Time Travel Trouble in Action Comics 994

by Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

With Action Comics 993 I wondered: how many times has Superman traveled back in time to Krypton? Action Comics 994 has me wondering the follow-up questions: how many times has Superman had to watch his birth parents and their home die?

As a veteran protector of time, Booster knows that Superman is being distracted by the chance at meeting (a version of) Jor-El. Though this is an alternate timeline, Booster doesn’t want to risk “Blue” meeting his father and further screwing up time. Jurgens has Skeets pop in and explain their curious circumstances.

Now that’s a lot of heady sci-fi mumbo jumbo. Fans are overly-critical of the science part in science fiction, especially when it comes to time travel. Is this explanation part of Jurgens’ narrative plan or is he anticipating the typical time travel critiques? I’d rather not pick apart the minutiae for once and just enjoy the story.

As they make their return trip in the time sphere, Superman sees how his entire life would’ve gone in this altered history of Krypton: a loving family of El and a society of peace and prosperity. Interestingly this series of life events isn’t narrated by Superman’s thoughts but by Booster’s. All we get from Superman is a sad, sunken stare — highlighting the tragedy of it all.

Seeing a full life you’ll never live fade away is probably a lot more devastating that watching the destruction of a planet you’ve never visited. Superman went back in time to find out the truth about Mr. Oz/Jor-El. What he comes back with is a whole different set of emotional baggage.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

8 comments on “Time Travel Trouble in Action Comics 994

  1. “I’d rather not pick apart the minutiae for once and just enjoy the story.”

    This perfectly sums up my feeling on Action Rebirth. I haven’t gotten too deeply immersed in it, I just float along and enjoy the waves. It’s been enjoyable in the way the most recent Jurassic Park movie was. It’s big and bombastic and looks great and it’s fun as long as you don’t try to think too hard about it.

    • I’ve never been a fan of this sort of argument, because the big difference between Jurassic Park and Jurassic World is that I don’t need to do that with Jurassic Park. Jurassic Park is good enough that I can enjoy it, no matter how immersed I am and no matter how much I think about it. So why watch Jurassic World when I can watch the movie that doesn’t require me to float along (I would also argue that Jurassic World doesn’t look good. It isn’t just that it is a stupid movie, it also makes basic mistakes in the direction that undercut any attempts to be a big, bombastic movie).

      That’s not saying that you can’t enjoy flawed material – I will happily discuss how much I enjoyed Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets last year, but I will do that while accepting the flaws. Because I would argue that, even when fully engaged, Valerian is more of a good movie than a bad movie.

      Also, while I’m posting here – Action Comics does not deserve any coverage, positive or negative, after Action Comics 990. Until the creative team changes, this book deserves to be forgotten

      • I’ve seen Jurassic Park over 50 times. It’s on my list of 10 best movies ever. In no way am I comparing the quality if Jurassic Park to Jurassic World. But Jurassic World was big and dumb and fun and I like seeing dinosaurs chase and eat people, and it did that mostly pretty well. I felt it was drama free as the lead characters were not interesting, but the pteranodon (or ‘dactyl, I no longer remember) was fun. The t-rex at the end was fun. The scene, especially at the end, wasn’t well constructed, but I liked watching it. I think I saw it on tv the other day, so that makes twice.

        I’ll always watch Jurassic Park (and Starship Troopers) dropping whatever I’m doing because they are masterpieces. But I don’t regret seeing Jurassic World and enjoyed it enough in a dumb way.


      • And your hatred of Action 990 baffles me. You’re seeing something that I just don’t think is there. Logamba is a fictional place, as far as I can tell created in Action 987 where “Neither the government nor the rebels seem to care about Logambans on the whole.” And in 987 the rebels steal the medicine from the village and kill all the villagers to profit on the black market.

        So the rebels willingness to use chemical weapons on the villagers in 990 is already ‘canon’ for this fictional place. I think the only reason you think this has anything to do with Syria is Mark, and I don’t think Mark is right.

        Again, my impression is you didn’t read this run on Action. I could be wrong, you could be shelling out your $2.99 every other week for Action. But I don’t think you have and you’re saying this comic shouldn’t even be reviewed because of an interpretation of someone else’s interpretation, which wears me the hell out.

        I don’t think comic has anything to do with Syria. It’s a fictional place where the rebels are as bad as the government. That was the whole fucking point of Logamba, both sides are fucking evil as fuck and ruining everything for the citizens. And that’s allowed because it’s fucking fiction. It could be based on a myriad of places, but that doesn’t matter because in its opening description it defines the fictional location – both sides are evil. If that doesn’t match up to whatever you or any other reader thinks the fictional Logamba is based on, any outrage over it is unjustified because Syria is never fucking mentioned. Because in Syria the rebels didn’t/don’t/aren’t use/using chemical weapons and fucking up cities to get medicine to sell on the black market, but here they are.

        I’ve looked for anything that has Jurgens saying that Logamba is meant to portray Syria. I can’t. There seems to be nothing that says, “Hey fuckers, this is how Syria acts, you should get your news from ACTION FUCKING COMICS about Syrian tragedy!” from the creators. Nope. Nothing. Just one dudes opinion here (Sorry Mark for throwing you under the bus). And you carry on this belief on. Shit, in Logamba’s introduction in Action 987 (also reviewed by Mark, commented on by me) the word Logamba didn’t even appear! It was just another nameless place that tragedies were occurring.

        Hate Action and Jurgens and DC all you want, but chill out on excoriating things you haven’t read because I need piece of mind on Saturday mornings.

        • I’m not accusing you of saying the Jurassic World is better than Jurassic Park or anything. I just used Jurassic Park as an example of a movie that is both similar to Jurassic World and can be liked without reservation. My point is more that if I can’t like a movie without compromising my standards/embracing the stupid/not thinking too hard/any other way of saying the same thing, I find it a movie that isn’t worth defending in the first place. To use the other movie I compared it to, Valerian is a movie that will get dinged a couple of times for serious problems that will be clear if you fully engage with the movie and think too hard about it. But I would argue that, if you think too hard about Valerian, it is still a good movie for all of its strengths. That even if I am hyperaware of Valerian’s flaws while I watch it, I would still call it a great experience because of the masterpiece first scene, the amazing first action sequence, the incredible imagination and the climax that got to me emotionally. That’s the difference I’m making


          Logamba may be a fictional location that exists only in the DC Universe, but that doesn’t stop it from being a metaphor for real world events.

          If I write a comic where an unarmed black man is shot by a police officer in Gotham, it will be a metaphor for police brutality in America. No matter how I write these characters, and what reasons I give the characters for doing what they did, this is still a metaphor referencing America’s discussions of police brutality. Despite taking place in the fictional city of Gotham. Even if I didn’t even intend to reference police brutality in America, the fact that I wrote an unarmed black man get shot and killed by a police officer makes it a metaphor for police brutality.
          Therefore, it would be my responsibility to write this responsibly. And if I wrote the police officer in such a way that I suggested that he was entirely without fault and there is without a doubt no possibility of the police having a systemic issue with police brutality, that would be grossly irresponsible.

          And if I was going to write about the fictional Middle Eastern country of Logamba, a nation wracked by civil war caused by rebel forces – especially one where the rebel force is not a pure example of heroism, and if I was also going to have the use of chemical weapons be a key part of the events in the nation, I would be talking about Syria. That description I gave of Logamba is Syria. My interpretation is that this is clearly Syria (not because of Mark, or anyone else’s, but they are also interpreting the location as a stand in for Syria for a reason). Logamba is written to parallel the exact events in Syria in nearly every conceivable way.

          Therefore, just as the theoretical unarmed black man in Gotham should be written responsibly, so should Logamba. And it would be highly irresponsible to whitewash a war criminal’s war crimes by suggesting both sides do it.

          It isn’t about people taking their news from Action Comics instead of the news. It is about making sure people who don’t know enough about the topic aren’t deceived. How many people fully understand the events in Syria? Watch enough news to understand what is happening? Hell, does the news even do a good enough job at informing people about Syria?
          To a lot of people, Syria is a thing that is happening, but all they know about it is that it is complex. There only knowledge comes from osmosis and maybe a couple of too vague bits in the news that don’t inform them about the full context. They’ll know buzzwords like chemical weapons, but would falter on any question about real events.
          If that person read Action Comics and recognised (even subconsciously) the Syria comparison (because chemical weapons), how do you think it would influence their opinions about Syria. Do you think they would be more likely or less likely to believe the factually wrong idea that both sides are committing horrific war crimes with chemical weapons?

          People shouldn’t be learning about Syria from comics. They should be reading and watching pieces of journalism that inform them properly. But that is never going to happen. Therefore, it is the creative team’s responsibility to treat important subjects with honesty, so that people do not get misinformed on important topics like War Crimes. THey shouldn’t be learning from Action COmics, but people are*. And so, Action COmics should make sure, at the very least, people don’t come out with the wrong assumption on who is committing the war crimes. To fail at that responsibility is immoral

          *Shows like Modern Family have been seen has having an important influence on the debate on gay marriage. That shouldn’t be the case, the only influence should be basic empathy. But the fact that it has is proof that media should depict things honestly and respectfully.

        • Yeah – I deleted 8 paragraphs because it’s not worth it. I don’t believe you read the arc and I don’t believe you have the context for what Logamba represented in the story, because every single sentence you write that has the word Logamba in it is 100% the opposite of what I think.
          I didn’t need to compromise my standards watching Jurassic World. I liked it. I thought it was mostly ridiculous fun. I’d have had to compromise nearly every one of my standards to enjoy something like Assassin’s Creed (which happens to be on HBO right now and is truly awful). I also enjoyed both of the last two King Kong movies for similar reasons to why I liked Jurassic World. Neither King Kong was great as a movie, but both were fun to watch because giant CGI things ran around eating people and mostly looked good doing it.

        • I am honestly unsure how Middle East, Civil War, Rebels v GOvernment, Chemical Weapons does not signal Syria. THose are the four key elements of the Syria, and all of them are in Action Comics. I am honestly unsure how the existence of those four elements does not make Logamba far too similar to Syria to not require care. Those are the four key elements, and I don’t know how a fictional nation that has those four elements can responsibly not be compared to Syria. That is basically every high level concept. To most people, that’s all they know about Syria


          Then I guess my argument is that you should display more confidence in your opinion. Be proud of it. My problem with ‘as long as you don’t try to think too hard about it’ is that it is either an excuse for a bad movie. If you don’t think it is a bad movie, if you think it is a good movie, be proud and confident of the fact. Never give excuses for why you like something, give reasons.

          If you believe you don’t need to compromise your tastes to enjoy Jurassic World, and you do, then don’t say ‘as long as you don’t try to think too hard about it’. All you are doing is being deceptive about your own thoughts and showing a lack of confidence in your own tastes. You never, ever need to do that.

          Never make excuses for a bad movie, and never make excuses for liking a good movie. Even if no one else agrees.

        • Ok, we’re at the point of you telling me to have more confidence in my opinions about Jurassic World – I compared it to Action because both, for me, are superficial entertainment. Stuff I don’t think about, but I like most of it. I had no intention of defending it in any way or even defending my opinion of it, which was, as I recall, telling my wife, “That was fun,” as we left and really never thought about it again other than seeing new commercials.

          I apologize if that wasn’t strong enough. I could have used the phrase ‘popcorn movie’ but I hate that phrase, but it fits well enough. Most monster movies are like that, the most recent King Kongs, many Godzilla movies, Mission Impossible movies.

          That’s it. I’m not compromising my integrity or honor or intelligence by saying, “That was fun to watch but I’m not going to dig too deep into character or setting or theme because those weren’t the point to me in this, I just liked the way the monsters looked when they ran around eating people.”


          Logamba: I understand the desire to defend an opinion. I believe you’re wrong, and I’m not going to change your mind (and I don’t believe you even read the issues because you’re misstating things that actually occurred in them, and I know you don’t do that). Feel free to boycott Action Comics. Spend your time demanding Jurgens (figurative) head on a plate. Yell “SHAME, SHAME!” at DC from the rooftops. But you’re tilting at windmills of your own creation on this one.

          My opinion is that DC is not in a great place (although they’re working on getting some new talent) and they should be criticized for a lot of their decisions. This just isn’t one of them.

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