Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Action Comics #1 (November, 2011)

Metropolis was a city where well armed fat cats made their own "law" through financial leverage and gun barrels. For six months, a young vigilante in a blue t-shirt and red cape had been been trying to bring justice to town and a level playing field for the common man. Of all the wheels in this town, Glenmorgan was the biggest, but his night had finally come. Police pursued the so-called "Superman" (so dubbed by reporter Lois Lane) to Glenmorgan's penthouse, and found its owner dangling over the balcony. "I'll put him down... Just as soon as he makes a full confession. To someone who still believes the law works the same for rich and poor alike." Failing that, Superman jumped off the balcony with Glenmorgan, and managed to cushion their impact on the street below to avoid a lethal finish. Glenmorgan crawled to the police waiting below. "I'm guilty! What do you want me to say? ...I used illegal cheap labor... no safety standards... I bribed city officials... I lied... I lied... to everyone..."

Superman was still a wanted man. After warning Detective Blake about a throbbing ulcer detected through x-ray vision and literally catching a bullet, the Man of Steel was back on the run. From a secret base, General Sam Lane and industrialist Lex Luthor observed, plotting a means of capturing the increasingly powerful and problematic Superman. A wrecking ball against an inhabited tenement halted Superman's getaway, as he stopped to rip it free of its crane. He was next hit with an electrified net, but ripped free. Superman wielded the loose wrecking ball like a mace and smashed a tank that had been leveled against him. The bomb's blast of a second take dealt Superman real damage, but citizens rescued from the tenement took to the streets to form a human shield. Superman warned them not to put themselves in danger, but made use of the opportunity to get back home.

On the roof of his rundown apartment, a bulky sweater and round spectacles made a Clark Kent out of Superman. Landlady Mrs. Nyxly worried about the beating Clark had taken, explained as retribution from a story run about Intergang. Mrs. N saw Kent as an inspiration thanks to his fearless articles, which were read by everybody, but she needed the past two weeks rent, which Clark supplied. They both also liked Superman for going after neo-Nazis, wife batterers, and the like.

Clark rang his best friend Jimmy Olsen. Lois Lane, a reporter for a rival newspaper, had joined Jimmy in following Glenmorgan's ex-enforcer Gus Grundig onto a subway train that wasn't supposed to be running. Clark warned them off, but Lois ignored him. "Don't you just love how he tries to sabotage our stories?" Unaware, Clark called in a story to his editor on his cell phone, but upon learning his advice had been ignored, raced after the train. On board, Jimmy and Lois found themselves at gunpoint. Off board, Superman literally caught the train, blood streaming from his ears and the bullet continuing to fly. Up ahead, an explosion took out the tracks.

Lois and Jimmy managed to tie up Grundig, but the train was soon skidding down a city street after falling off an overpass. In secret, Sam Lane raged over his daughter having been imperiled, but you can't argue with results. Superman had stopped the train, but was left pinned and unconscious against a building.

"Superman Versus the City of Tomorrow" was by Grant Morrison, Rags Morales, and Rick Bryant. I liked the art, and since a Treasury Edition of Superman #1 was one of my first comics, I dug the return of a lower powered Man of Steel as social avenger. Still, folks giving this glowing reviews must be totally high off All-Star Superman, because this baby is paced like manga. It's two action set pieces sandwiching a few pages of Peter Parker Clark Kent scraping by. Nice update, lots of potential, but don't you dare ask me four bucks a month for something so slight as this, especially when acting under the guise of working class heroism in a bitterly recessive economy.

DC New 52


mathematicscore said...

I dunno, I don't mind it living up to the "Action Comics" especially since Morrison is allowing a fair amount of layered detail to appear (Lex, Lane, and in issue two, Metallo and Steel, the Krypton stuff) Superman's cast, legacy, etc is great, but for too long it's been all that and not enough Superman kicking ass, because being Superman would kick ass. Grant is restoring that.

Anj said...

Such an interesting take on this book which was far and away my favorite of the New 52.

I am willing to give this book time to breathe as we are basically reading Superman's hero journey.

Diabolu Frank said...

"Interesting" sounds like "crackhead," but I've been called worse. ;)