BookHound
Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

ACTION COMICS #1 by Grant Morrison, Rags Morales, and Rick Bryant

When I first saw the cover of Action Comics #1, I was predisposed to dislike it. I mean, Superman in jeans and work boots? That just looked dorky to me, like nothing I’d ever want to read, yet Grant Morrison delivers a story like no other we’ve ever read about Superman, and it springs from everything Superman has ever been.

This new Superman is supposed to be the first superhero to hit the world scene, and the time is something like five years ago. In these pages, Superman is brash and cocky, something we haven’t seen before outside of a Red Kryptonite story back in the Silver Age.

Also, Superman isn’t as powerful as we’ve gotten used to him. He’s back to being faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings but not fly over them, and overcoming a powerful locomotive (as in this comic) is a major endeavor.

He’s also wanted by the police, which seems really strange to me, but then if something so alien landed in our midst, our first impulse would probably be to try to control it. So that makes sense as well. One of the best parts in the story is how the general populace seems determined to protect Superman from the police, as if they somehow sense his innate goodness. Awesome stuff.

Even better, the Lex Luthor presented in these pages makes perfect sense as well. He’s a scientist and a control freak, and he becomes obsessed with Superman because he can’t understand him and can’t control him. Powerful motivations for a man like this Luthor. And sticking him in the middle of a military operation to track down Superman is genius because it just plain makes sense.

I hated the fact that Lois and Clark were being broken up for the revamped world of DC Comics, but I’m enjoying what’s being done in this comic. The rest of the Superman stable of regulars is here as well, though in slightly altered capacities.

I had to smile at the Smallville television show reference, “Somebody! Save me!”

Rags Morales has always impressed me as an artist, and I’m convinced that he’s doing some of his best work on this book. The panels are chockfull of action and layout nicely on the page, drawing the eye easily through the story. I ended up looking at the visual flow and getting the gist of the story, then had to go back for the words. Morales is a fantastic storyteller in his own right.

So, for the moment, I’m content to enjoy the ride and look at the new world that’s being created from the ashes of the old. This isn’t exactly the Superman that I’ve been used to lately, but it is a version of the Superman I remember as a kid.

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