Greetings friends!! Sorry I missed you guys yesterday, but I had tons of comics and video games too play and you know how that is…or maybe you don’t….Today, I’ve decided to highlight one of the books that has become one of my early favorites in DC Comic’s new 52 initiative. Action Comics is a pioneering super hero comic that originally gave us Superman back in 1938. As a matter of fact, if you look at the numbers of the police cars in the above cover, they give us the original year that the comic premiered. When DC announced that they would be relaunching this title with writer extraordinaire Grant Morrison at the helm, it immediately piqued my interest.
Superman is a polarizing figure in today’s comic world. Many hate the man of steel due to his astronomical power levels. I personally don’t believe that Superman is a bad character. I think that he’s simply in need of a writer that can put him in compelling situations. Before DC’s relaunch, Superman was basically a god that had managed to marry his dream girl and had a secret identity as a pulitzer prize winning journalist. The Superman of just a month ago felt like a character at the end of his story. He had become…..boring. That’s what makes Grant Morrison and Rag Morales’ take on this character so poignant and relevant. At a time when America itself feels more vulnerable, they’ve done the same thing to America’s most recognizable superhero.
Most non-comic collectors can give you a rundown on Superman’s capabilities. Flight; Super-strength; invulnerability; x-ray; microscopic and heat vision as well as super-breath and super-hearing. He basically has the ability to do almost everything. Grant Morrison’s first stroke of genius in this series is too take the character back to a point where all those abilities hadn’t fully developed yet. Not many people remember that Superman was originally able to only leap tall buildings in a single bound, not fly over them. This is the Superman we get in this comic. A superhuman to be sure, but a superhuman with real weaknesses. This gives what Superman is doing a real sense of danger. When he has to stop a speeding train, you’re not sure if he’s going to be strong enough to do it and that’s what makes scenes where he’s doing something heroic work. The audience now feels as though Superman may not automatically save the day.
Other Characters get a makeover as well, including Superman’s main foil, Lex Luthor. Luthor, has in recent times become more of a Super-Villain, instead of being what he was originally meant to be. Lex and Superman are flip sides of a coin. Where Superman represents our ideals and us at our best, Luthor represents our more self-centered aspects. They are opposites in the way they are presented physically as well. Superman always represented us in our peak physical condition while Luthor represents the same as far as our mental capabilities. Lex Luthor in Grant Morrison’s imagination is condescending and completely self-centered. He’s also jealous of Superman’s abilities and loathes the fact that he’s out of shape and bald while Superman looks like a supermodel. If heros are judge based off of their villains, then Grant Morrison’s Superman has his work cut out for him.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about what Rags Morales brings to this book. His interpretation of the characters feels very modern and at the same time harkens back to a simpler time period.
Morales gives this comic a sort of kinetic feel. The first issue just feels like full throttle action movie and isn’t that what you want from ACTION COMICS?! Superman feels like a character with so much pent up power and at the same time he’s able to convey the arrogance of a character like Luthor who sports a more frumpish appearance. He also makes it so that you see the change in how Superman carries himself differently as Clark Kent. He goes from cocky and self-assured to a nerd with messy hair; baggy clothes and a slouch faster than a speeding bullet. I could literally go on all day talking about Rag’s artwork on this book, but I don’t want to give you guys any spoilers.
The New 52 does not by any means knock it out of the park on every book, but this book stands head and shoulders above the rest in my opinion. Grant Morrison and Rags Morales have made the man of steel fun again, by taking a back to basics approach that works. The best part is that it’s only two issues in!!! I’m not even sure why you’re still reading!! Go on!! Go pick it up!!!!