ACTION COMICS #1
Written by GRANT MORRISON; Art by RAGS MORALES and RICK BRYANT; Cover by RAGS MORALES; Variant cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS
I have to start by saying that over the past few years I have become increasingly anti-Morrison. Batman RIP was the last thing that had any coherance to it, since then he has become more esoteric, ego-led and, well, consistently tardy. I have suffered through throw away dialogue designed to make him seem smarter (sticking prefixes in front of words doesn't denote intelligence) and certain comic readers think that he is a genius just because they can't follow whats going on. As for having to read three different books to jigsaw together a story; don't get me started.
Having said all that, however; I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.
Don't get me wrong, I'm still dreading his return to Batman (at least I know it'll be the last), but golly was Action Comics #1 good. The pacing is fantastic. On the first page Superman crashes a criminal business deal, lights up those heat-vision eyes and says "Rats with guns. I'm your worst nightmare." On the first page! The action doesn't let up as this new, edgier Superman threatens a confession from....well I don't want to spill the whole plot for you. Needless to say there is a chase as they try to stop Superman, a quick fight scene, a reveal the General lane and Lex Luthor are monitoring all this and a Superman chases a bomb on the monorail moment.
I know what you're thinking; "Superman threatened a confession from someone? That's not right!" Well don't panic because three panels after he gets said confession he is advising someone to visit their doctor with a smile on his face (that x-ray vision is handy) and three pages after that he is saving innocent people from the trail of destruction that is following him. Superman is still Superman and Clark is still Clark. But in both cases you get the feeling that his childhood wan't quite as cushy as it had been pre-Flashpoint. I think that Clark has probably had to fend for himself since his teens rather than mid-twenties.
Action #1 work particularly well as a first issue because all the major players are put in their places as part of the plot. It seems to start that Luthor is rambling and that Lois and Jimmy have no reason to be where they are, but all comes to a head beautifully as we share General Lane's final page realisation of exactly what has happened.
Morrison's script is drawn with great skill by the fantastic rags Morales. His style on Action is a bit more kinetic than in Identity Crisis, but it hasn't lost any of the emotive qualites that made that book great. Both have brought their A game in order to make Superman relevent and exciting again. Well done, lads.
Classic Superman vs Luthor freshened up with a couple of continuity tweaks, a Superman who can be hurt and a Lex Luthor who beats Superman.