The Rebirth era of Superman comes to an end as DC Comics prepares for a pretty big anniversary in the next issue of Action Comics. But first, the Man of Steel has some business to wrap up, as does Lois Lane.
Action Comics 999
Written by Dan Jurgens
Pencils by Brett Booth and Will Conrad
Inks by Will Conrad and Norm Rapmund
Colors by Andrew Dalhouse and Ivan Nunes
Since Dan Jurgens returned to writing Superman in Action Comics in June 2016, the twice-monthly comic book has consistently shown off the best of the Man of Steel and returned the character to a status he had lost during the New 52. The final issue of his run on Action Comics gives Jurgens one more chance to give us another great representation of Superman.
Our hero’s mission this issue is more of the B-plot, though, as he saves the Earth from an asteroid by using his heat vision to surgically dismantle the giant rock. The asteroid contains a special mineral, though, and Superman collects it to bring it back to Earth and he uses it to bring some peace of mind to one of his greatest villains from the last 25 years: the Cyborg Superman. The former Hank Henshaw has been imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, but Superman sees that as an inhumane punishment after his recent interactions with Zod and he hopes to find another way.
He brings Cyborg Superman out of the Zone and gives him a special crystal to let him relive his happiest moments with his wife and friends, who died in the space explosion that gave him his abilities and turned him into a monster.
Jurgens created the character of Hank Henshaw back in early 1990 and brought him back as one of the replacement Supermen in 1993. It’s nice to see Jurgens give one of his creations a happy ending all these years later. Another writer may bring Henshaw back for a future story – he’s too good a villain to be left on the sidelines forever – but for now, Henshaw’s creator allowed him some moments of happiness that had been eluding him. It’s a nice way to end Jurgens’ latest run with Superman.
While Superman was out in space and in the Fortress of Solitude dealing with things, Lois and Jon welcomed Lois’ father Sam, who they rescued last issue. Sam and Lois continue to fight over Lois exposing a military operation, along with Sam’s dislike of Superman. Despite Jon’s insistent desire to spend time with his grandfather, Sam Lane is a stubborn old fool and walks out of Lois and Clark’s apartment. Thankfully, he runs into Clark, who is able to reason with Sam and bring the family together for a nice dinner together.
The final issue of Jurgens’ run may not tie up various loose ends from the previous 42 issues. But the writer once again gives us a glimpse at the kind of hero Superman is supposed to be. He’s a symbol of hope and a beacon of light in the DC Universe not because he’s invulnerable and can blow apart an asteroid with his heat vision. Superman is an enduring hero because he seeks to help everyone. I’m going to miss Jurgens writing Superman exactly for issues like this one, that accentuate the greatest qualities of my favorite hero.