Comic review: Action Comics #8

action_comics8Action Comics #8

Written by: Grant Morrison
Art by: Rags Morales

The Brainiac storyline wraps up in this issue, with Superman’s final confrontation with the “Collector of Worlds” (as he’s called here, though does gain his real name). (SPOILERS ahead)

For those wondering, no, Lois doesn’t get to do much more in this issue than the previous few, nor does Jimmy, besides rigging his smart phone into emitting a “zee zee zee” “S.O.S” signal to Superman, a la the noise and function made by his traditional Superman signal-watch.

Clark himself gets some advancement in his personal story here: he gets a job offer at the “Daily Planet,” and confronts his landlady, who knows his secret. She also references a former tenant who was gay, but it isn’t Maggie Sawyer, who—like a good chunk of the traditional minor DC characters—is still missing in action in the “New 52” reboot. Speaking of supporting characters, Glenmorgan’s ramblings at one point sounds like a possible reference to Mr. Mxyzptlk…

John Henry gets a brief reference in one panel, being asked if he’ll continue to be a superhero. Hopefully, that’ll be “yes,” especially with the cancellation of Mister Terrific and Static’s titles (though doubt Steel will be getting his own comic again anytime soon…).

Superman explains to the general public at a press conference about his Kryptonian heritage, but unlike Byrne’s version of Superman discovering his origins in “Man of Steel,” it’s fortunately free of Reagan Republican 80s-style “I’m an American, screw my heritage” overtones.

The artwork for the final few pages of the story looks like it changes from Morales, but not sure who worked on it.

A preview of the next villain, “Nimrod the Hunter” (a Biblical reference, apparently, not a statement about his intelligence), is also seen here.

As for my thoughts on the storyline overall, it was OK, though no “All Star Superman.” Hopefully the next issue will see Supes interact more directly with Lois, Jimmy, John Henry, and the rest.

Typical for a Morrison story, there’s the usual references to previous versions of Superman mythos elements:

  • The “Daily Star” building resembles the Earth-Two version seen in 70s and 80s stories, complete with its star-logo and the font. Post-early Golden Age comics, the “Daily Star” is usually shown as the “Daily Planet”‘s Earth-Two counterpart, a newspaper in Star City (Green Arrow’s hometown), and/or a rival Metropolis paper to the “Daily Planet.”
  • Superman mentions the rocket that brought him to Earth being invulnerable “…like everything else where I come from.” In Silver and Bronze Age comics, anything from Krypton that ended up under a yellow sun became invulnerable just like Superman. I can see younger fans brought up under/used to the post-Crisis Superman throwing a fit over this aspect being re-introduced, though for me, it’s a return to the old status quo. Plus even post-Crisis, the metal of his ship was still invulnerable—thus Clark’s use of a piece of it so he could shave with his heat vision (with his hair and nails now growing under a yellow sun… erm, not one of the more interesting Byrne retcons…).
  • Luthor’s lair has a bust of Albert Einstein. A mid-80s pre-Crisis story showed Luthor idolized Einstein as a hero, and would try to break out of prison on Einstein’s birthday each year.
  • A reference is made to Superman’s giant key to his Fortress of Solitude in Silver and Bronze Age stories.
  • George Taylor appears here as the editor of the “Daily Star,” just as he has in every other version of DC’s continuity. In the Golden Age comics, Taylor was the “Star”‘s editor in the earliest stories, but was replaced early on by Perry White (and the “Star” by the “Planet”). Later Earth-Two-set stories explained the discrepancy in Golden Age stories away by saying Perry “filled in from time to time” as editor for Taylor, though they never explained away the Star/Planet name change that well. (A real-world answer they could’ve ran with would be that they owned two papers with both names, and permanently shut the “Planet” down at some point.) In the Silver Age/Earth-One comics, Taylor was the editor of the “Planet” before Perry White became editor. Post-Crisis, Taylor was usually the editor of the “Star” (as a rival paper to the “Planet”).
  • The “Smallville Sentinel” is the most common name used for Smallville’s newspaper in late Silver Age and Bronze Age stories; it played a more prominent role in the 80s Superboy solo series.

 

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