Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Action Comics #1

Oh snap, I got Action Comics #1, I can buy a jetski and relax now. Valued at over $100,000,000, Action Comics #1 features the first appearance of Superman. Unfortunately, I have a different Action Comics #1. Not even the longest-running American comic series was spared from DC's line-wide reboot.

This Action Comics, written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Rags Morales, serves as a reintroduction of Superman. Morrison, drawing inspiration from the character's Great Depression roots, has recast him as a champion of the underdog, saving homeless teens from wrecking balls and throwing wife beaters (the man-who-beats-a-woman kind, not the kind Italian-Americans favor as undershirts) into rivers. With his powers toned-down and his superhero experience at zero, this version of Clark Kent is intended to be more relatable and human than previous incarnations.

While it's not my preferred take on the character, it is a perfectly valid one. Morrison executes his vision skillfully. This is no surprise, as DC handed the keys to the character to one of the top writers in the industry. Morrison's written dozens of excellent comics, including the semi-recent "All-Star Superman". Action's protagonist is fairly well-developed in this one issue. The supporting cast doesn't get as much attention, and Morrison perhaps relies too heavily on readers knowing that Lex Luthor hates Superman, Lois Lane is a rival reporter and Jimmy Olsen is Clark's loyal friend.

But writing only half a comic makes (I'm Shakespearean up in this bitch). Providing the art is Rags Morales. The art is a mess. Characters have faces that appear to be melting, Superman occasionally looks manorexic, and everyone seems to have a horrible fucking haircut. He does manage to occasionally make it look like Superman is having fun though, so I award him half a point (out of a possible 8000 points).

Will I be buying the next issue: Yes, but largely on Morrison's track record.

Would a new reader be able to pick up this comic and understand it: Yes, except for counting a bit too much on Superman's place in the cultural canon, it's a straight-forward and accessible story.

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