We are back with yet another Superman breakdown in Action Comics Vol. 3. For the time being I am doing breakdowns that pertain to Justice League origins. After Vol. 4 of Action Comics we are going to switch over to some of the weirder more obscure characters which I am excited about. Don’t get me wrong though, I do love these volumes. This one especially pulls in things from the last two really tying things up in the fight with Vyndktvx.
In the start of Vol. 3, Issue #13, Superman becomes familiar with the Phantom Zone for the first time. Here he is in his fortress when he hears something, a whisper, from another room and is tricked by Xa-du into the Phantom Zone. Xa-du, we see in a flashback, was a scientist sentenced to the Phantom Zone for creating living dead people. He was the first prisoner sentences with the chance to plead for release in 20 years. However, 20 years later was the fall of Krypton. Of course, since it was Jor-El who sentenced him, he is then angry with him and the El family.
In the Phantom Zone though, Superman encounters the thoughts of several others but two that stick out are Krypto, who he calls with a whistle, and then the Stranger. The Stranger we have seen with pandora, he is a being sentenced to walk the earth righting his wrongs as punishment for his crimes. Not sure how he came to be in the Phantom Zone but that is for another day. Here he tells Superman about Xa-du’s Ecto-Suit that makes it possible for him to leave the Phantom zone. He then instructs Superman how to do get it from Xa-du and send him back to the Phantom Zone. That part pretty much goes off without a hitch, but Superman is upset to see Krypto stay behind since he has been such a loyal dog. So, he uses the hand of the Ecto-suit and pulls Krypto out.
The story doesn’t really end there for Xa-du though as we see him in the last pane of the issue talking with Vyndktvx.
In the short story for issue #13 we basically get the little story of Krypto’s creation and how he has always been there for superman as a ghost dog. He was even mentioned back in Volume 2 but a passing woman that a white dog was with him.
Then onto issue #14, The Multitude finally arrives that Superman has been hearing about with the arrival of the Metalek aliens and then again from Aaron Black/Comet last volume. Superman hears a distress call from mars as weird machines arrive and being to attack. He is told that three men were trapped out in with the machines, so he heads there to save them. However, only comes back with two since he didn’t see a third. He explains to the people on Mars about the Multitude and that his father was able to stop it before, however, every other planet had died from it.
When the multitude arrives, we see that it is an army of angels attacking like locust. Superman must retreat to come up with a plan. He uses this fork to explain his plan, the fork is a 3D object but when it hits the book it leaves 4 impressions. So, the Multitude isn’t a lot of things it is just one thing hitting from the 5th dimension at once. To stop the Multitude, they need to hit all the angels at once with the array, and the face that the power is cut to the machine is no big deal… just run that through Superman!
When back outside, they again mention the 3rd person. This is when one of them notice him laying on the ground. When Superman picks him up it is Vyndktvx. He then goes on to kill everyone there but Superman.
Issue #14’s short story is actually really really sad but then also features Neil deGrasse Tyson. He organized for Superman a special event. All the satellites all pointed to the same location. Since Krypton is 27 light years away and Superman at this point is 27 years old this puts him right at seeing the death of Krypton. So even though Krypton has been gone for some time, Superman is living it at this moment. Like I said, super sad.
Issue #15 is really when things pick up but then also get quite a bit confusing with time jumps so please, fasten your seat belt. The issue starts with Clark’s prom which is also the night that Jonathan and Martha Kent die. This is the first time Vyndktvx inserts himself in Clark’s life.
The to the roof top of current time with Mrs. N the landlord also an imp from the 5th dimension married to Mxyzptlk, (We get that back story here in a moment) They talk about Vyndktvx’s involvement in Clark’s life and that things are starting to get weird for Clark. He remembers going to Mars, but that mission doesn’t even happen for another 2 years, making that Clark’s future and present together. This makes Vyn especially hard to fight since he can really pop in at anytime in Clark’s life.
Then we jump to the future where Superman is being hunted by the Anti-Superman Army, that we have seen Vyn putting together for the last three volumes. The Red Sky already makes Superman weaker because he doesn’t have the sun to absorb from. Suzie is there with her powers that we have seen, K-man who can poison Superman’s blood with green kryptonite. The rest I will talk about later.
Back on the rooftop with Mrs. N, she tells the story about the 5th dimension and how Vyn has come to be. There was the King who had lost his wife and there was nothing that anyone could do to make him happy, even Vyn with his box of tricks. It wasn’t until Mxyzptlk arrived. The trick was to get him to say his name backwards, but no one could. Vyn was envious of Mxy, and that it was only Superman who ever tricked Mxy, of course this is in Superman’s future. Vyn went on to steal some items like the nothing coat, imaginator and the Multispear. He then went to kill Mxy but accidently killed the king who was trying on Mxy’s hat. The stabbing of the king with the Multispear instantly killed 230 worlds but two of them showed resistance. The feedback from that resistance almost killed them all but did drive Vyn insane. He then attempted to frame Mxy for the murder of the kind and taken the 5th dimension for himself.
Now Vyn is getting revenge all at once, but Mrs. N was granted three wishes by Mxy. The first she used to bring back Mxy and they married on Earth. We saw this in Volume 1, Mister Triple X. The second wish she used to un-kill Clark Kent in volume 2. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like she is going to get her 3rd wish because Nimrod on the instruction of Vyn kills Mrs. N. This begins the fight with the Anti-Superman Army we have been seeing.
The short story in issue #15, is the same story that Mrs. N tells but from the perspective as Mxy. Mostly that for him, Superman was his favorite trick, his son Ferlin was the greatest trick, but right now they just need an escape plan.
Into Issue #16, we have the reintroduction to the Legion of Superheroes. We have seen them help Superman before when things were changed before in the past by the Anti-Superman Army. Now, we begin in their time of 3030, where the state of things is bad, and they must fight their way to the Time Bubble to get back to Superman to stop him from dying and changing the fate of their time.
Back in present-ish time, time is really mixed up. Superman at this time has already died once but because of the time manipulation with get to see it happen again. Superman initially fights Xa-du with the help of Suzie who connects his mind to all other minds to make them Superman feel everyone’s suffering. Lois interferes with Suzie and Suzie admits to making a deal with Vyn. Apparently, they were all promised eternal life if they say no to Superman when he asks for help. The rest of the Anti-Superman Army attack with their different variations of Kryptonite. Like I mentioned, we know Clay Ramsey as K-man with his Green Kryptonite that poisons Superman’s (and Krypto’s) blood. Red K-Man can alter the thoughts of Superman and make him Hallucinate. While Blue K-man harnesses the power of Blue Kryptonite, He claims that it will cause Spirt. That is why the Phantom King, Xa Du steers clear of him, this would be the ultimate death for him. Krypto saves Superman but only temporarily when they get ahold of Krypto too. Superman instructed Lois and Jimmy to head to the hospital for Mister Triple X, who is in a coma there. However, they are unable to wake him
On the other Earth with Calvin Ellis that we saw in Volume 2, Vyn shows there before what we saw and pulls Superdoom from the door to the Multiverse and bring him to this Earth to fight Superman. It is also about this time that the Legion arrives in this current time to help wake Mister Triple X.
In issue #16’s short story we get a better understanding to what is happening in the future as far as the Legion. It seems that there has been a president that has been elected named Takaneda. The Legion is there to see him make a speech, but end up stopping an assassination. The man, Dolo Rol from Naltor, says that he has seen the future and this president has some bad plans for them. The Legion basically just thinks that he is crazy and lock him up. When Takaneda leaves though, we see him change into Universo!
In issue #17 we start again with the night that John and Martha Kent die, the legion arrives here to set things better for the future, but they are already too late.
We also see Vyn showing up late for Superman’s cape. In the last volume there was the short story, Clothes Encounter, where Superman’s cape is taken by a little boy, turns out the boy stopped Vyn from getting his hands on it. Pretty good luck. However, Vyn still has the upper hand here since he then went on to create an army.
In the current fight with the Anti-Superman Army, Superman is in desperate need of help and he gets it from by standers who remove the kryptonite chains giving him a fighting chance. Lex Luthor does arrive to help fight Superdoom but is quickly taken out and it turns out he was just a hologram all along.
In the short story in issue #17, Superman ends up merged back in time to a moment with Jonathan Kent. Jonathan recognizes that this is not his Clark of the present and Superman can thank John and hug him goodbye before his dead later that night.
Finally, in Issue #18m, Superman gets a red kiss from Red K-man causing delusions. While he is freaking out, the Legion (specifically Irma/Saturn Girl) wakes Mister Triple X from his coma. Of course, this is the same time that Ferlin shows upset with him over the death of his mother Mrs. N. The legion subdues Ferlin and Mxy lets them know that his wife isn’t dead, that he thought her to escape back to the 5th dimension with a blood escape pod. The important thing, he says, is that Vyn gets his trick.
Suzie who was tricked by Vyn to fight against Superman is visited by her Neo-Sapien friends. Comet arrives to help with his group of friends, the Wanders and they fight together against The Anti-Superman Army. The save Krypto from their attacks and exorcise Xa-du.
Superman finally having help and being able to catch his breath realizes that all of this for Vyn is happening all at once, but for Clark Kent, Vyn has been his lifetime. He has been watching Vyn and has made him lose at everything. His biggest mistake was linking Superman to all the other minds and then he has all of them say their names backwards. This sends Vyn back to the 5th dimension. In the 5th dimension, Vyn is thrown in prison. Myx and Mrs. N go on to live happily there. They have a daughter, but Mrs. N died in the process. However, Myx still goes on to live a happy life with his daughter.
Not all is that simple though, Superdoom goes into Doomsday mode so Superman takes him out into space for him to explode.
Mrs. N does talk with Superman one last time though for her third wish, which must be something red. She then sends him to the “red planet” Mars. This falls in line with what Irma from Legion said earlier about Superman needing to be at Mars the next day.
But that pretty much sums up this long and complicated but interesting Volume. Next week I will be capping off this section (Justice League Character origins) of the breakdowns with Action Comics Vol. 4: Hybrid!
I thought that this was really great storytelling from Volume 1 to now. Vyn’s plot was complicated and in the shadows for a pretty much the whole time. The art was beautiful. If I had one complaint, it would be that it gets confusing at times with the time jumps but that is nessisary to the store they are telling.
Where to Buy:
Action Comics Vol 3: At the End of Days: https://amzn.to/2ZA2RXs
Action Comics Vol 4: Hybrid: https://amzn.to/2PpsWVe
Read All of My DC Comic Breakdowns!
- Batman Vol. 4 – Zero Year Breakdown! (New 52)
- DC Comics: Zero Year Breakdown! (New 52)
- Batman Vol. 5 – Zero Year: Dark City Breakdown! (New 52)
- Batman/Superman Vol. 1: Crossworld Breakdown! (New 52)
- Action Comics Vol. 1: Superman and the Men of Steel Breakdown! (New 52)
- ‘Justice League’ Vol. 1: Origins Breakdown and Review!
- Action Comics Vol 2: Bulletproof Breakdown and Rating!
- ‘Action Comics’ Vol. 3: At the End of Days Breakdown and Review!
- Action Comics Vol. 4: Hybrid Breakdown and Review!
- Animal Man Vol. 1: The Hunt Breakdown and Review!
- Swamp Thing Vol. 1: Raise Them Bones Breakdown and Review!
- Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. Vol. 1 War of Monsters Breakdown and Review!
- Green Arrow Vol 1. Midas Touch Breakdown and Review
- Blue Beetle Vol 1: Metamorphosis Breakdown and Review!