ACTION COMICS #3
“World Against Superman”
Written by Grant Morrison
Pencils by Rags Morales and Gene Ha
Inks by Rick Bryant and Gene Ha
Brian Verderosa says…
What has been an exemplary one-two punch in the first two efforts from Morrison & Co., the third outing of Action has its ups and downs, and is not the shout-from-the-rooftops revelation its predecessors have been. For the first time in this new incarnation, we’re given a glimpse of Krypton and the madness preceding the planet’s imminent destruction. The art, as always, is stunning. The back and forth that Morrison employs in this issue falls a bit flat for me, however.
Perhaps it’s because the previous two issues have been very linear and dealt with one issue at hand rather than several, but the overall lack of Superman heroics are hurting what was a near-perfect, ass-kicking book. We spend a good amount of time in this issue with Clark, who still has his very different demeanor and stature (you would never think him to be masquerading as the Man of Steel). I do like replacing his aw-shucks Kansas boy attitude for this voice-of-the-people crusader, but I don’t think we’re given enough in any of these first three installments to understand why the Big Bad is just that.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad entry into the series. It just doesn’t have the same panache that #1 and #2 had, and there are a few confusing items. For instance, Superman saves a cat from a tree, gets bombarded by townsfolk (as you can see on the cover) and seemingly gives up his mantle all on one page. There’s something too forced and heavy-handed, but I have faith in Morrison, Morales & Ha to pull it out and give us an excellent story next month.
Wait and see. If you loved the first two issues, you may be disappointed. At the end of the day, however, it’s still a well-executed Superman book.
Steve Seigh says…
Piggybacking on Brian’s review, I too felt a little odd toward Action Comics this issue. While the last two issues have been action-packed and have compelled me to feverishly turn the page, I’d argue that this issue was a little confusing at best. I did very much enjoy getting our first glimpse of Krypton this issue, and even in its destruction we are treated to some truly beautiful comic art. Though the manner upon which I felt this book leaped from scenario to scenario (with very little indication as to when these events were actually taking place) the book just did not feel as “super” to me as the previous two. I do enjoy this new Clark Kent and his journalistic crusading ways, though I’m just not sure that his moments are always as natural as I’d like them to be. Take the moment inside the story when Clark is talking to Jimmy inside of a diner. One moment he’s speaking with only Jimmy, but after several panels, Lois shows up spouting some hideous remark about Clark looking like a pig. In the next panel, Clark is sitting on a park bench while an old woman whispers foreboding remarks into his ear. Huh? Yeah. That’s what I said.
Taking into account everything that I’ve written above, I am still very much on board for Action Comics. I have no problem spending time with Clark and getting to know more about how he functions outside of the cape, but I didn’t buy the book for Clark. I read it because I want to see Superman. Hopefully in the next issue we’ll have much more of that, and I’m sure we will.
Wait and see. Being a fan of the first two issues was enough to bring me back this time, but readers relying more on Superman than Kent to keep their interest may want more from this issue. For the record, I am still totally on board for this book.
Bobby Shortle says…
I am going to have to raise a hand in affirmation to the points my other justice leaguers have made about Action Comics #3. For it’s first two outstanding issues, Grant Morrison’s Superman book has been everything I wish Justice League and Superman proper could be, but this third installment has me at a loss.
The opening is cohesive and propulsive. Getting to see a different take on the fall of Krypton, along with an ass-kicking Jor-el, was a really refreshing way to begin the tale. But I’m afraid that after this extra-terrestrial opening, the rest of book seems to be unsure of what it wants to be. There are several scenes that play more like montages; ping-ponging us from cafe, to apartment, to military base and so on. Each of these sections feels like a sliver of a much larger scene. For instance, I would have loved to see the fallout with Clark’s landlady finding his Superman shirt, but instead we are jettisoned away to other goings on. The point of these schizophrenic scene changes, framed by an obviously biased TV news report, is to promote a sense of Superman’s established world crumbling in on itself. However, it just serves to gives a muddled portrait of vague threats and possibilities in forthcoming issues. In fact it felt like one big long “this season on Action Comics” type of promo you’d see after the pilot of a TV series.
Grant Morrison is a master of comic storytelling, but he fails to achieve his goal in Action Comics #3. There are too many scenes, too many characters and too little connective tissue in this scattershot narrative to give it a reccomendation.
Wait and See – If you’ve been reading the book you know the heights it can reach. This is in an unfortunate misstep but I fully expect things to get started again next month. However, I can’t in good faith say to buy considering the sloppy and harried storytelling that propagates its pages.
Brad Jones says:
While I’m still not going totally insane over what’s going on in Action Comics, I’m down with this new vision of Superman and Metropolis. But here’s the thing: I get that things are tough for Superman here on Earth and I don’t really need an entire book to prove that. I appreciate that we saw that life for him as Clark is no ray of sunshine either, but I guess I expected that to be the case. After all, Clark’s life was never the glamorous of his two egos. I didn’t know where I wished this story was going, but until we finally got to this big computer virus villain, I didn’t like where we were. Superman/Clark’s existence on Earth is tough, but at this point, I’m ready to see him start winning the world over. Thankfully, the flashback to Krypton sets up the threat and opportunity for Superman to do just that.
My favorite thing about the book was that it made me think about the idea of this “revamped” Superman. While Superman is certainly a little edgier, he clearly still stands for truth, justice and the American way. What’s so different from other incarnations of the Kryptonian is the world he exists in. This cynical, more realistic Earth (while more Gotham City than traditional Metropolis) is a cool way of shaping this new Superman and could be a great way to bring Kal-el into a modern movie universe.
Buy it…while I’m not near as giggly for this whole series as some of the other bloggers on this site, I will admit that this book makes me think about dorky things more than most of the New 52, and for that, it’s way worth the read.