By: Matthew Rapier
Depending on the person you ask, the New 52 is either the worst thing to happen for Superman comics or the best. I have a friend that was not high on the character before the New 52 and finally started reading Superman titles in the company shift. Another friend has despised every single story involving this “new” edge Superman and refuses to support this version of him. I think I fall somewhere in between those two extremes.
Grant Morrison’s Action Comics has easily been the strongest of Superman titles in the relaunched DC Universe, no questioning that. The character was in a bit of a rut after World of New Krypton and rebooting him was probably a good thing overall. Morrison started off his run very strong, showing Clark/Superman as a champion for the weak and regular Joe much like his roots from 1938. Something derailed the titles for me when he visited the Legion of Superheroes in a sort of two issue interlude of the story. It really felt out-of-place and left me more confused and almost to the point where I didn’t want to read the title anymore.
With issues #10, #11, and #12 Morrison is getting himself back on track to what made the title so fun and fresh in the first place. He really makes Clark a relatable guy and gives him such a personality that makes you pull for him to come out the victor in his situations. He introduces a new villain called Nimrod the Hunter who sets out to be the first to kill Superman, but the character soon has no purpose as Clark Kent supposedly died in a man’s suicide bombing at the Daily Star.
Superman discusses the ordeal with Batman stating that he felt maybe he outlived Clark and was unsure where he should go in his life from here. Batman promised to help handle the situation for him as he tried to figure it out. He dons another identity named Johnny Clark who is a fireman so he can basically save people 24/7 without having many questions asked about it. An updated version of Captain Comet is introduced and teases the Multitude coming to Earth before Superman is able to send him off elsewhere in a teleport. Batman gives him a USB drive that he scans quickly and realizes how much Clark did to help people’s lives in reporting the truth and decides to continue being Clark Kent from now on.
That two-part Legion story really put me off from this book. I thought I was done and it upset me because of how much I was enjoying the title up until that point. I have never really been a fan of a young costumed Clark as Superboy visiting the Legion so maybe that had a bit to do with it, and the fact that it was just damn confusing to me. Morrison has a tendency to craft some radical stories and this one just felt out there. Luckily he came up with this great run on these three issues focusing a lot on Clark and how much he actually means to the people around him.
These issues did struggle in the art area though. Rags Morales did amazing work on Identity Crisis so his being on this book was an exciting announcement. It seems like the grind of this monthly comic has really bogged him down though. It comes off very sloppy and sketchy throughout, even when he had help from other artists in the issues. It still isn’t on the level of worst art I’ve seen so luckily that doesn’t hinder the enjoyment of Morrison’s writing.
A fine three issue run here sets things back on course for Action Comics.
Overall Grade: 7/10