I've been gawking confusedly at all the folks 'round these here Internets who claim that the Simone/Byrne "Action Comics" run is the best Superman story in years and years. I've found it generally pretty mediocre and bland overall. I really liked the first issue with Dr. Psycho, but the lameness of the Dr. Polaris and the confusion of the Lord Satanus stories caused me mostly to write the run off as a miss.
But, I just read the Queen of Fables story, and I really quite enjoyed it. I'm pretty sure it's even better than the JLA story that introduced the villainess. It was well-crafted and entertaining, it had good dialogue and some interesting twists on Superman and fairy tales, and it delved nicely into Krypton's lore, which is always entertaining.
The only bad part? Byrne's artwork. I might post some scans soon, but poor Josef looks in parts like Alfred E. Neuman was melting. His head is generally amorphous, and far too small for his face, and I really hate seeing Simone's good scripts dragged down by bad art.
John Byrne has one of the largest egos in comicdom; it's a shame he can't channel it into reclaiming the talent that once justified it.
Edit: Jon corrected my claim that Simone was responsible for the Lord Satanus story, when in fact that honor (?) goes to Abnett and Lanning, whose first names (I think) are Dan and Andy in some combination, but I'm too lazy to actually look which goes with which. Apologies to Ms. Simone for that.
Unfortunately, this raises the question: why would you leave a dangling plot thread (Sam Lane...alive?) at the end of a fill-in issue? Sigh...
Wasn't the Satannus story by Abnett and Lanning or somebody? I could swear it was a fill-in, because I didn't buy it and that was before I got sick of Bryne's art and the fact that I was reading a Queen of Fables story in the middle of a giant company-wide crossover.
Queen of Fables and Brother Grimm should get together. They're about the same character.
But, yeah, the Psycho story was good, the Polaris one was weird, Lois's subplot was kind of interesting, and, well, it was kind of fun to see how old Bryne decided Jimmy Olsen should look in a given month. It was either late twenties or, say, eleven, month-to-month.
You're right, Satanus was Abnett and Lanning.
And Jimmy Olsen might be the most inconsistently-aged character in all of comics. He ranges from early teens to late twenties within the span of single issues.
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