Zone and reunite with Superman and his team. Superman manages to regain his vision through the almighty powers of plot convenience, and gives his team the lowdown on The Phantom Zone.
Things begin to fall apart for our villains, however, as loyalties to different leaders split the group in two. Blanque and The Eradicator attempt to continue with Zod’s master plan, but Mongul and Metallo take this opportunity to remind Zod that it was Cyborg Superman who assembled and leads this team, who himself is rather displeased in The Phantom Zone. Meanwhile, we are shown that not only has Jon found a rather useful hiding place, he was led there by a strange voice that he’s been hearing recently, identified by a green speech bubble. Jon and Supergirl team up to take on Zod after he dispatches with his dissenters. In the Phantom Zone, Superman and his allies learn of the more personal nature of Zod’s plan, and Zod manages to retrieve The Eradicator and the prisoners from The Phantom Zone that he came to free. They all escape, allowing Superman to use his projector to free his friends as Zod and his new companions plan their next move.
Thoughts on the issue
Here we are at the end of the Revenge arc, only to learn it’s not the end of this story, which is beginning to feel long-winded. The twist at the end was solid, and does make me curious about what’s next for Zod and Superman. But we’ve seen the mysterious formation of the team, the big reveal that Cyborg Superman was the leader, a short arc breaking Zod out of prison and blinding Superman, all culminating in a big battle with some of the most powerful characters in comics. After all that, it’s a little anti-climactic for the good guys to be trapped in limbo while a petty fight divides the villains and sets up the “real” story with Zod. It wasn’t a poorly made comic, and the individual issues have had enough content to satisfy, but hopefully now we’ll see a real direction for this book to move in, rather than being kind of a toy chest of Superman characters.
One last thing
Speaking of long-winded plots, the mysterious voice that Jon is hearing is almost certainly Mr. Oz, the strange hooded figure that first appeared in Geoff Johns’ Superman run, and has been seen regularly watching Superman and others since DCU Rebirth.