Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Action Comics #3 review

Three months into the Superman relaunch and we get our first look at Krypton, as Jor-El warns Lara to get out of Kandor just in time for her to see it stolen by, presumably, Brainiac. A quarter of a century later, on Earth, Clark Kent dreams of the catastrophe, witnessed by him as a babe-in-arms. A rude awakening sees his flat raided by Metropolis police - rattled by Clark's anti-corruption exposes - and someone disovering his makeshift super suit.

Later, Lois Lane tries to persuade Daily Star reporter Clark to join the Daily Planet, which is owned by Superman's least-favourite businessman, Glen Glenmorgan. And Lex Luthor's transformation of military man John Corben into an anti-alien super-soldier is interrupted by the incursion of an alien hive mind - Brainiac has reached Earth..

This issue reads rather choppily, with no obvious focus, but Grant Morrison's zippy script nevertheless carries us along. I'm not delighted to see the revised origin of Metallo/Corben, and the shrinking of Kandor again so soon given they were dealt with in depth in the old DC continuity, not so long ago. Still, new readers start here, and all that.
What I really don't like about this issue is Rags Morales and Rick Bryant's depiction of Clark Kent (click on images to enlarge). I get that he's less powerful at this 'five years ago' point in his heroic career, so picks up bruises, but with his hair super-tousled and the bruises looking like dirt, the man could pass for a tramp. And an ugly one, at that. Other than that, the artists' work serves the modern day sequences well, with Metropolis a bustling hulk of a town and its inhabitants characterful enough to survive it.

The Krypton flashback is simply gorgeous, with Jor-El, Lara and their family looking like sparkling gods, and the removal of Kandor awe-inspiring. Kal-El has never looked more like a 'star-child' than in the opening panel. Art Lyon's colours sizzle in this sequence, while Brad Anderson does a great job with the Earthbound scenes.

Finally, I'd like to drop Krypto's fluffy canine corpse >choke< on whichever DC bean counter decided to charge us $3.99 for just 20 pages of strip. Eight pages of advertorial about the new Superman books? I'll buy that for a dollar - because I have no choice. It's a Marvel-style rip-off and no mistake.

14 comments:

  1. Silly. That's not Clark; that's Harry Potter. And if you don't want to pay $3.99 for 20 pp of material, just wait until the price drops to 99¢ like I'm doing.

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  2. To be fair about the price, books like this and Justice League are being priced 3.99 because they are picking up back up features to fill the extra pages (Captain Marvel in JL and John Henry Irons in Action) at least that is what DC has stated.

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  3. I wasn't happy with last month's Action-centered backmatter, and I'm even less happy with this month's ads for other books. Next month starts those back-up stories, but it's really two months two late.

    The comic progressed things along rather well, I thought -- does anyone have any question who "Icarus" is? -- but it felt less like a story than the other two, and more like a chapter. Which made getting to the back matter even less satisfying than before.

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  4. Harry's never been that 'orrible, Carol! When do the books drop to 99c? I know that after a month the download price drops to $1.99 but 99c? Wow!

    Erik, I know the theory about the pricing but the reality so far has been wretched - Justice League #1 and Action Comics #1 both had extra pages, JL #2 and Action #2-3, feature material and advertising. I'd be very happy if both mags simply went the $2.99 route - much as I like Steel, I can live without a short strip about him, and SHAZAM deserves lead status somewhere - DC Universe Presents, say.

    Rob, thanks for the backmatter input. Icarus? Hmm, who would be flying too close to the sun, mataphorically? Thinking caps on, people! I just hope it's not Batman!

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  5. Oh, I have only one guess as to who Icarus (Clark's anonymous "Deep Throat" informer) is -- though why he chose that name is a mystery to me.

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  7. I figure it's Perry. He's tied to Glenmorgan through the paper, so he can't take him down openly. So he's getting Clark to do it at the Star. But he's also likely to have the inside information he can use to point Clark in the right direction.

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  8. (Pounds fist into hand) Oh, good thinking, Rob. That makes great sense.

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  9. I actually REALLY enjoyed the book...And I've never been a fan of Morrison. I do agree that paying 3.99 for only 20 pages of story and the remaining ten pages with "previews" is a bit annoying, so hopefully that won't happen again. (but it will.)

    I did feel that the introduction of Krypton was brought into the story a bit early, but like I say in my review, I'll give it a few issues to see where Morrison takes this.

    But other than that, I found the new depiction of Clark Kent to be rather entertaining and new.

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  10. I'm a fan ( so far ) of the new Action Comics. it's the only one of the 52 that I'm getting. I'm just hoping Morrison doesn't make as much of a pig's ear of this as he has Batman.

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  11. Enjoyed your review lots Jimmy, hope everyone checks it out.

    I found Batman RIP a bit too convoluted at times, Joe, but Batman & Robin/Batman Inc have been more my cup of tea.

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  12. they really did turn clark in to peter parker

    oddly enough for a self confessed spiderman fan and disliker of reboot shenanigans currently most new books i read are actually the dc relaunch

    ...go figure

    batman
    detective comics
    batgirl
    and action comics

    so i guess it worked
    before the reboot i was only reading batman
    the real question is how long will this status quo remain ?

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  13. I believe that after the first six issues Action Comics jumps ahead to the present day. Prepare for the horror suit!

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