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Home » Featured Posts, Reviews

Guest Review – Action Comics #2

Submitted by on October 12, 2011 – 12:00 amNo Comment

The following is by guest reviewer Bill Delancey, a customer at Phantom of the Attic.

Action Comics #2
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Rags Morales, Brent Anderson, and Rick Bryant

“How can anyone do what he is doing?”

Superman gets electrocuted. Superman gets gassed with poison. Superman gets prodded with needles, an attempted haircut and they even turn guns loose on his cape and all the while Superman sits and smiles. Smiles? He laughs, smiles and tosses around a joke or two. Who knew Superman getting tortured could be so much fun?

“And tell me” asks a dumbfounded Lex Luthor, “How we can torture a so-called man with steel-hard skin and hair that can’t be cut?”

Luthor watches on in aggravated amazement as his barrage of beatings (“tests”, as he thinks of them) not only have no effect on Superman but actually have him laughing. Who knew Superman could have so much fun?

Repeatedly in interviews before the release of issue one Grant Morrison promised readers that he would be taking Superman back to his depression era roots. But how can a depression era and less powerful Superman be any fun in 2011? Gone is the Superman who can fly into space and fight alien invaders and Crisis from alternate earths and replaced with a young, brash, slightly misled Superman being hunted by the military. This Superman, without losing what makes him super, is an over-powered, anti-establishment and freewheeling menace to the government and it is more fun to watch than any Superman in recent memory.

Morrison uses this issue to build up the aura around Superman without having him say much at all. We get to look on as Luthor and his gangs of military scientists try again and again to find out what it is Superman actually is, to no avail. The reader is given a rundown of all the things that make Superman alien by having needles poked, gas released, and electricity flow as he sits and takes it all in. At one point his heart rate actually accelerates to adjust for the electricity running through him and returns to normal, whatever that may be, once the threat is averted. Morrison keeps what could be a long, drawn out torture scene, or test as Luthor calls it, moving at a brisk pace and exchanges the scene every few pages with Lois Lane and her comical attempts at breaching the security of the military base where Superman is being held. Lois’ attempts at conning her way into the base to see her father keep the mood light, and give the readers a glimpse into the world according to Lois Lane. She’ll never take no for an answer.

Most of the fun from this issue comes from Rags Morales and company on the art duties. Rags keeps the twinkle in Superman’s eye and the grin on his face throughout the issue. Morales and Brent Anderson trade off pages on pencils with Anderson inking himself and Rick Bryant working with Morales. The art, surprisingly, doesn’t suffer. The difference, although noticeable, doesn’t ruin the flow or pace of the book, if anything it adds a bit to it. The stylized art from Rags when Superman is in motion meshes well with Anderson’s straight forward depictions of Lois who, at the time, isn’t anywhere near the action that is going down. Also of note is Brad Anderson’s coloring. He keeps the scenes bright and colorful, adding to the feel of the rejuvenated Superman that Action Comics is portraying.

As far as story goes, Morrison keeps everything moving at a breakneck speed that forces the reader to pick up on things on the fly and keep moving. Superman finds time during his breakout from the military to pick up his cape and stop by a room that is holding a Kryptonian rocket that is somehow blurting out phrases and names from Krypton. In typical Morrison fashion the rocket isn’t fully explained, it’s alluded to by Luthor early on in the issue, but it’s never revealed if it is the actual rocket Superman came to Earth on or if it is a completely new one. Superman promises the rocket, and the reader, that he’ll be back for it and finishes his breakout. Luthor scurries away with his tail between his legs, as he so often does when facing The Man of Steel, and when we last see him he is on the phone talking to persons unknown to him or the reader.

Morrison and Morales dropped another impressive and entertaining issue of Action Comics into the lap of comics’ readers everywhere. This is a series that so far is worth every bit of your time and money spent on it each month.

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