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September 7, 2011 / MojosWork

Action Comics #1

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: The one and only Grant Morrison (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN) returns to Superman, joined by sensational artist Rags Morales (IDENTITY CRISIS), to bring you tales of The Man of Steel unlike any you’ve ever read! This extra-sized debut issue is the cornerstone of the entire DC Universe!

Writer: Grant Morrison

Artist: Rags Morales

Cover Price: $3.99

Page Count: 40

SPOILERS BELOW

I have NEVER been a fan of Superman. He. Is. Boring. But when DC Comics announced that they’d relaunch and revamp all their books after the events of the Flashpoint crossover, it gave me a reason to take notice. For someone who is relatively unfamiliar with the DC Universe outside of batman’s neck of the woods in Gotham City, this is the perfect jumping-on point. Fresh stories. Simplified continuity.  So I figured, why not give the most famous superhero a chance?

Enter Action Comics #1. First off, I’m bummed it cost four bucks. That’s a steep price to pay for a single issue. Even with the extra pages, I don’t think I’m necessarily getting extra value. Sometimes, there’s a lot of filler crap, like needless splash page that my eyes absorb within three seconds of first sight. Action Comics #1 doesn’t do that, though. I got my money’s worth, and here’s why:

Superman isn’t boring!
In this new world, the Man of Steel is part Spider-Man (an outsider feared and hunted by the authority) and part Hyperion, of Squadron Supreme fame, who ironically enough, is based on Superman in the first place. I know it sounds a bit confusing, but if you’re familiar with the Squadron, you’ll notice there is a similarly grim tone in Action. Furthermore, the world’s more famous boy scout has an edge, dangling a Metropolis lowlife off a building to get a confession out of him. Oh, Clark, how very Batman of you!

The creative team works
I’m not familiar with artist Rags Morales’ work, but his visual style is equal parts detailed and clean. Every character has a distinctly different face, which is something not every mainstream artist can pull off so convincingly. Colorist Brad Anderson deserves a lot of credit for utilizing a smart, modern palette that adds depth and preserves the integrity of Morales’ pencils.

Sharp artistry by penciler, inker and colorist. Anderson's lens flares and blaring are particularly outstanding.

I’ve never been a fan of Grant “re-read this 11 times and maybe you’ll understand what’s going on” Morrison, but for once, I was able to stay on his train without running off the rails. That’s more than I can say for Superman, who was on the wrong end of the express subway, essentially turned into a massive bullet courtesy of… you guessed it, Lex Luthor.

What’s old is new again
Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent best friends? Clark and Lois working for rival newspapers? Our hero living slightly better than a starving artist (more Spidey comparisons will abound)? And of course, the grittier Man of Steel? It’s all here and it’s all a breath of fresh.

Yes, I will buy Action Comics #2.

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Superman on Foogos: Check out my Man of Steel artwork made of watermelon, pineapple and blueberries. It was the first of my Superhero Foogos, and quite frankly, after only a few months, it already doesn’t hold up to my standards. Looks like I’ll have to make another.

 

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