Comic Publishers

September 7, 2011

DC Comics Reviews: Action Comics #1

Thirteen of DC Comics’ new #1 issues launched this week, and arguably the most anticipated title is Action Comics with Grant Morrison’s return to Superman. If you’ve been paying attention to the previews for this book, Superman’s t-shirt and jeans costume will tell you this isn’t the God-like Kal-El of Morrison’s All-Star Superman, but rather a Superman the Superman-detractors always wanted the character to be. A more vulnerable, more human, but still heroic superhero.

Action Comics #1

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Rags Morales
Colors: Brad Anderson
Ink: Rick Bryant
Editor: Matt Idelson

Morrison takes Superman back to his 1938 roots in a big way. Like the Superman from over 70 years ago, this hero is a champion of social justice. He doesn’t mind bending the law in the name of common decency. We see him forcing a confession out of a local business tycoon who was neglecting safety standards for his employees, stop a wrecking ball from tearing down a building that still housed people, and put the breaks to a run away subway train, but not with the same ease and finesse of the Superman of recent past. He’s the ultimate defender against bullies, and he has an attitude to go with it. Superman isn’t afraid to get mouthy with the criminals he’s dealing with or even the police chasing him.

When I first saw this new working class kind of Superman costume, I was pretty turned off, but realizing that this hero is more like the local strongman helping out his community and not quite yet the Jesus protector from a distant planet, it made perfect sense. He’s a Superman Bruce Springsteen can be proud of.

Clark Kent is back to the single life, as Lois Lane is not so much of a love interest as she is a rival reporter. Jimmy Olsen is ever the goofy teenager, and we even caught a brief Legion reference which I hope comes up again in future issues. And of course, Lex Luthor is observing the new “Superman creature” from a government laboratory. I really like this less crazy, less supervillain, more diabolical genius Luthor.

Rags Morales certainly does this first issue justice. Superman enters the story in a very exciting, yet direct and to-the-point fashion. Most of the panels are pulled in close to the characters and actions, which is Morales’s strength. Once too much is happening on a panel, his work comes off a bit sloppy.

I’m a life long Superman fan, and this title is the breath of fresh air I’m sure DC was going for. I’m very curious to see how Superman haters will react to finally getting a Superman who is not so powerful, and a lot more interesting. The final page has already sold me a copy of the next issue, and I can’t wait to see where Grant and Rags take us.

Andrew Hurst