Action Comics #11 Review
By Zak Edwards
July 11, 2012 - 00:14
Publisher(s): DC Comics
Writer(s): Grant Morrison
Penciller(s): Rag Morales, Rick Bryant, & Brad Walker
Colourist(s): Brad Anderson
Letterer(s): Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Artist(s): Morales & Anderson
I know fellow Comic Book Bin writer Andy Frisk may disagree, but I have been wonderfully entertained by Grant Morrison’s run on Action Comics and love this take on the Superman mythos. TBut this comes from a love of Morrison much more than a love of Superman, so it only makes sense that I would find this good in the somewhat disjointed and nostalgic take he has on a character who has literally changed the shape of Western society. So the destruction of Clark Kent last issue makes me excited more than outraged and Superman’s continued attempts to figure out what he’s doing are quite enjoyable at the very least.
When Morrison started hyping his reboot of Action Comics, he frequently pointed to Superman as a disturber of the status quo rather than a maintainer of it, hence his socialist leanings and strong desire to dangle a millionaire out a window in that first issue. Now, with his All-American blue jeans, Superman is still trying to figure out how to be a hero for the people. Sure, he saves people from a burning building, but he also rebuilt that building and thus made these tenement houses skyrocket in value (Live in the House Superman Built! Starting in the low $2 Millions!). Is it enough to rebuild, to keep looking at the smaller picture? And how does Superman combat commercialism? Apparently, Superman’s dislike of rampant capitalism is a war he is losing, which is a brilliant subject of the side story at the end of the book, and I like how Morrison is giving this Superman more abstract adversaries. Heck, even the cover’s promise of “The Shocking Reason Behind his New Secret Identity” reads more from the headlines of Cosmopolitan or People Magazine, throwing this theme of struggle with commercialism right on the literal surface. So the enlisting of Batman’s help for his cover identity issue grounds him even further, another thing I like about these stories: Superman doesn't know what he's doing but he's at least willing to try and figure it out. Going off the grid, as it were, temporarily alleviates some of the secret identity issues, but Superman also comes to realize his former identity may have done more good alive than dead. Witnessing this character’s development using such abstraction makes me actually care about a character I didn’t really beforehand. And, having recently been rereading The Invisibles, I like Morrison's “Rescue Mission not War” approach to a character he usually seems embroiled in punching his problems. The similarities between King Mob and Superman here are seriously entertaining, both are trying to cope with the more complicated solutions to an even more complicated problem. Fortunately, Superman seems intent on killing less innocent soldiers in order to make things “Nice and Smooth” even when the book reads exactly like that.
I haven’t really been a fan of the art on Action Comics, Rag Morales art just looks exactly like the stereotypical comic book art that Jim Lee exemplified in the nineties. When I look at it, I feel nothing, it doesn’t do anything other than convey the story exactly as it is. When compared with Sweet Tooth art, the other book I reviewed today, it just falls a little flat simply because it lacks any sort of power. It's communicative, but only to the minimum, and is more obsessed with making characters pose than depict what they feel. Also, the quick fill-in of Brad Walker is pretty jarring while being obviously better. His style has a little more flair, his flow is just more fun to look at, it is more stylish overall. It’s a sort of irony that a book that keeps looking to the past for the future looks like a decade most readers like to sweep under the rug.
Verdict: Looks bad, reads great; Morrison’s scripts make me care about characters I never did.
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