Action Comics Annual #3
DC Comics (1991)“Executive Action” WRITER: Roger Stern PENCILER: Tom Grummett INKERS:Phil Rodier, Doug Hazlewood, Carlos Garzon, & Brad Vancata COLORISTS: Glenn Whitmore & Matt Hollingsworth LETTERER: Bill Oakley ASSISTANT EDITOR: Dan Thorsland EDITOR: Mike Carlin
Superman finds Apokolips’ soldiers looking to revive Kalibak away from Darkseid in order to convince him to seize power. Instead, Superman interrupts the soldiers and parademons, and takes on Kalibak himself until a boom tube takes all of them (except Superman) back to Apokolips. It was Metron who psychically nudged Superman into this encounter and the Man Of Steel isn’t happy about it. It’s at this point that Waverider returns. Things he saw in his first visit with Superman didn’t appear when he later scanned Batman’s future (Batman was forced to bring him down in that future). So Waverider has come to again confirm that Superman doesn’t become Monarch.
In this future, Jonathan is killed when a tractor he was foolishly working on while on a hill falls on him. (I’m starting to think we need a widowed Martha counter at this point.) After they morn his passing, Clark is chosen by Pete Ross to become his campaign manager as he runs for President, but during one rally someone tries to kill Pete, and Clark is forced to reveal himself as Superman to save him. Pete is still injured and unable to continue his run so he suggests Clark run (a check of his birthing matrix will show that he was officially born on Earth). Luthor’s son (which would later be revealed to be Luthor himself in a cloned body or something but not in this story) is arrested for announcing plans to Clark’s political rival to kill him, allowing the Secret Service to take him in.
President Superman works to bring the world together, end war, and all that other good stuff, but when he brings the superheroes together to become part of the disarmament plan, Guy Gardner takes offense as only Guy can, and tries to kill Superman himself. In the ensuing battle Superman ends up with Guy’s ring and the Green Lantern Corp arrest him for his actions. Later, Hal offers Superman the power battery but Superman, deciding nobody should have that much power on top of his powers as both Superman and President Of The United States, returns the ring to Hal, proving to Waverider that he isn’t going to become Monarch…but history changes again when Superman remembers Pa getting flattened by the tractor and instead flies off to rescue him.
What they got right: Whatever stretch was needed to get Superman in the Oval Office on the other side of the desk was worth it. It’s a good story that shows how great Superman is. To Stern’s credit, there are no pop shots at any one political opinion as Superman uses both liberal and conservative ideas to better the world. (Nowadays they’d insist he’s one side or the other, most likely whatever opinion the writer has.) And we don’t have to have Jonathan die thanks to Waverider’s intervention. The previous intervention also led him to taking down Intergang before he could blow up Metropolis like in the first visit. Speaking of Waverider, we get a nice moment where he’s merged with Clark and living out his date with Lois, which leads the former Matthew Rider to think about his failing relationship with his own wife.
What they got wrong: Although part of me assumes this was only added in to show Superman changing history again since it has no other impact on the story. Also, resurrecting Kalibak (killed by Darkseid himself in New Gods #12) seems way to important to stuff into a Superman story that also has no bearing on the main story. Or has this happened so often (Kalibak specifically) that nobody cares anymore? Is Kalbak the Kenny of the New Gods at this point? Finally, Stern keeps having Waverider refer to Monarch as “the Monarch”, which doesn’t match how he’s referred to by any other comic in this event.
Recommendation: A rather good story with a few minor hiccups. Pick this one up.