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



  1. Kristin

    So he’s a bratty punk kid now? That’s nice.

  2. Not really a “bratty kid”, but a really pissed off citizen.

  3. Morrison continues to show little to no respect for the actual CHARACTERS he gets his paws on. He is more than happy to dump the basic core traits of a character in order to get a cheap thrill out of them. This is why I love Geoff Johns work and why I can’t read Morrison without wincing at what he does to the characters. Superman does not hold criminals over ledges, that’s BATMAN. Superman does not break bones, again – that’s BATMAN. as for Batman, Batman does NOT use a gun, would never ever use a gun, like he had him do in Final Crisis for the super-cheap ‘Lost in Time’ Batman ‘dead’ plot line.

    If he wants to write a super powered Punisher story, then he should create a new character who fits that description. Not reconfigure Superman’s character to have him act that way.

    Sorry, but Morrison continues to be a talentless overrated hack who likes oversized plots, has no respect for the characters he writes, and thinks non-stop action sequences make up for his complete inability to write scenes that are actually touching on a human level.

  4. Aaron Nicewonger

    Do not want!
    I’m not happy about this at all.

    Why bother with the “reboot”? At all?
    Elseworlds, spin-offs, and alternates are just fine.
    As far as starting young and fresh, I felt that “Superman Earth One” was a marvelous book.
    That’ll be the start-over I stick with.
    Not this.

    BTW, on a different note…
    great write-up. Very informative, and entertaining.

  5. @Omar
    The Superman presented in this issue is a modern day version of the 1938 Superman. Yes, it’s different from the character of the Superman we knew last month, but this is a reboot, and keeping the same boy scout and spit curl Superman would be pointless.

    And I’m a huge Superman purist, but how about we see where this story goes than judge Grant Morrison on new things like being mean to a criminal.

    Also, how much Morrison have you read? His JLA work got a little blown up eventually, but All-Star Superman, Batman R.I.P. along with the rest of his run on Batman, and even his early stuff like Flex Mentallo are great. They’re comics that make you think. I feel like every Morrison hater I’ve talked to hates Morrison’s work because they don’t get it.

  6. I’m not the biggest Morrison supporter but I will say that he’s done some great work in the past but Batman R.I.P. and Final Crisis are two of the the most overhyped runs in comics. I’ve been pretty vocal about my feelings on those titles and I “got” them both. Though I did love the guy on Batman & Robin. I just think it shows that there’s different things for everyone and writers can do better on some titles than others.

    Oh, and on a side note, Batman did use guns wayyyyyy back in the day. It was for a very short time but he’s been seen packin’ heat on more than one occasion. Detective #33 and #35 immediately come to mind.

  7. […] and Broken Frontier, 8 of them at CBR, Batgirl and Action Comics at Newsarama, Action Comics at ComicAttack and finally Action Comics, Detective Comics and Batgirl over at Luke Milton’s site, […]

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