“Last Son” launches Donner/Johns “Action Comics” run

On sale today is Action Comics #844 which begins the “Last Son” story arc written by Richard Donner and Geoff Johns, with art by Adam Kubert. Though he directed the 1978 film Superman, starring Christopher Reeve, the issue marks Donner’s first foray into comic books.

“Last Son” reveals a plot proposed by Donner and Johns for the fifth Superman movie, which Warner Brothers rejected prior to greenlighting Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. Ironically, Superman Returns turned out, in many ways, to be a tribute to Donner’s previous Superman work.

Not only is 2006 the “Year of Superman” for superfans, but the same holds true for Donner. Next month, the long-awaited Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut makes its debut–as a DVD. While filming the first Superman, Donner also filmed many scenes for the sequel. When budget and time ran short on the first film, the sequel was put on hold in order to complete the first one.

Superman became a blockbuster, but creative differences with the movie’s producers led to Donner’s replacement as director on Superman II. Richard Lester took over the reins and refilmed much of the movie, which was released in 1980.

The move did not seem to hurt Donner’s career. He went on to direct all four installments of the Lethal Weapon series and executive produce the first X-Men movie.

Johns, who once interned for Donner, wrote the recent DC Comics event Infinite Crisis–the sequel to 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths.