Leading off the second week of the New 52 is Action Comics number one. It’s brandishing two covers. One people have been seeing for months now which depicts Superman run/flying through the streets of Metropolis, cops chasing him and bullets bouncing off his appendages. The second is a Jim Lee drawing reminiscent of Superman’s first appearance in Justice League number one last week.
The first installment of the new Superman is cleverly titled “Superman Versus The City Of Tomorrow.” True to its billing this book shows Superman actively engaging in battle with not only the wealthy dilatants who flout their money and influence with disregard for the law and those whom they harm, but also the police. This is definitely not the Superman we’ve known for the last thirty-plus years.
This is something completely different.
The idea of Superman as a brash, young, overbearing, super-powered “ruffian” may disturb some people. But clearly this is the direction Action Comics and the Justice League intend to take the character. I will be interested to see how this plays out, but let’s focus, for now, on this issue.
It begins with Superman manhandling one of Metropolis’ wealthy elite whom he has decided needs to be brought to justice. Now, this is not entirely out of the norm for Superman, it’s just that we’re so used to it being Lex Luthor and in this case it’s not. Luthor is actually working with the government to do what I guess he’s always been trying to do: eliminate Superman.
As we learn along the way in this issue, Superman has been on the scene for six months and has been causing havoc ever since. The government, under the guidance and influence of Luthor, attempts to lead Superman into a trap. The ambush involves civilians and nearly works before the innocents rise up in the face of the advancing tanks (not exactly Tiananmen Square, but…yeah) which gives Superman the respite he needs to make his escape.
Luthor, being Luthor, of course has a secondary plan. He’s rigged a train to derail and Superman is forced into action in an attempt to save his “rival from another paper” Lois Lane and “best friend” Jimmy Olsen. Remember, this book jumps back in time a bit to when Clark Kent first comes to Metropolis. He hasn’t made enough of a name for himself to have gotten on with The Daily Planet, yet. But he’s making a name for himself with stories about Superman (think Peter Parker and Spiderman).
There are a few funny parts in the story, to be sure. Like the image shown here on the right, where a cop is lamenting the loss of laws in Metropolis…laws like gravity. Another amusing part is Kent’s land-lady who is very creepy with her fawning over him.
Something to keep an eye on is a random off-hand comment Luthor makes near the end of issue about an object in space just past the orbit of Neptune and that it’s getting closer.
All in all I think Grant Morrison and Rags Morales did a decent job of introducing the re-worked and re-vitalized, more-modern version of Superman. He’s not what anyone would expect, which I have to believe is exactly what DC was looking for. It’s incredibly hard to take the staple character, the face-of-the-franchise (to steal a term from sports) and do a complete overhaul. With a cumulative history of more than seventy years weighing him down, combined with several (sometimes shoddy) revisions done along the way, Superman more than any other character was desperately in need of a fresh start.
Action Comics number one gets a KING rating from me!
Come back tomorrow when Brandon launches his first review of the DC New 52 and my next installment of OFF THE RACK! Then check back Friday for Bin Fodder and more DC New 52! Keep your eyes (and browsers) open on 8DaysAGeek all month long as we tackle the biggest story in comics!
This is your Bin Fodder Guru Tim Blacksmith signing off.
p.s. Did you spot the hooded lady? I’ve included a picture below. She keeps showing up in the strangest places! Who is she? What’s her impact going to be on the new DCU? Discuss below in comments!!!