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Superman: Action Comics, Volume 1: Superman and the Men of Steel

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DC Comics took a bold step and renumbered the longest-running monthly comic, Action Comics, to #1 for the first time since 1938 as part of the DC Comics—The New 52 event. With this renumbering comes a new creative team featuring comics legend Grant Morrison and fan-favorite artist Rag Morales. While Morrison is no stranger to writing the Superman character, having won three DC Comics took a bold step and renumbered the longest-running monthly comic, Action Comics, to #1 for the first time since 1938 as part of the DC Comics—The New 52 event. With this renumbering comes a new creative team featuring comics legend Grant Morrison and fan-favorite artist Rag Morales. While Morrison is no stranger to writing the Superman character, having won three Eisner Award's for his work on All-Star Superman, Action Comics will be something new for both old and new readers and present humanity's first encounters with Superman, before he became one of the World's Greatest Super Heroes. Set a few years in the past, it's a bold new take on a classic hero. Collecting: Action Comics 1-8


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DC Comics took a bold step and renumbered the longest-running monthly comic, Action Comics, to #1 for the first time since 1938 as part of the DC Comics—The New 52 event. With this renumbering comes a new creative team featuring comics legend Grant Morrison and fan-favorite artist Rag Morales. While Morrison is no stranger to writing the Superman character, having won three DC Comics took a bold step and renumbered the longest-running monthly comic, Action Comics, to #1 for the first time since 1938 as part of the DC Comics—The New 52 event. With this renumbering comes a new creative team featuring comics legend Grant Morrison and fan-favorite artist Rag Morales. While Morrison is no stranger to writing the Superman character, having won three Eisner Award's for his work on All-Star Superman, Action Comics will be something new for both old and new readers and present humanity's first encounters with Superman, before he became one of the World's Greatest Super Heroes. Set a few years in the past, it's a bold new take on a classic hero. Collecting: Action Comics 1-8

30 review for Superman: Action Comics, Volume 1: Superman and the Men of Steel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jayson

    (B+) 79% | Good Notes: An atavistic, vulnerable, hard-luck Superman, done very Harry Potter, more The Boy Who Lived than Man of Tomorrow.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    4.5 stars I've always liked Superboy more than I liked Superman. Why? Because Conner wasn't such a goody-goody. He had attitude. Also, he wasn't an all-powerful god. He was still stuck at 'able to leap tall buildings in a single bound'. I have a sneaking feeling I'm not the only one who has felt, at one time or another, that Superman was a douche. A douche clad in red and blue spandex. I also think I'm not the only one who has been chomping at the bit, waiting to see if Morris/>

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    A few years back, my son and I were watching the DC Animated Justice League series. My son would ask me to explain certain facets of the character’s background. Considering DC’s convoluted continuity, it was less awkward explaining sex, than it was Hawkman’s origin story. With the DC’s New 52 re-launch, perhaps one of their goals is to somehow begin fresh for the new reader. I don’t know. This is my first experience reading the New 52. I’m impressed. Grant Morrison has more great Supe A few years back, my son and I were watching the DC Animated Justice League series. My son would ask me to explain certain facets of the character’s background. Considering DC’s convoluted continuity, it was less awkward explaining sex, than it was Hawkman’s origin story. With the DC’s New 52 re-launch, perhaps one of their goals is to somehow begin fresh for the new reader. I don’t know. This is my first experience reading the New 52. I’m impressed. Grant Morrison has more great Superman ideas than anyone. I’ve been reading a lot of Superman lately. I’ve recently finished Morrison’s brilliant All Star Superman. In All Star Superman, he was able to craft a limited run of Superman stories that was able to touch on many past ideas and storylines and yet still remain fresh. In this version, Morrison hits the ground running and weaves bits and pieces of Superman’s origin story through-out the narrative. Superman is initially portrayed as a bull in a china shop, awkwardly trying to fight each and every crime that occurs in Metropolis. This rambunctious approach to crime and the orchestrated backlash against him makes Superman more feared than respected. Of course, the greatest nemesis in all of Superman’s different continuities, Lex Luthor, trumpets the “Superman is an alien and all aliens are evil ergo Superman is evil” theorem, thereby fanning the flames of hatred. Morrison adds some interesting touches: Superman is not invulnerable. He bruises, he bleeds, and he gets knocked unconscious. His Clark Kent is a nerdy twenty something; a peer of Jimmy Olsen. When he initially becomes Superman, the cape he wears is the blanket he was wrapped in during his rocket flight to Earth, thus doing what thousands of kids over the years have done when they have imitated him. One constant in the mainstream Superman arcs (and it is no different here) is that he is raised by the Kents, a good, wholesome couple who encourage him to use his powers for the good of mankind. What would happen if Kal-El ended up with a different set of parents: a drunken, abusive father; an unstable bi-polar mother; survivalists; religious fanatics...?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bookwraiths

    Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews Up in the sky, look: it’s a bird. It’s a plane. IT’S SUPERMAN! And he is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. When I was a kid that is how I always thought of Superman. He wasn’t omnipotent or superhumanly brilliant or god-like. He was just a guy from another planet who was gifted with some amazing powers by our sun. Powers he tried to use to help other people. Somehow, though, that simpler Su Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews Up in the sky, look: it’s a bird. It’s a plane. IT’S SUPERMAN! And he is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. When I was a kid that is how I always thought of Superman. He wasn’t omnipotent or superhumanly brilliant or god-like. He was just a guy from another planet who was gifted with some amazing powers by our sun. Powers he tried to use to help other people. Somehow, though, that simpler Superman got lost, as writer after writer made him more and more powerful until he was basically god flying around Metropolis saving the planet every other issue. And, to be honest, I got fairly bored with that guy. In this revamped New 52 Action Comics, Grant Morrison tries to take Supes back to the good old days of yesteryear. First, he makes Superman more relatable by stripping him of his god-like omnipotence. Sure, he is still superhumanly fast, strong, and can leap tall buildings, but he also gets hurt and can’t fly away into the sunset. Second, Clark isn’t amazingly wise and all knowledgeable. Rather, this young Supes acts like exactly what he is: a young man on his own in the big city for the first time, who is realizing that his abilities can make a difference in the world. And lastly, Clark doesn’t have some master plan. He is making it all up as he goes along, saving the day in his blue jeans and t-shirt. Besides Supes, Morrison also does a lot to freshen up the supporting characters. Lois is still the ambitious reporter, but now she barely notices Clark and doesn’t fall in love with an unknown vigilante jumping buildings or need him rescuing her all the time. Jimmy has turned into Clark Kent’s friend, not a Superman fanboy. The Daily Planet is put more in line with today’s entertainment reality. And the villain Brainic is livened up by becoming “the Internet.” Hell, even the Legion of Superheroes is reintroduced in a pretty cool way. Unfortunately, with Morrison’s brilliance comes his foibles, and they definitely make an appearance here. Lots of unnecessary stuff goes on in the story for the sole purpose of making things more confusing. Story arcs are left at cliffhangers while the writer takes us off on a side trip to no where. And important parts of the narrative (Like why everyone hates the alien Superman when no one knows he is an alien or have any reason to hate him?) are glossed over so that Morrison can tell the story he wants, reason be damned. One thing that Morrison’s foibles didn’t affect was the art. Overall, it was very good, and the whole blue jeans and t-shirt costume of this younger Supes is executed very well. Sure, Clark looks like Harry Potter at times, but it didn’t ruin the story for me or anything. As you can probably tell, I liked this book. It was a very creative devolution of Superman the character, introduced some much needed humanity back into him, and did a great job of entertaining as Morrison did the former things. Ultimately, though, the writers foibles kept me from loving it as many others have.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    General Lane and Lex Luthor team up to capture the new super hero calling himself Superman. But is the deal Luthor has made with an alien intelligence worth the price? I know this is the comic book equivalent of blasphemy but I've never much cared for Superman. In fact, his death and/or replacement is about the only thing that's ever made me buy his books i n the monthly format. When the New 52 hit, I thought Superman might have suddenly become interesting. Did he? Yes. Gra General Lane and Lex Luthor team up to capture the new super hero calling himself Superman. But is the deal Luthor has made with an alien intelligence worth the price? I know this is the comic book equivalent of blasphemy but I've never much cared for Superman. In fact, his death and/or replacement is about the only thing that's ever made me buy his books i n the monthly format. When the New 52 hit, I thought Superman might have suddenly become interesting. Did he? Yes. Grant Morrison returned Superman to his roots in this volume. Gone is the near omnipotence that I've found boring for decades. He's much more like one of his inspirations, Hugo Danner of Philip Wylie's Gladiator. He can be hurt. Not only that, he actually has a personality for a change. Grant Morrison has taken Superman and made him a crusader and activist of sorts. The stories in this volume are okay to pretty good. They suffer from a bit of Morrison-itis. A ton of things going on, not a lot of focus. Still, Morrison reintroduces a ton of classic Superman characters and concepts in this volume and actually makes Superman a fairly fresh and interesting character for the first time since John Byrne's reboot in 1986. I like what he's done to freshen up Lois, Jimmy, and the Daily Planet. Not too sure about the adult Legion of Superheroes yet but we'll see. The artwork is very good, the best Superman's had in years. I actually like the t-shirt and jeans costume quite a bit. The costume minus the red underroos seems incomplete. Maybe it needs some black or something. Like I said, this is probably as interested in a Superman comic as I'm ever going to get. Maybe dying won't wind up being the best thing to ever happen to the Superman character by the time Morrison's run has finished. At the end of the day, though, it's still Superman. 3.5 stars.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dirk Grobbelaar

    The opening issues of the new 52 Action Comics reboot are actually quite cool. We see a jeans and t-shirt clad Superman in his first attempts at fighting crime. Like in the original Action Comics, he can’t fly yet, but he can “leap buildings with a single bound”. It’s quite a bit of fun, really. What’s also interesting is the arrogance he displays here. Not quite the Superman we’re used to. And then things start going awry. The stakes get upped when a mysterious alien entity arrives t The opening issues of the new 52 Action Comics reboot are actually quite cool. We see a jeans and t-shirt clad Superman in his first attempts at fighting crime. Like in the original Action Comics, he can’t fly yet, but he can “leap buildings with a single bound”. It’s quite a bit of fun, really. What’s also interesting is the arrogance he displays here. Not quite the Superman we’re used to. And then things start going awry. The stakes get upped when a mysterious alien entity arrives to “collect” Metropolis (yes, you guessed it, by shrinking it and putting it in a bottle). Then… the story gets interrupted with a sequence from the future with the Superman Revenge Squad and the Legion of Superheroes. This bit was jarring, since it completely broke the momentum of the original story, which was already hinging on a cliffhanger. Now, I need to at least mention that there is a reason for this sequence and it ties back to the story at hand… but still. Important – I read the issues separately in order, but they’re collected differently in the graphic novel, with the future sequence at the end, which makes a lot more sense. So why not just take out the above paragraph? Because there may be some other readers out there who had the same experience, and who don’t necessarily know that the order was changed in the collected edition. Everything obviously gets wrapped up satisfactorily, but not before it gets weird. How weird? Well, I don’t know, to be honest. I struggled to follow the events aboard the Collector ship, but it could have been because I was otherwise preoccupied. The story at this point features John Corben (who used to be Metallo) and, I don’t know, was that Brainiac? Quite bizarre. Something that is notable, however, is that the creative team is going to lengths to make Superman more relatable. He bruises, he gets angry, he laughs (I did too, when he’s asked what he really looks like – I can’t say more for fear of spoilers). The thing is: there are actually a lot of interesting ideas here (it’s Morrison writing after all), but I felt like I was being bludgeoned with them. That’s to say, the story felt incredibly “busy” towards the end. I really enjoyed the opening scenes of this story, though. In the end, it was likeable enough, albeit a bit confusing at times. Still, lots of potential. I’m giving it 3.5 stars, but rounded down to 3 for the occasional lack of clarity.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    Grant Morrison’s re-imagining of Action Comics takes its cue from the 1938 comics where Superman first appeared. In those comics like in this one Superman can’t fly yet, he doesn’t have all of the powers we’re used to seeing in him, and seems to always be lifting heavy objects like cars or wrecking balls. Also, as he’s a young man (early 20s) he isn’t as wise or experienced as the Superman of, say, “All Star Superman” (also written by Morrison) where he displayed a profound understanding of huma Grant Morrison’s re-imagining of Action Comics takes its cue from the 1938 comics where Superman first appeared. In those comics like in this one Superman can’t fly yet, he doesn’t have all of the powers we’re used to seeing in him, and seems to always be lifting heavy objects like cars or wrecking balls. Also, as he’s a young man (early 20s) he isn’t as wise or experienced as the Superman of, say, “All Star Superman” (also written by Morrison) where he displayed a profound understanding of humanity and life in the universe. Here he is an exuberant young man energised at living alone for the first time in a city and realising that he is the most powerful being on the planet. He’s using that power to make things better for everyone without a real plan in his head – he just keeps going, keeps moving: Action Comics! There’s a lot to like in this book with Grant Morrison at the helm. His masterful book “All Star Superman” was a defining book for the character and showed Morrison understood Superman like few writers have ever done. That said, “Action Comics” isn’t as brilliant as “All Star” but has much to recommend it. The set pieces are wonderful like the Krypton sequence where we see Kal-El’s parents prepare their only son to be saved from their utopian dying planet. Krypton is really beautifully imagined here looking like a delicate cross between fantasy and sci-fi. Morrison gives the reader an impression of a larger, developed society and culture with overtones of Earth’s current environmental problems, largely ignored by too many people. Jonathan and Martha Kent’s encounter with Kal-el for the first time is also well written and expanded upon in one of a few mini-stories included at the back of the book written by Sholly Fisch to make them more rounded characters and their circumstances all the more moving when they encounter this alien baby. Morrison gets things off to a running start with the classic Superman villain Brainiac appearing in all his evil-collecting glory as he scoops up part of Metropolis for his collection of cities within jars – a fate which befell Superman’s Kryptonian city Kandor. I liked that Morrison had Brainac say that he is “known on many worlds as different things – on Earth, I am called Internet”. It reframed the character in a new, chilling context. Lex Luthor is of course an ever present force of arrogant nature, this time around swilling energy drinks and looking kinda paunchy, but still retaining that arrogant way of speaking to others that makes his character strangely likeable. There’s also an army guy in a robot suit for Supes to battle so there’s no shortage of Action going on in this inaugural first book Action Comics. As for Superman, the character is essentially the same with a few subtle changes. The famous blue, red and yellow suit is changed so it doesn’t look like he’s wearing bright red underpants – it’s now just a blue onesie. Rags Morales makes Clark Kent look a big Harry Potter-like, and Morrison makes it so Clark and Lois don’t immediately fall in love. It seems neither really notice each other at all. And Jimmy Olsen isn’t Superman’s pal but Clark Kent’s. Subtle changes but nothing deal-breaking and nothing that detracts from the overall stories inside; it’s still the same brilliant Superman despite the reboot. While it’s not as brilliant as “All Star Superman”, “Action Comics” is still an incredibly creative and carefully thought out reimagining by one of the all-star comics writers that ever was. It’s an entertaining read that introduces the character to a new generation while setting him up for larger and more intense future stories.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party

    Superman and the Men of Steel is a fun and breezy adventure. The story may not be more powerful than a locomotive, but the action certainly moves faster than a speeding bullet! A man from another planet walks among us. He believes that truth should never be silenced. He believes that peace should be given to everyone, not just those who can afford it. He fights for people who are unable to fight for themselves. But when Lex Luthor launches a public campaign against this visitor from another world, people ofSteel Superman and the Men of Steel is a fun and breezy adventure. The story may not be more powerful than a locomotive, but the action certainly moves faster than a speeding bullet! A man from another planet walks among us. He believes that truth should never be silenced. He believes that peace should be given to everyone, not just those who can afford it. He fights for people who are unable to fight for themselves. But when Lex Luthor launches a public campaign against this visitor from another world, people of begin to fear and distrust the being they know only as "Superman". So much so, that some of them submit themselves to unsafe experiments or join the fanatical group of super-powered criminals dubbed "The Anti-Superman Army". All this raises one question...who should we really be afraid of, the man who can bend steel with his bare hands, or the people who find his ideals so alien?!? Overall, I found Grant Morrison's "New 52" reboot to be a lot of fun. While Superman still espouses the values of truth and justice like he always has, it was very entertaining to watch a younger Clark Kent ditch the old "mild-mannered" quality in exchange for a much more dymanic and outspoken personality. This is a Clark Kent who truly feels and acts like an intrepid reporter determined to bring people the whole story, and who refuses to let anyone silence him. In past Superman tales, his superhero persona was often far more interesting than his alter-ego, but this time around, it was Clark Kent who really leapt off the page. There were some other nice character touches, too. I particularly loved Lex Luthor's insane rant about how dangerous aliens supposedly are to us..."The brown tree snake introduced to the U.S. territory of Guam right after World War Two caused dozens of indigenous birds and reptile species to become extinct. The cane toad, sent to Australia as a pest control agent, decimated local biodiversity. Non-native strains will destroy entire ecologies, given the opportunity!" This bigoted, xenophobic version of Luthor is far more dangerous or frightening than any version ever seen before...even back when Lex Luthor had his own Legion of Doom... "We'll use this growth ray to turn Superman into a 100-foot tall giant...that will stop him!" - I wish I could say that I'm making this up, but this actually happened in a SuperFriends episode! Sad...but not nearly as sad as the fact that I know that! Grant Morrison has always been known for his creative writing, and this is no exception. Some moments are too imaginative and bizarre not to love, like when the Anti-Superman Army's hiding place is revealed...don't click on the spoiler if you want to be surprised when you read the book itself(view spoiler)[A teleport rifle is used to fire a microscopic lead pellet into Superman's brain...the pellet is hollow, and inside there is a tesseract space big enough to fit 30 people! (hide spoiler)] Morrison also came up with clever spins on villains like Brianiac and Metallo. Since I grew up on comic books where Metallo was often referred to as "the man with the Kryptonite heart", this longtime superhero fan got a huge kick out of it when John Corben was turned into the robotic Metallo monster and announced, "I have no heart"! The story is also very fast-paced...in fact, the reason I'm not giving this a full 5 stars is because it's a little too fast-paced! The biggest problem I had with this book is that the events unfold so quickly, crucial moments are often glossed over to the point that it lessens their impact. The idea of the people of Metropolis turning against Superman because they distrust having an alien in their midst could have been a powerful analogy for racism, but when their protest just sprang up out of nowhere and so little time was spent exploring this development before Superman becomes their hero again, it just felt contrived. Character development was stunted at times as well. John Corben apparently agrees to the "Metallo" experiment in order to impress Lois Lane, but since he and Lois only have one brief moment together in the whole story, Corben's downfall was not nearly as dramatic as it should have been. And speaking of Lois Lane, no character is more shortchanged by Morrison's "faster-than-the-speed-of-light" writing style than her! Lois appears so sporadically throughout the story, she serves very little purpose and has zero chemistry with Superman. I know the New 52 promised a revamped continuity where Lois and Clark weren't necessarily an item anymore, but considering how important Lois has always been to the Superman mythos, it just seemed like she should have played a much more significant role in this story... Please note: Originally, this space was going to feature a picture of Lois and Superman kissing, but since so many pictures are getting flagged on GoodReads lately for totally ridiculous reasons, I decided I better play it safe. So, here's a completely unflagable cute lil' bunny, instead! "Superman and the Men of Steel" may not be the greatest Superman story ever told, but it's still one worth telling! If you're looking for an exciting Superman adventure, you should have a lot of fun reading this one. I did!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Artemy

    Grant Morrison‘s underrated Action Comics starts with a blast. It's the origin of the New52 Superman, and it’s done in a way that honours his best traits and traditions, and at the same time modernises some other aspects of him without perverting or betraying the spirit of the character. This is the first public outing of Superman. He's very young, he does things spontaneously and without thinking, he's a bit of a brat. But he also has his heart in the right place, he just doesn't have the Grant Morrison‘s underrated Action Comics starts with a blast. It's the origin of the New52 Superman, and it’s done in a way that honours his best traits and traditions, and at the same time modernises some other aspects of him without perverting or betraying the spirit of the character. This is the first public outing of Superman. He's very young, he does things spontaneously and without thinking, he's a bit of a brat. But he also has his heart in the right place, he just doesn't have the experience to always make the right call. It's a brilliant take on a younger version of Superman, as opposed to an already established iconic version in All-Star. It's probably not as good an origin as Birthright, but Action Comics does something different and very interesting — it tries to give Superman a consistent character arc and continuity, something that Superman comics struggled with over the years. Of course, these attempts were mostly undone later by terrible editorial decisions from DC and incompetent creators who followed Morrison on Action and (especially) the main Superman New 52 title. Regardless, Morrison's foundational work on Action Comics was rock solid, and he wrote the best damn Superman book he possibly could. I mean, this comic is just so much fun! It really puts Action in Action Comics. Superman is constantly moving, running, fighting, catching bullets, jumping into space... It's magnificent. He can't fly yet, he can only jump really high, but I think it serves the book and the spirit of a younger character really well, and adds more excitement and physicality to his actions. Rags Morales's artwork is so kinetic, every motion, every movement feels real. And speaking of artwork, yes, it doesn't look as slick, polished and expensive as the regular DC house style (Jim Lee, Ivan Reis, Ethan Van Sciver etc), but I love Morales and his unique look. His characters feel like actual people with personalities. I love the Clark/Supes duality, love how handsome and classically heroic Superman looks and how oversized clothes, thick glasses and posture make Clark look believably different. I love slightly heavier Lex, who is yet to start envying Superman and hence shaping himself a perfect muscular bod like in All-Star. And there are tons of storytelling details like that, hidden just in the artwork alone (although I'm sure Morrison thought a lot of that stuff through himself). Overall, Morrison created such a neat, satisfying and fun comic with Superman and the Men of Steel, it's really a shame that it's not regarded better among readers. I can understand why, though — at first, it's really jarring how Superman behaves, and the story feels a bit too haphazard. The book really benefits from multiple reads — Morrison's writing is very dense and full of detail, and it can be too much to unpack in one reading. That, combined with unrealistically high expectations from the writer of All-Star Superman, did leave a lot of people underwhelmed — including myself, when I first read it. But judged on its own, this first volume of Action Comics is actually really, really good. Honestly, it's probably one of the best Superman comics out there, and now I wish more people would see it that way. First read: April 13, 2016 Rating: ★★★・・ Second read: December 14, 2017 Rating: ★★★★★

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    This is a somewhat new origin story for Supes (I don't remember his parents being dead when he became an adult? Or maybe I just wasn't paying attention.) One thing, they've definitely cemented the fact that Luthor is a huge dick right away. Nothing subtle about him here. Lots of weird time-travelling goes on in this, with miniature collections of worlds in stasis and a time bubble world thing inside future Superman's brain aaaannnd yeah that was all super (heh) confusing.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cheese

    Are there no good Superman comics out there!? :(

  12. 4 out of 5

    Oliver Flores

    After having stayed away from comic books for over a decade, DC's New 52 version of Action Comics seemed like the perfect place to jump back into the mix. I mean, a new (collectible) Superman series being written by none other than Grant Morrison? Grant Morrison--i.e., the author of The Invisibles? The guy who has been mentioned throughout the years in articles and whatnot by novelists and filmmakers that I admire? How many comic books writers can say the same? Unfortunately, not very many. So I After having stayed away from comic books for over a decade, DC's New 52 version of Action Comics seemed like the perfect place to jump back into the mix. I mean, a new (collectible) Superman series being written by none other than Grant Morrison? Grant Morrison--i.e., the author of The Invisibles? The guy who has been mentioned throughout the years in articles and whatnot by novelists and filmmakers that I admire? How many comic books writers can say the same? Unfortunately, not very many. So I couldn't wait to try out what THEE comic book writer was going to do with THEE superhero. As most people have already mentioned about this new series, matters DO start off with a bang and with lots of flair. For instance, right off the bat, Morrison blesses his motor-mouthed characters with the ability to speak in dialogue that is not only flavored with spicy wit but also with casual brilliance; Lex Luther's take on Superman as an invasive species, for instance, is a great throwaway concept that, if developed further, could carry an entire book on its own. Even more thrilling, however, is the sense of true heat and urgency that these initial socially-minded chapters generate, defining what Superman is all about--good 'ol fashioned action and heroism--but with contemporary bite. Right?  For someone who was never keen on Superman, it was exciting to see that this new Superman would not be coming across as a distant godlike goodie-goodie. Nope, no Super-powered boy scout operating on a higher but inaccessible moral plane here. On the contrary, though clearly an alien (just ask Lex Luthor), Morrison's new Superman would not so much function as an earthly incarnation of a god as much as a heaven-sent avatar for the Everyman. More importantly, for the reader. A super-powered Everyman as an avatar for the reader is a solid approach to Superman and a no-brainer of a concept. Indeed, wearing that now iconic "S" t-shirt, initially, Clark Kent/Superman simply comes across as a smart, generally good-mannered, well-meaning guy acting out from a justified sense of moral indignation and social outrage. This Superman is just like us if we could actually DO something about society's evils. (Superman himself knows this as he's not above taunting his enemies with his superpowers or lecturing them on our behalf. Hehe.) And yet, come issue #3, *** SPOILER*** when The People selfishly turn on their new hero, Morrison displays the kind of depth, complexity, and integrity as a writer that has made him an artist worth following. Morrison reminds us that Superman IS indeed an alien to us mortals who are sometimes too eager to impose earthly limits on ourselves. That is, we CAN do something about our outrage if only we were more like Clark Kent the man, and less like the convenient super-powered revenge fantasy that Superman tends to be in most people's minds (after all). Solid. *** SPOILER OVER *** At this point I was giddy reading this stuff, thinking that I had clearly made the right choice in deciding to once again invest time, energy, and MONEY into the comic book medium. Heck, I was even enjoying Rags Morales' artwork, which, though intentionally shabby at times, it seems, also resonates with a quaint yet subtle Norman Rockwell-esque quality that underscores this more contemporary Superman with retro appeal. (Just take a gander at those cuffed blue jeans and scuffed worker boots on Supes there.)  But then... something odd and baffling starts to happen at about the midpoint of this volume. At around issue #4, for example, *** SPOILER *** when a nightarish army of factory robots comes to life, sheer chaos overtakes the proceedings and never quite lets go. So be it. *** SPOILER OVER *** The problem with this sudden development, however, is that the chaos never emerges organically from pertinent character and story issues to which we have been exposed so far. At least, not on any recognizable emotional or psychological level. Indeed, as characters that we have been eagerly following suddenly disappear, new characters, events, and concepts are introduced so joltingly and out of the blue that as a Superman newbie I began to feel as if I had missed some vital info and backstory about the character afterall, New 52 or no New 52. But it turns out that Morrison is cutting a lot of this stuff out from new cloth. Huh? Purposeful or not, this lack of organic emotional depth and conflict to events devastates any intuitive understanding that the reader might derive from this otherwise complex story. Indeed, you WILL have to re-read many of these later issues simply to discover any kind of sense and clarity to the proceedings. But even then the payoff is merely intellectual. This isn't a story. What you have here is a series of intriguing concepts, promising story fragments, and interesting character moments wrapped around one big subversive idea after another, all of which begins to feel incredibly forced and labored.  What I find to be truly stunning about this unfortunate turn of events, however, is just how little regard Morrison shows beyond this point for the basic mechanics of storytelling. It truly feels as if the restless idealist in Morrison simply could not refuse the opportunity to impart some very urgent messages and important ideas about society, superheroes, the comic book medium, etc., to the enfeebled comic book reader at the expense of narrative cohesiveness and basic character development.(*** SPOILER *** Note that Morrison's Brainiac is essentially the universe's most anal and neurotic memorabilia collector/aficionado EVER. Got that? HaHa. *** END SPOILER ***) Who does Morrison think he is, anyway? The Coen Bros? I suppose that proves just how serious Morrison is here, people! So listen up. Thing is, all chuckling aside, after a certain point, beyond frustration and flashes of genuine anger, you simply stop caring. Indeed, the lack of empathy for the poor reader on Morrison's part starts to feel increasingly quarrelsome and driven by bitterness when the storytelling becomes so purposely incoherent and painful to read that it clearly feels like, well, like the reader is being force-fed an agenda--albeit an agenda teeming with genuinely subversive concepts and big whopping ideas. (I dunno. With all the news coming out about the rampant editorial interference and indecision happening at DC these days you have to at least wonder if Morrison's storylines for Action Comics weren't tampered with or altered in some indirect way, no? Right?) To make matters worse, a series of semi-irrelevant back-up stories not only adds to the overall chaos and confusion but finally forces you to give up as you realize that the-powers-that-be at DC originally included these stories solely to boost up the cover price on original issues. Seriously... We're in a recession. Baffled as to how this volume of stories could have gone so horribly wrong, I went off and did some more research, learning that Morrison has indeed written wild-eyed, incoherent idea-driven comics before (see: Seaguy and some of his Batman Inc. stuff, for starters); in fact, a large portion of his output reads like a mosaic of mind-boggling ideas strung together only by raw unfiltered dream logic and sheer force of creative will. Admirable. Subversive, I suppose. But not exactly the stuff of classic storytelling. This kind of stuff sticks with you like fragments from a disturbing dream, but not as actual stories that you really care about.    As smart and creative as Morrison cleary is and as important as his messages might be, no storyteller is above the basic requirements of telling a good story. None. This new Action Comics doesn't work. Yet you get the feeling that some readers will be a little too quick and eager to say nice things if only to justify their enthusiasm for the material. My final advice? If you haven't already, hunt down Morrison's All-Star Superman instead; with those stories, Morrison taps into the soul that makes the Superman mythos tick, in the process inspiring you to dream dreams of your own. With this new Action Comics series, however, Morrison devolves into exploring and feeding you HIS ideas on the character and HIS ideas only. Good for him. This reader, though, is officially off the Action Comics bandwagon.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jesse A

    Incredibly disappointing take on the Superman story. I'm more than likely done with this series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    this is a very kinetic re-introduction to the Superman we thought we knew. Morrison, Morales, et al. bring the modern age to Superman but also bring back the Golden Age sensibility of vulnerability. Superman is relevant again. Who would have thought? The backups by Sholly Fisch are perfection in miniature.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    This was a lot of fun. I have a feeling this will be a great series.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    In one word: recycled. Geoff Johns told this story so much better. And why is the 'new' Superman so much like the original, old Superman? Well, his powers are like the original Superman, but then his behaviour is so incongruous with ANY version of Superman I know! It's very confusing to me why Superman would say something like, "Guns are for Sissies".... a level 8 intelligence that moonlights as a journalist, and that's the best he can come up with on the spot? Is that how heroes speak?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michael (Mai)

    I’ve always preferred Batman to Superman. Batman is gritty and had terrible luck growing up despite being loaded. Superman was raised in rural Kansas by good, God-fearin’ folk who taught him to be respectful of others even when their not to him and to protect all things, because no matter what everything deserves a chance at life. Batman respects life but isn’t afraid to knock some skulls together to get answers and uses fear as a motivator while Superman relies on the good nature that is buried I’ve always preferred Batman to Superman. Batman is gritty and had terrible luck growing up despite being loaded. Superman was raised in rural Kansas by good, God-fearin’ folk who taught him to be respectful of others even when their not to him and to protect all things, because no matter what everything deserves a chance at life. Batman respects life but isn’t afraid to knock some skulls together to get answers and uses fear as a motivator while Superman relies on the good nature that is buried within him. In real life, that is an awesome trait to have and if super-heroes were real I would totally be his number-one fan. But this is fiction, and I get bored with all that wholesomeness. I thought that with Grant Morrison I’d get to see a little bit more grittiness since the stuff I’ve read by him is filled with grime (Arkham Asylum and The Black Mirror). That didn’t happen. And that’s okay. Superman wouldn’t be Superman without all that wholesomeness to stand on, boring or not. I finished it up thinking about how glad I am that such a hero was made. So all in all, Superman isn’t that bad. I actually liked volume one. Well, most of it. After the first central story about how Superman comes into his costume, it all went down hill for me. I’m sure that people who read and know Superman’s story would understand what the eff was going on. But it goes from a story that I can follow—I’m figuring out who minor characters are, learning some backstory—to BOOM! What the crap is going on!? Here is me reading the second half: Who were the bad guys that were stealing parts of Superman’s rockets? Who are the legion of superheroes? Why did they travel in time? Who shot Superman? What’s up with the bullet in his head that people can (time/space???) travel to? Why is there a giant tentacle monster that changes into an alien and then into a man? Uh, I guess there was a happy ending…sweet…I think. Yeah. That sums it up. I’ll read volume two but only because I borrowed it from a friend.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Scicluna

    I am really disappointed with this volume. So many iconic things about Superman have been changed. The most important in my opinion is having Martha and Jonathan Kent dead (This is not batman we are talking about). Having his adoptive parents around was one of superman's strengths by having them dead it just feels like an Elseworld tale. Also I have to complain about the way Steel is introduced. I have nothing against him working for the military but him already having a Steel suite without bein I am really disappointed with this volume. So many iconic things about Superman have been changed. The most important in my opinion is having Martha and Jonathan Kent dead (This is not batman we are talking about). Having his adoptive parents around was one of superman's strengths by having them dead it just feels like an Elseworld tale. Also I have to complain about the way Steel is introduced. I have nothing against him working for the military but him already having a Steel suite without being influenced by Superman to become a hero just feels so wrong to the character. When he was introduced during the World without Superman (after his death) gave him depth and character. Having Brainiac, of the New 52, depicted like a giant mechanical insect form is something that in my opinion was a mistake. When reading his story I did not feel the danger I am supposed to feel and I was kind of anti climactic because you know superman was going to beat him easily. Something else I did not like was the art and how certain character are drawn. Especially Lex Luthor and Dr. Irons. They look like the same person except for their skin color. I felt the art was flimsy and bland. However, by the end of the book, the art does improve. I was expecting something better from Grant Morrison.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Arturo

    Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman was one the best Superman stories Iv read, so he can write supes. This was a bit of a let down though. But it's not for me, It's for new readers, and I would hand this to someone as a jumping on point, rather then Superman Chronicles vol1 or Superman: Man of Steel vol1. There's also some big changes, in this volume Superman is a lot more physical, being powered down a lot, a lot more jumping then flying, more scrapes and bruises, having trouble being more Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman was one the best Superman stories Iv read, so he can write supes. This was a bit of a let down though. But it's not for me, It's for new readers, and I would hand this to someone as a jumping on point, rather then Superman Chronicles vol1 or Superman: Man of Steel vol1. There's also some big changes, in this volume Superman is a lot more physical, being powered down a lot, a lot more jumping then flying, more scrapes and bruises, having trouble being more powerful then a locomotive. A more flawed superhero. It was a little hard to follow though, Ima have to write this as reminder to myself. 'Superman against the city of Tomorrow' and 'In Chains' :General Lane and Lex Luther problems. Versus the Men of Steel: vs Metal 0 ..and Steel helps out. Rocket Song and a Legion of Super-Heroes interlude. And it all leads to a Superman vs Brainiac Story. Recommended: nah Give it a try, definitely.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mouse

    F**k man! I did not see that this was written by Grant Morrison when I picked it up from the library.... I got a few pages in and thought, "What is up with this comic?" And so continues Grant Morrison's reign of terror on DC's greatest characters as this was just more confusing crap spewed forth from him. I don't understand why some people just love him. Let's get something straight...Rags Morales and Andy Kubert are two of the finest pencilers ever, the art in this is awesome and stunning at ti F**k man! I did not see that this was written by Grant Morrison when I picked it up from the library.... I got a few pages in and thought, "What is up with this comic?" And so continues Grant Morrison's reign of terror on DC's greatest characters as this was just more confusing crap spewed forth from him. I don't understand why some people just love him. Let's get something straight...Rags Morales and Andy Kubert are two of the finest pencilers ever, the art in this is awesome and stunning at times. The plot, the writing, the direction of this book is where the issues are. Let's just break down a few of the issues. -First, do we really need to be reintroduced to Superman? We know how it all happened and we certainly don't need a reimagining of Superman. -He wears a t-shirt with an "S" on it, a pair of jeans, hiking boots, a towel for a cape....WTF? -In the first few pages of Action Comics #1 Superman lands and says, "Rats. Rats with money. And rats with guns. I'm your worst nightmare!" Wow....that's some great dialog....FOR BATMAN MAYBE! ....Not Superman! Then he grabs a bad-guy and dangles him over the edge which is something he's never even done to Lex Luthor in all the years they've fought. He throws other bad-guys through the wall...mind you that these are humans so they're probably dead. He then taunts the police and pretends to drop the guy ....catching him at the last second. The guy blacks out and probably died from a heart attack! Gee Superman...you're such an a**hole! The police shoot at him and much like the ol' Honeybadger....he just doesn't give a flying f**k! One of the police (the chief?) says, "He's all yours! Activate the city." What does that even mean? Is that like, "Autobots, transform and roll out...activate the super duper Power Rangers Megazord?!" Eventually the police send in the Robocopters after Superman...because well....WTF is a Robocopter? Then the Chief(?) says, "We used to have laws in this town. Like gravity. You remember gravity, right?" I think the dialog from a SyFy movie would be better than this crap! Later when Clark Kent gets back to the room he is renting his landlord asks him for the rent and proceeds to tell him that Superman threw a wife beater out a window into a river breaking both his hips and six ribs! Wow! Really Superman...you are an a**hole!! Okay, that's enough ragging on it. I need to confess that I only read about half the book because I just can't finish it! Maybe it got better...but I don't really care! I'm done!

  21. 4 out of 5

    James DeSantis

    I'm conflicted. The first 2 issues (and issue 0) are great. I mean truly special. They show what I LOVE about Superman. The way he uses his powers to save people, always hopeful, always cheerful, always willing to stick out his neck for people while still questioning if he should since of what he is (but never boring or dreadful like Zack Snyder's shitty version). So why is this only 3 stars? The pacing goes crazy weird. It begins to feel so disjointed around issue 3 and 4, and then 5 and 6 are I'm conflicted. The first 2 issues (and issue 0) are great. I mean truly special. They show what I LOVE about Superman. The way he uses his powers to save people, always hopeful, always cheerful, always willing to stick out his neck for people while still questioning if he should since of what he is (but never boring or dreadful like Zack Snyder's shitty version). So why is this only 3 stars? The pacing goes crazy weird. It begins to feel so disjointed around issue 3 and 4, and then 5 and 6 are good but confusing as shit. I had to re-read pages a few times because Grant Morrison has a tendency to just shit the bed with his stories half the time. Like he has a great idea, then says "screw it" and writes the most convoluted bullshit that makes no sense and has no strucutre (see Batman R.I.P.) Superman meets up with his future self, who goes back in the past, or the future self goes to the past and tries to prevent something so present self doesn't die...right? Sounds stupid yeah? Especially putting it in the middle of a goddamn fucking present day fight to save people. UGH what in the living hell was that shit? Finally though we settle down into Superman finally getting his suit and addressing people in general. Telling them where he came from, but he plans to be their protector, and that he isn't going anywhere, while having a pretty good heart to heart with his landlord who knows his secret identity. Overall the start and ending were great, and capture the new Superman well, but the whole flip flop storyline with odd pacing just hurt it a little to much. A 2.5-3/5 for me.

  22. 5 out of 5

    David Dalton

    Took me a few years, but I finally got around to reading the Superman New 52 stories. Just read Superman Volume 1 and then jumped over to this volume. Thanks to my digital library. Shame these 52 stories did not last too long before being replaced by Rebirth. I caught of the end of the 52 stories (Death of Superman) and then the first couple of Rebirth issues, dealing with Justice League. Now thanks to my digital library I am getting a chance to catch up. DC really went way back on Superman. Jea Took me a few years, but I finally got around to reading the Superman New 52 stories. Just read Superman Volume 1 and then jumped over to this volume. Thanks to my digital library. Shame these 52 stories did not last too long before being replaced by Rebirth. I caught of the end of the 52 stories (Death of Superman) and then the first couple of Rebirth issues, dealing with Justice League. Now thanks to my digital library I am getting a chance to catch up. DC really went way back on Superman. Jeans? And no flying at first. Almost like a skinny Hulk. Distrust everywhere. Is it me or does the young Clark Kent look alike like Harry Potter? Story got a little confused when the Legion made their appearance. I will move on to Volumes Two of Action and Superman.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Adam Bain

    I originally read this book in 2014, and my brain couldn't handle the crazy. I must have lost my sanity (or maybe I gained it?) over the last 5 years, or maybe it's the fact I read Morrisons run from 1-18 in a few days? Either way my thoughts changed dramatically, so here's my review of the entire run; My head hurts...but it's a good pain. I just finished Morrison's 18 issue run on Action Comics, and what a ride it was. I feel like I'd need to read this again to fully understand what I originally read this book in 2014, and my brain couldn't handle the crazy. I must have lost my sanity (or maybe I gained it?) over the last 5 years, or maybe it's the fact I read Morrisons run from 1-18 in a few days? Either way my thoughts changed dramatically, so here's my review of the entire run; My head hurts...but it's a good pain. I just finished Morrison's 18 issue run on Action Comics, and what a ride it was. I feel like I'd need to read this again to fully understand what the f#@k happened. Many reasons for people to dislike this Superman run, especially if they have never read any of Morrison's work before. You either love it, or hate it. I read volume 1 years ago, before my appreciation for Grant Morrison came to fruition. And it's safe to say I was damn confused by the end of it, which meant that I didn't care for it to much. But the way it's written, it needs to be read from start to finish to understand how Morrison intended the story to be read. It's written in such a disjointed, convoluted and non traditional way that many people would find it too much effort. The story is balls to the wall bonkers, but if your dealing with imps from the 5th dimension then how else could it be? Especially when said imps don't abide by the nature's of time and space. An attack on Superman throughout his entire life at one single moment...my head's about to explore already. At the end of the day this run is classic Morrison, so take that as you want. If you enjoy his bonkers style of random writing that makes sense right at the end, but only after heavy meditation, then this will most likely put a smile on your face. If you find his work pretentious, over complicated and convoluted for the sake of being convoluted, then you will definitely loath this book. But if you are a virgin to the beautiful mess that is Grant Morrison, then do yourself this one favour; read all 18 issues consecutively. That's the only way you will derive some form of satisfaction from this, trust me on that. Looking forward to reading this again, seeing all the little connections that begin way back in volume 1 that don't play out till the last few issues. Oh wow...this was great! Original review: 2.5/5 stars After seeing so many raving reviews for this, I was really looking forward to getting it in the mail. It is the first Superman story I have ever read, so I'm not sure if that factors in on how I felt about it. Maybe it was my high expectations, but I was disappointed to say the least. I don't have much knowledge of the Superman mythos apart from what most people know. So the second part of this book left me thinking I had missed a bunch of vital information, when in fact it was not there to begin with. Most people know Grant Morrison can get on the cooky side of writing, but I found most of this just plain confusing. I found the same problem when I started reading his Batman Incorporated run. After the initial "what the f#+k is going on?" moment I found myself really enjoying it. I was hoping this book would be the same, sadly, it never landed for me. Scenes where dialogue jumped to another topic without any warning or lead up just annoyed me. It had me to constantly flicking back through the book to see if I could make sense of it. Don't get me wrong it did have some cool stories and ideas here, maybe if they were easier to understand I would have been more invested. One thing I did really enjoy with this reboot was Clarks new attitude. I always hated how much of a boy scout Superman was, and thankfully they have given him a bit of attitude in this. While still holding onto the core ethics of what made him the man of steel. Rags Morale does an amazing job on the art in this book. Using stunning colours that simply jump out of the page. The new designs of the characters look really nice, I'm really enjoying the no undies look. How did it take them that long to realise that having a character with undies over their pants didn't look good? Maybe it's because I enjoy "dumb" titles, maybe that's why I didn't find this that intriguing. Maybe I'm not intelligent enough to get the subtleties in the writing, or I'm too slow to understand the random story jumps. If this is the best Superman title in the New 52 then I'd hate to see how shit the others would be. Either way I was thoroughly let down by this book, and I definitely won't be picking up the next volume in a hurry.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jared Millet

    I could complain all day long about DC's "New 52" but the one thing I'm actually enjoying about the reboot is the rejuvenated Superman. Action Comics' T-shirt and jeans Superman with his Occupy Wall Street attitude probably came as a shock to anyone who hadn't read Morrison's Supergods, but his approach clearly harks back to Siegel and Shuster's original populist reformer version of the character. Morrison wastes no time establishing the New 52 versions of Lex Luthor (back to being an evil scientist instead of J I could complain all day long about DC's "New 52" but the one thing I'm actually enjoying about the reboot is the rejuvenated Superman. Action Comics' T-shirt and jeans Superman with his Occupy Wall Street attitude probably came as a shock to anyone who hadn't read Morrison's Supergods, but his approach clearly harks back to Siegel and Shuster's original populist reformer version of the character. Morrison wastes no time establishing the New 52 versions of Lex Luthor (back to being an evil scientist instead of John Byrne's Kingpin ripoff), Brainiac (evil alien supercomputer reminiscent of the early 80s version), and Metal-zero (clever revamp of Metallo that doesn't change much from the original). All the pieces are in place for a 21st century Superman that clings to the best bits of the old (and kind of makes Superman: Earth One redundant) but lets its no-longer-godlike hero bleed once in a while. I'm sure the gravity of DC storytelling will once again make him an invincible, boring boy scout, but Morrison's run on the title should be fun while it lasts.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    I wasn't too excited for yet another origin story, but this one starts off wonderfully. The artwork is top-notch, and Morrison wisely relegates most of the Krypton and Smallville stuff to a few brief flashbacks. The main focus is on Kal El's first year is Metropolis. As journalist Clark Kent, he takes on police corruption and corporate malfeasance. As Superman, he gradually wins the public's trust by punching the crap out of aliens and by saving little girls from getting hit by cars. The whole t I wasn't too excited for yet another origin story, but this one starts off wonderfully. The artwork is top-notch, and Morrison wisely relegates most of the Krypton and Smallville stuff to a few brief flashbacks. The main focus is on Kal El's first year is Metropolis. As journalist Clark Kent, he takes on police corruption and corporate malfeasance. As Superman, he gradually wins the public's trust by punching the crap out of aliens and by saving little girls from getting hit by cars. The whole thing is fast, fun, and big-hearted, just like a good Superman comic should be. Unfortunately, the last few issues of this collection get a little too Morrison-y, with time travel and secret universes inside people's brains and blah blah blah blah blah. I generally like that stuff in other Morrison comics, but it feels out of place and unnecessary here.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gavin

    I liked it, but I didn't love it. It was nice to have Superman toned down a few notches and actually seem vulnerable but there was also way too much Sci-Fi stuff for the re-introduction of a major title like 'Action Comics' I would be interested to see what the new 52 version of 'Superman' looks like. Worth reading if you're a Superman fan, or a Grant Morrison fan, but honestly, I think I was expecting more...maybe that's not fair but it's how I feel. Or maybe I just don't like Superman that muc I liked it, but I didn't love it. It was nice to have Superman toned down a few notches and actually seem vulnerable but there was also way too much Sci-Fi stuff for the re-introduction of a major title like 'Action Comics' I would be interested to see what the new 52 version of 'Superman' looks like. Worth reading if you're a Superman fan, or a Grant Morrison fan, but honestly, I think I was expecting more...maybe that's not fair but it's how I feel. Or maybe I just don't like Superman that much?

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anton

    This isn't you're typical Superman story. The boy-scout attitude isn't there, the public doesn't trust him and...the story is very rooted in science fiction. This might disappoint some Superman fans, but absolutely loved this book! This is how the character should be treated in the 21st century.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cyna

    Boring and tedius and unnecessarily confusing. Classic Grant Morrison. I'd say skip the main book and read the Sholly Fish back-up stories. They're the only reason this book is getting two stars instead of one. They've got more heart and charm in a few pages than this book does in its entirety.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I didn't expect to, but I am kind of liking the New 52 Supes. Not keen yet on the attitude nor the uniform options (although, his underwear is on the inside now, one assumes). A couple of good adventures here, and good character development.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kris Jou

    The New 52. Here is DC's 2011 stunt of restarting all their 'main continuity' comics -- excluding Vertigo ongoing series or DC animated universe tie-ins. A challenge they faced was to draw in new readers while keeping old engaged enough to retain their loyalty, and if we are to start a discussion about if DC met those two goals, the New 52 ACTION COMICS can support either pros or cons in uncertain terms. Monthly sales chart indicates that ACTION, a top 20 mainstay, grabbed new readers. A fact th The New 52. Here is DC's 2011 stunt of restarting all their 'main continuity' comics -- excluding Vertigo ongoing series or DC animated universe tie-ins. A challenge they faced was to draw in new readers while keeping old engaged enough to retain their loyalty, and if we are to start a discussion about if DC met those two goals, the New 52 ACTION COMICS can support either pros or cons in uncertain terms. Monthly sales chart indicates that ACTION, a top 20 mainstay, grabbed new readers. A fact that perplexes me after reading the comics themselves. ACTION benefits from Grant Morrison's prestige, no doubt helped by his groundbreaking work on All Star Superman. He has become comicdom's equivalent of a performance artist: comic geeks are fixated by everything surrounding him and anticipating all his creative endeavors with endless delight. Condescending phrase: to comic geeks, you're "NOT ONE OF US" if you don't profess religious devotion to GMoz's brilliance -- until it's 'objectively' absent, and then you can pretend his early Zoids and his dismal WildCATS relaunch (with Jim Lee) didn't happen! Gmoz: comics; Whedon: TV! So... in ACTION we get Rags Morales (60%), Andy Kubert (30%), and Gene Ha and other fill-in artists (uh, 10%, whenever Morales is lazy?) drawing GMoz scripts, which means that half of the comic looks like melted candlewax! With asymmetrical eyes! And disproportionate waistline! Brad Anderson's shiny coloring alleviates some of the poor pencil work, but that can only do so much to hide the shoddy, inconsistent work. To be fair, the most hideous panel wasn't Morales' creation. What the hell did I just see? Yuck. It's comicdom's cliche to refer to GMoz as 'an ideas man', as a master of 'compressed' storytelling that permits 5 ideas within 20 pages (with 1-2 being other writer's average). My problem is that he doesn't pair intriguing concepts with engaging characters. His Superman as a 'brash, arrogant guardian of Metropolis' is a departure from the nice farmboy image perpetuated by Christopher Reeves, except that (and an absence of parents, because in comics, FAMILY suxx lol) is the only difference I saw in what's considered to be a 'fresh new take', and that merely mattered in the first two issues. Everything else in ACTION is cliffy-noted aspects of Superman's (eternally retold!) origins, fast-forwarded so we never have to worry about the exploration of said aspects. Did you know that Superman was 'The Last Son of Krypton' rocketed to earth during its planet's impending doom? Bet you want to know what Krypton society was like then; too bad you need to read about it in John Byrne's Man of Steel. But, how about the Legion of Super-heroes being a 31st century team of misfits who, inspired by Superman's heroism, time-traveled to his early days to inspire him back? Explore that in Geoff Johns/Gary Frank's Superman and the Legion of Superheroes! Maybe you'd want to know why a miniature Kandor was key to Brainiac's characterization? Read Johns/Frank's Superman: Brainiac and their New Krypton saga! In the meantime, we shall have the densest Superman origin story without going through his range of feelings during these events. Minus an emotional core, ACTION is as dry as reading Wikipedia. And, perhaps, it is cool to see a Superman who wears jeans, or a centipede Brainiac, or Metallo’s new costume, but really… What do I care? Ps. All the Occupy Wall Street subtext? They mean nothing coming from a self-proclaimed 'champion of the working class' who dissed Chris Ware for white privilege despite being one of the highest paid comics writers and having an upcoming vanity convention that charges $500-1200 per ticket. I'm amused by the hypocrisy.

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