Review by Frank Plowright
As already seen in The Wrath of Gog, Superman as seen by Chuck Austen doesn’t coincide with the way most of the world views him, and there’s another example of that in the opening chapter when he threatens to rips Silver Banshee’s head from her shoulders. It’s otherwise not a bad story, setting Silver Banshee in an environment where she’s inconspicuous, finally making use of Jack Ryder as something other than a smug irritant for a couple of panels, and delivering some horror. Everything is nicely drawn by Carlos D’Anda, who supplies a couple of great Superman images.
That’s standard for regular artist Ivan Reis who’s back for the last few chapters. Before then four different artists illustrate the arrival of a surly alien called Preus, awkwardly counterpointed with Superman rescuing Lois Lane, who’s almost been killed. The contracted way this is shown makes little sense, almost trivialising events, unless you realise it’s running parallel with stories Greg Rucka was writing about Superman, and the ramifications are dealt with in Unconventional Warfare. Austen follows that with yet another story about Superman facing a massively powerful brute, and he’s also dropped hints that Doomsday is due. This lack of variety enables page after page of spectacular battles from Reis, but along with some decidedly odd character moments, and a lack of logic to the plots. Would even a power-crazed repo man drive the many miles out to Ma and Pa Kent’s Smallville farm to repossess their truck knowing its been paid off when he could do the same to someone else by staying in the city?
The inconsistencies in Austen’s writing make it no surprise that he’s removed before completing his story, replaced by someone using the alias J.D. Finn. There’s speculation that this is Austen under a different name, but the writing style indicates otherwise, using captions supplying the thoughts of a weakened Superman as he struggles to keep pace with Preus. For the final chapter “Finn” also conceives a clever way of ending the Doomsday and Gog plots begun in Wrath of Gog, and a smart contingency plan, which doesn’t seem to be the way Austen was heading with those plots. It’s more mayhem, with Reis again excelling, but with greater logic, and so more satisfying. However, one good chapter isn’t enough to raise In the Name of Gog to even average, with much of it a shambles, which is a shame considering the effort Reis puts in.