Retcon Punch

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?