Written by GRANT MORRISON / Art by RAGS MORALES & RICK BRYANT
Colors by BRAD ANDERSON / Letters by PATRICK BROSSEAU
Superman makes his first full appearance in the DC relaunch and Grant Morrison seems committed to bring the quintessential Kryptonian back to his roots in Action Comics #1.
In Grant Morrison’s recently released book (the all words, no pictures type for those of you wondering) Supergods, the writer takes some time to review the Man of Steel’s origin. He wasn’t always a detached, god-like alien from another planet fighting off cosmic threats the likes of which the world has never known(!). In the early days, he was a real working class hero. He fought corrupt politicians, sleazy slumlords and gregarious gangsters. He did what he thought was right regardless of the consequence to big business or the government. He was there for the little guy. Morrison is bringing that guy back.
As with many of the DC relaunch titles, the timeline of events seems somewhat skewed. Justice League #1 was set five years in the past but Supes was already in the familiar blue and red digs. Action Comics is set before then but the world still seems relatively the same. In this iteration, Clark rocks a mini cape, S-shield t-shirt, jeans and some boots: the perfect uniform for a re-imagining of a Golden Age Superman with higher priorities than how he looks. (Although it kind of makes me pray that he ends up with a superhero tailor who redesigns his costume in later stories a la Superfolks and The Incredibles.)
All of the classic Superman tropes are present; Lex Luthor lurking in the shadows, Supes stopping trains, leaping rather than flying, Jimmy Olsen and Lois in familiar roles that should progress into the characters as we know and love them and a Clark Kent who is as awkward and good hearted as Superman is confident. Morrison is truly setting this up to be a Superman for a new generation where Clark’s classic do-gooder nature wins out above all else.
Rags Morales handles the art on this one and while he does a commendable job, I do have one hang-up. One thing that kept taking me out of the story was the fact that it never seemed like we could tell Clark’s age. He goes from clean-cut and confident 20-something to disheveled high school freshman in a matter of panels. The lack of consistency is jarring but ultimately small potatoes considering Morales’ mastery of the world that surrounds Superman and his spot-on Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.
Action Comics #1 had high expectations before the relaunch considering the superstar talent involved and thankfully, it delivered. Hopefully, it continues to carve out it’s own niche in the Superman mythos with quality stories that support and provide a certain cohesiveness across DC’s new family of Super books.
WRITING: 4 / ART: 4 / OVERALL: 4