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Comic reviews: Superman #2, Action Comics #3

Superman #2Superman #2

Written by: George Perez
Art by: Jesus Merino

The second issue of this reboot was another enjoyable entry… and yes, a wordy one by modern comics’ standards. I’ve seen criticism online about how “wordy” Perez’s “Superman” is. Either literacy’s sunk to such an abysmal state that even a *comic book* is seen as “too wordy,” or modern readers are too used to decompressed storytelling (of the sort that results in modern superhero books too often having too many splash pages and taking minimal time to read). Either way, I was pleased to get a full story (and fairly self-contained).

The plot: Superman investigates the last issue’s fire-monster appearance, while suddenly encountering a new threat: a monster that’s invisible only to Superman, but visible to everyone else. In a few subplots, we see General Lane still holds a grudge against the Man of Steel, Clark helps Lois move into her new office at Galaxy, several old concepts are re-introduced, and we see more of the previous issue’s subplot (mysterious individuals spouting some alien language).

Thought the alien was a clever concept, as was how Superman (with help from Lois, Jimmy, and newer character Miko) finally defeated it. Given there’s cameras everywhere these days (including on the Metropolis citizens’ iPhone-knockoffs), wonder if the monster (or whoever’s behind it) had been to a Best Buy store recently…

Hopefully Lois being behind a desk won’t sideline her from future stories. Of course, a future writer (or Perez himself) could have her quit to go back to her old reporter job, which I assume will be coming sooner or later, if only to match up with what’s likely to be seen in the upcoming Superman movie. The movie of course is the same reason for Superman’s briefs-free new costume…

As noted above, this issue also re-introduces several old concepts or individuals, including:

  • Cat Grant, a “Daily Planet” gossip columnist introduced during Byrne’s late 80s run on the Superman books. Cat was attracted to Clark (not Superman). The previous issue had reintroduced Ron Troupe, an African-American coworker at the “Daily Planet” in the 90s books. No sign so far, however, of Steve Lombard, an egoistical sports anchor for WGBS who appeared in the 70s and early 80s books, and was re-introduced several years ago.
  • The Daily Planet again has a news helicopter, flown in by Jimmy Olsen. In the Silver Age comics, the “Flying Newsroom” (as the helicopter was called) was a heavy part of Jimmy Olsen’s stories.
  • The Fortress of Solitude is seen here, as is the idea of Superman keeping a journal. Superman’s journal was a mainstay of Silver and Bronze Age stories, though there he usually recorded it in Kryptonese (the language of Krypton).

Action Comics #3

Written by: Grant Morrison
Art by: Rags Morales

More of Superman’s “early days” are seen here, as we see the public’s turned against Metropolis’ new hero, thanks to the orchestrations of Glenmorgan, who’s the owner of Galaxy (though obviously not for long, if Morgan Edge now runs it in “Superman”). The police are shown entering Clark’s apartment, suspicious of his heavy crusading against corruption for the “Daily Star,” the paper Clark works for. Oddly, the police aren’t shown flashing a warrant during this scene, though the landlady’s with them (and confronts Clark about something *very* important after they leave).

A few other scenes show Clark’s getting information from some anonymous (even to him) person, plus several oddly-jumped-to scenes where Clark’s mourning over his late parents and where he’s having junk thrown at him by an angry mob (after a rescue). Clark’s then shown in a factory interviewing its apparently-crooked owner (with Lois and Jimmy also showing up), and the origin of what I assume is this continuity’s Metallo, though the mysterious voice heard/entities seen throughout this whole issue makes me guess Brainiac is also involved.

The story’s opening also showed the mysterious voice/entities, along with a scene of baby Kal-El on Krypton with Lara. Krypton here resembles Byrne’s in part (the costumes anyway, though Jor-El’s looks like a heavily-updated version of his colorful Silver Age costume), but also contains some of Morrison’s usual ideas: Kryptonians all can access mentally Krypton’s telecommunications network, while Lyla Lerrol is also mentioned. (Lyla Lerrol was a Kryptonian “emotion-movie” actress Superman fell in love with while stranded in the past on Krypton in a classic Silver Age story.)

Also shown here is Krypto…sort of. Here, Clark’s childhood pet has been remade as an alien-looking, panther-like “dog.” I’d rather have the conventional-looking Krypto, thanks…and a still-alive one, since DC’s declared Krypto as having not made it off Krypton alive in this reboot. Guess it’s part of DC’s ongoing goal of trying to eradicate anything remotely cartoonish in their stories, a la Aquaman’s “I don’t talk to fish” line. Though getting rid of Krypto (and Aquaman’s ability to converse directly with sea creatures) don’t seem like much fun to me… meh.

Clark here is mentioned as having a blog, continuing the updating of his career in terms of media, though I’d imagine the “Daily Star” has a website/blog Clark’s articles would be seen on, alongside the print version. Also mentioned here is that Clark doesn’t have a TV set, which one of the cops sneers at Clark about. Most other versions of Clark show him as owning a TV set, even if he wasn’t a heavy viewer (between his Superman duties and his newspaper duties); this version of Clark is presumably either too poor or too busy with his duties to bother owning a TV. (I hope Morrison/DC’s editors don’t think Kansans don’t watch TV!) Of course, some people nowadays watch media on their computers instead of on TV…

Finally: yes, Superman’s still got his “Lil’ Abner” costume. Yes, I’ll continue to harp on how stupid it looks.

While I enjoyed Morrison’s “All Star Superman,” I think I might be enjoying “Superman” more than “Action”… though I’d still rather have Morrison on this reboot than, say, Geoff Johns. I also hope that both books in the future ease up on the “emo Clark” presentation; Clark isn’t Peter Parker, after all (and I like Peter Parker).

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