ACTION COMICS (Series Two) # 1 (2011)
Cover Date: November, 2011. Published by DC Comoics.
Beginning a (possible) series of looong Comic Book Reviews by Joe Torcivia – and with the title that “began it all”!
“Superman Versus The City of Tomorrow” 28 Pages.
Writer: Grant Morrison. Penciller: Rags Morales. Inker: Rick Bryant.
But, first… some historical perspective. The first “Crisis” (of the “on Infinite Earth’s" variety) shook the DC Comics Universe throughout the year of 1985, modifying, or outright nullifying, decades of prior continuity with it.
From that point on, periodic “Adjustment Crises” would take place, from “Zero Hour” to “Final Crisis”, each in its own way (all together now) modifying, or outright nullifying, the adjusted continuity that developed in the interim.
But, could even the World’s Greatest Superheroes be prepared for the seismic shock that occurred in September, 2011! For, DC Comics would cancel its entire line… and begin anew.
Calling their stunt “The New 52”, 52 DC titles either began or restarted with Number One issues.
If the inflated prices for certain issues offered at this past month’s New York Comic Con were any indication, the move has resulted in some initial success. But, as with all things in the comic book industry, it will eventually “cool”, and things will return to normal.
Two ironies that result from this move is that
(A:) the DC Universe of this new continuity has NEVER experienced a “Crisis” -- it just all rebooted without all the wrenching trauma of a “Crisis” (… or WAS THERE a “Crisis” after all, and they characters simply don’t remember and, thus, do not reflect it in the new continuity)
(B:) I had walked away from DC Comics completely in the last 2-3 years, and this stunt was enough to draw me back in for a limited peak.
And, there was no better place to begin that “limited peak” than with the brand spanking new ACTION COMICS # 1) cover dated not 1938, but November, 2011!
The creative team of – not Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, but Grant Morrison and Rags Morales, sure made it interesting. Honestly, it was not the greatest comic book ever (I never expected it to be!), but it was the equal of a good nineties “Elseworlds”. And, by today's standards, that's good enough!
As is our custom in our DVD Reviews, we’ll inaugurate this new series of Comic Book Reviews by breaking it down into CONS and PROS.
3.99 Cover Price: Now, really! Isn’t FOUR BUCKS a little much for…
A Small Piece of the Story: Yeah, I get it. This IS how modern comics are done, and the aim is to bring you back for more next month. But, if only for the stunt of STARTING THE ENTIRE DC COMICS LINE OVER AGAIN, perhaps they could have TRIED for a more single issue / done-in-one approach in tribute to the way these things were done in ages past. Ahhh, I can’t be too hard on them for this.
It’s Grant Morrison: Since the mid/late ‘90s, few writers have turned out as many interesting (if not outright fascinating) stories as Grant Morrison. From his amazing run on ‘90s JLA to the 21st Century’s ALL STAR SUPERMAN (the latter adapted for a direct-to-DVD production by Bruce Timm and Warner Bros. earlier this year), Grant Morrison stands above the modern-day pack. In a time where I find myself enjoying the work of modern comic book writers less-and less by the HOUR (let alone by the day), Grant Morrison has become a precious resource – if not an outright “national treasure”!
It’s Rags Morales: Let the cover art and interior page sample speak for themselves. No, we’ll never have Curt Swan back (more’s the pity), but this is great stuff – in an “Image Comics” sort of way. And, best of all (beyond the “Image” influence, it seems more influenced by the great Brian Bolland than by Anime and Manga. That’s a good thing ANY day of the week!
It’s 28 and not 22: At least we get 28 pages of story (and not the standard 22) for that 3.99!
Not that the ad content is deceased by any means. This issue (and presumably future ones) has 40 interior pages, rather than the traditional 32. I guess the comic book as we know it will be subject to constant “re-jiggering” of its page count and content until it someday disappears altogether.
It’s Action # 1: Now, I can say I own “ACTION COMICS # 1"!
You can say it too! We can ALL say it! It’s kinda like when Oprah Winfrey gave everyone a car!
Things I liked: WARNING: MILD SPOILERS ARE COMING…
Superman plays ROUGH! He puts guys through WALLS! And he still LEAPS, rather than flies.
We are in a world not yet used to super-beings. The cape is mistaken for a “red parachute” (presumably seen that way as the downside of a mighty leap!)
Cop: “How do you do this to a gun?” (seeing it mangled)
Lead Cop: “We used to have LAWS in this town – like GRAVITY. You remember GRAVITY, right?”
The Superman costume is not yet complete. Clark wears jeans – not trunks and tights.
Is Luthor a businessman or has he reverted to a scientist? Can’t quite tell yet.
Clark works for the Daily Star – and George Taylor, as he did in the very early Golden Age!
Jimmy Olsen is STILL “Superman’s Pal” and Lois Lane (NOT Mrs. Clark Kent) is classically reckless in pursuit of her story. They work for the rival Daily Planet.
A magnificently handled runaway train sequence.
The bottom line is that I was more impressed than I expected to be!
Given this, I’d say they are off to a good start.