By Andy Frisk
April 7, 2012 - 15:26
Superman’s legacy as the savior of Metropolis is solidified when he manages to defeat Brainiac, restore Metropolis, and is given the key to the city. Using the sentient ship that brought him to Earth years ago, as well as his fists, Superman also manages to create for himself a new Fortress of Solitude (although it’s never named as such…at least yet).
The details of the resolution of Grant Morrison’s first story arc on Action Comics Vol. 2 isn’t nearly as interesting as the changes that DC Comics are infusing the Superman mythos with. Honestly, this Clark Kent/Superman just might be unique enough to keep the courts tied up in years over their custody battle with Superman’s original creator’s families. Superman’s suit is radically different from his previous incarnation’s suit. Not just in its new “underpants on the outside” look abandonment, it now seems to be made of “unstable molecules” that can cause its appearance to change radically and, at times, confusingly. Superman’s new Fortress of Solitude is presented as a Satellite of Solitude. Also, kinda like Daredevil, at least one common person from the slums where Clark lives knows Clark’s secret and has decided to keep it secret, asking, “So—are you Clark pretending to be Superman or is it the other way around?” Of course, Clark gives no definitive answer.
Since this new Superman is only 8 months old, it’s probably natural that he doesn’t really know himself yet, and that’s the problem with The New 52’s Superman. In the rushed effort to make him different and “new” (partly because of current legal worries and partly out of a desperate need to make him relevant again-even though many of us believe he already was) this New Superman really has no solid identity, so it makes sense that the character himself wouldn’t even be able to articulate if he’s Superman or Clark at heart. This rushed and convoluted identity crisis has resulted in some pretty bad stories about him so far as well. Morrison has done better with this new Superman here in Action Comics than Perez did with him over in Superman though. Superman in fact has been pretty bad (sad since it started so well). It’s been so bad that Dan Jurgens has been brought back in to help infuse that series with…something. Anything that even hints at the interest that Jurgens inspired in Superman and Action Comics nearly 20 years ago would be better than where the book was going.
This final issue of the first arc of the new Action Comics had four artists combine to create the final product. While each is highly talented, it seems only fitting that a Superman without a solid identity would naturally be without a solid look, and that’s the case here.
Like I’ve said before, I’ll keep reading these comics simply because I’ve been a Superman fan for 25 years, at least, but for the first time in my Superman fandom I’m seriously tempted to drop my favorite heroes’ books.
Rating: 7 /10