In the Name of Gog

Authors: Chuck Austen and J.D. Finn
Artists: Ivan Reis, Marc Campos and others
Titan Books
RRP: 11.99
ISBN 1 84576 201 0
Available 23 January 2006

The Man of Steel must face off against some of his deadliest enemies, including the Silver Banshee, Preus and Doomsday - the being who once killed him! Then there's a new villain, Repo Man. But none of these compare to the vengeful Gog, who has travelled back from the future to keep his vow of ending Superman's life...

This graphic novel, which collects issues 820-825 of Action Comics, concludes the Gog storyline that was set up in The Wrath of Gog. Once again, though, despite its title, this volume is more concerned with other characters than it is with Gog, who only truly dominates the final issue.

Before that, Superman battles a reincarnated Silver Banshee, whose new personality has more in common with one of Judge Dredd's Dark Judges. Whereas the Banshee only used to kill those who stood in her way, in her new body, that of an obsessive compulsive, she feels the need to "tidy away" the whole of humanity - by killing them, of course. However, the main villains are the Kandorian racial supremacist Preus, who assembles an army of followers from a band of red-necked survivalists, and a wimp-turned-warrior Repo Man, who takes centre stage during the middle two issues.

Chuck Austen's writing is a great improvement upon that in Wrath, though his version of Superman still seems to relish violence more than I believe he should. Here, for instance, he threatens to "pop" the Silver Banshee's "head off its neck", and later has a smile on his face as he beats up Repo Man.

However, we also get to see Clark's caring side, as he regrets being forced to defend himself against Preus' human followers, including, in a heart-rending scene, a suicide bomber. The Man of Steel is also weakened by an ageing effect of Kryptonite - which, in a neat nod to the past, gives him the appearance of the older Superman of Earth 2.

The Clark/Lois/Lana love triangle develops further when Lois finds a pair of Lana's panties in the apartment. Unfortunately, the conflict between the women in Clark's life appears to be closed rather abruptly by a few stern words from Martha Kent (who, following her post-Smallville makeover, is described by Repo Man as a "looker"). Maybe the catfight between Lois and Lana has merely been postponed. Let's hope so...

Boasting dramatic character revelations and action-packed art, In the Name of... is much better than The Wrath of... Thank Gog.

Richard McGinlay

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