TCR: The Revolving Hamster Wheel of Plot that is Action Comics #1


I rather feel like poor Superman is stuck running in an eternal hamster wheel. The comic book powers that be won’t ever let him really have the girl. They won’t let him be successful in his job. He is doomed to start all over again (in a really crappy apartment) at getting the things he has worked for over the better part of a century.

Dude. That sucks.

I find this discouraging to the point that Action Comics #1 was hard for me to read (and I was never a faithful Action Comics reader by any stretch of the imagination, therefore I was hardly emotionally attached upon entering). But then I always find this difficult. I still am having a hard time with the disillusion of Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage. This is way worse. Not that the comic was bad. By all accounts it was a very good comic book. I just couldn’t help but think in the back of my mind the entire time:  if our beloved superheroes can never actually be assured to have accomplished anything and they are constantly being brought back five steps because they were “more interesting” at that point in their careers – then what is the point of reading to see what they will accomplish (because it’s nothing)?

Honestly I think I would have rather seen this book turned upside down on its head with the Superman of this reality surrounded by an entirely different supporting cast. I’m tired of watching Clark chase Lois and she brushing him off as she determinedly focuses on her career. If we’re not going to let him have her, can’t he at least chase someone else for a while? Sheesh.

But it is, really, a very good book. Quite entertaining. Superman is much darker. And he is wearing jeans which makes him all kinds of edgy now. I do, though, like the look of him in general. Rags Morales has brought his general appearance back to a very traditional looking Superman. The art is truly a perfect blend of the nostalgic feel with modern details in the clothing and images of various technologies. Superman feels like Superman – except he also feels a little bit like Batman because he likes to throw people off of buildings to get confessions from them and also a little bit like Spiderman because now he is not all buddy buddy with the city, in fact they are rather at odds at the moment.

Lois looks and feels very ‘loisy’ – she has a great feel about her and perfect dialogue to match what should be expected out of Lois Lane. Jimmy is also very ‘Jimmy Olseny’ as he makes amusing complaints while Lois completely ignores him. All the classic formula elements are there.

The writing is solid. Of course it is – Grant Morrison is on the job. I might be speaking treasonous words here, but I tend to find Morrison’s writing choppy in nine out of ten things that he writes. I found this choppy as well, but he builds a solid story and a strong depiction of who this new, slightly cooler and darker, Superman is going to be. I like how Superman is a bit arrogant and a bit headstrong. That is a nice change of pace. I hope Morrison continues to develop him in this engaging manner.

I probably wasn’t going to collect the Action Comics anyway, but I don’t think I’ll be buying #2. I will, of course, be keeping taps on new Superman in the pages of Justice League.  There is a very strong chance I am not being open minded enough about this one. But this weekend I’d like to do another review covering, in less detail, some of the other new #1’s that came out today. I hope to have a more excited review (and less depressing) to present you with then.


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