Sunday, March 10, 2013

Action Comics HC 1

This was far and away the most impressive of the new 52 debuts. Honestly, Grant Morrison's "man of the people" take on Superman was one of the best premiere issues I've ever read. Seeing Superman running and leaping through Metropolis, taking it to the fatcats while sticking up for the working man? That's my kind of Superman! Unfortunately, that take really only lasts about two issues before things got out of whack and the new 52 reared its ugly head. 

To make matters worse, DC had to correct the order of the issues in the collection. Instead or the normal publishing order, DC presents Action Comics issues 1-4, 7-8, then 5-6. I thought this seemed to read a bit more clearly than my first few floppies did. Honestly, if DC felt the need to do this in the collection, how much of a mess must this have been monthly? 

Anyway, there is a lot of good stuff in this collection. Even though I've got my problems with the new 52 (and I've stated them exhaustively before), seeing Morrison's mad ideas and new take on dialogue is still entertaining. Brainiac is reborn as the Collector, gathering bottled cities in mint condition and trying to gather the last Kryptonian. Lex Luthor is an overconfident business man out to protect our planet from an invasive species. Clark Kent is an investigative journalist fighting for the little man with a very interesting source giving him the inside track. 

Morrison has been using his new grunt-dialogue in Batman for awhile, and it works nicely here in Superman too. There are a ton of "Nnng." And "Rrgh"'s going on, every time anyone struggles. It's a neat contrivance, adding a layer of realism to the word bubbles. As long as it doesn't get overused, I'm a fan. 

Regarding the new 52? I don't like the new Metallo origin. I despise the new Superman costume/armor. I don't like the redesigns of classic Superman villains. Steel looks ridiculous, why would you mess with the classic? I'm not sure I like Steel being a contemporary of Superman either. Too many good stories and origins are wiped out with the reboot. Sure, the Legion of Super-Heroes story generally still works, but we just saw it written by Geoff Johns a few years ago. The best parts of this collection; the mad ideas, the dialogue, the re-telling of the origin; they all could have worked in the old DCU. 
And the art? It is a mess. Multiple artists fly on and off the pages. I assume it was to meet deadlines but Rags Morales' art starts out spectacular and ends with a rushed whimper. Brad Walker has to come and draw the big splash page featuring the terrible armor. Brent Anderson is drawing all the non-Superman pages, alternating multiple times an issue. I actually like all those artists (and Andy Kubert, who does the Legion story), but man, it is tremendously jarring seeing them bounce around from page to page. At this point, I'm almost used to the art fluctuating issue-by-issue; page by page takes me right out of the book. 


1 comment:

Marc said...

Why were issues 5-6 shoved to the back of the book? Were they fill-in issues or something?

At any rate, this sounds like kind of a mess. Too bad, since it didn't have to be that way at all.