I started my reading with Action Comics #1 this week. After Justice League #1 last week set the pace for super heroes being a new presence in the DCnU, I was ready for more of the “dawn” of the new DCU with Superman in Action. Written by comics legend Grant Morrison and drawn by Rags Morales (perhaps best known for Identity Crisis) with inks by Rick Bryant, Action Comics #1 successfully reinvents Superman for a new generation, while still carrying much of his core and supporting characters with him in this new incarnation. Superman has been many things in his history, from the world’s first and greatest hero to the worst kind of jerk. Now in Action he’s being reinvented all over again. He’s not quite the boy scout anymore, but he still is pretty super.
While the book presents a fresh take on Superman, Supes carries an attitude of standing up for the little guy and the rich receiving the same justice the poor do—something that is very true to the roots of the character. What’s different is that this Superman is younger, brasher, and does the right thing even if he has to break the law to do it. Hell, this Superman is more Green Arrow than Green Arrow is in his own first issue! The issue begins with Superman intimidating a wealthy yet corrupt businessman who has broken the law in his business practices, and getting him to confess as an army of police swarm to his aid. This leads to a whole “Catch me if you can!” confrontation between Superman and the police, while General Lane and Lex Luthor watch on, with Lex promising the General he can bring down Superman quickly.
Superman’s costume in Action is different than the Kryptonian battle armor he’ll be wearing in the Superman comic and is basically an “S” shirt, jeans, work boots and his cape, which Morrison has gone on record to say is also his baby blanket. It’s simple, but I like it. It seems to be something more akin to what a real life super hero would put on for the first time opposed to wearing spandex. Also, thanks to Rags Morales’ pencil work and Rick Bryant’s inks, Superman looks younger, less beefy and a lot more humble in the face of impossible odds. Not to mention that the art for the action sequences are astounding.
Jimmy Olson looks a little different sporting a bowl hair cut with no freckles or bowtie, but Lois is still definitely Lois, and acting like herself full throttle. Now she works for a rival news organization than Clark Kent (who still seems to be working for the Daily Planet getting all the scoops on Superman), and gets into all kinds of trouble that leads to her needing to be rescued.
I had high hopes for this book. It wasn’t at all what I expected, but it was great in ways I was not expecting. Superman, Jimmy, Lois and Lex Luthor are all there simultaneously the same yet different. Luthor’s motives for getting involved with General Lane are interesting; Lois’ distrust of Clark Kent and their rivalry is also a neat facet and the place Clark calls home is a far cry from the Fortress of Solitude. Best of all, Superman is younger and less experienced; still in full control of his developing powers yet not the cocky-know-it-all we’ve all come to know over the past several decades. There’s also some allusion to things we don’t get to see in the first issue, which is tantalizing.
There are super heroic moments where we see Superman at his best going all out, reinforcing the awesomeness of this character and his never ending fight, old yet suddenly new again. It’s exciting to be this jazzed about a Superman book, because really, it’s been a long, LONG time since I’ve read one I’ve liked this much (maybe not since Morrison’s and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman). Superman is a hero I think many people take for granted, but in Action Comics #1 we see the essence of what makes this character great. Morrison has written things I love and things I’m less crazy about, but he’s doing a phenomenal job here.
I did get a little confused during one sequence, as there is a bomb, an armed mobster and a runaway train confronting Jimmy and Lois almost all at once and I wasn’t exactly sure what was happening until re-reading it a couple times. There’s so much going on in the sequence of panels at that part that a casual quick read may leave you wondering too. However, the rest of the book is pretty straight forward and keeps you hooked and eagerly turning pages.
Like Justice League #1 it’s a quick roller coaster ride of fun that is over too soon. There is no way this book will not be on my pull list in the months ahead. The only real bad news? Other than copies pulled for customers who reserved them, Super-Fly is all sold out of Action Comics #1. Orders for Action #1 are sold out too, but fortunately a second printing has been announced so be sure to ask the guys at Super-Fly about that.
I like this new Superman. I think you will too.