Mild Mannered Reviews - Action Comics
Action Comics #6Scheduled to arrive in stores: Febuary 1, 2012
Cover date: April 2012
"When Superman Learned to Fly"
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Andy Kubert
Inker: John Dell
Writer: Sholly Fisch
Reviewed by: Michael Bailey
"When Superman Learned to Fly"
A short, bespectacled man asks the soldiers in the Anti-Superman Army what they will give him for the Kryptonite in his possession. This angers the group because they were the ones that gave him the Kryptonite in the first place via the engine from Superman's rocket. The man explains that he will give them each a small sliver of the rock in exchange for one task in his name.
Meanwhile the Superman of the present day talks with the adult members of the Legion of Super-Heroes and wonders how it is they are all in the early days of his career. Saturn Woman explains that they have access to time machines before they turn their attention to Superman's rocket, which is dying without its power source. Apparently they won't be able to deal with that until Superman produces the power source they asked him to bring, which turns out to be an AA battery.
As they install the battery a shape shifter named Erik Drekken, a man Superman saved after Erik developed super powers and mutated into a monster ape, attacks. After a quick battle they interrogate Drekken. Saturn Woman learns that their enemies are hiding inside a tesseract pellet that was fired into Superman's brain by Nimrod the Hunter. She accesses Superman's memories and hones in on the day he and the Legion first met. After the memory is over Superman explains that a small detail changed during the course of the memory, which is odd because his recall is usually perfect. Cosmic Man finds where the pellet is and soon the Legion uses the Time Bubble to travel into Superman's brain.
Inside they attack the Anti-Superman Army but the battle nearly kills Superman when the Kryptonite is unleashed. Outside Drekken attacks again and tries to get Superman to admit defeat, but the memory of the death bed promise he made to Jonathan Kent to never give up affords him the strength to finally use the Kryptonite seeping into his body to recharge his rocket ship and save the space craft's life. The Legion travels back to normal space and help a weakened Superman get back to his own timeline. They talk about the first time Superman met them and how disappointed they all were. Saturn Woman reveals that meeting them was the moment where young Clark Kent realized the universe was bigger than he ever hoped. It was one of the greatest days of his life.
Story - 3: This is the first issue of the new ACTION COMICS that I didn't really care for.
I didn't hate it. It takes a lot to get me to truly hate something these days. I just didn't like it all that much, which was kind of depressing because I have enjoyed this run as a whole so far. Sure it wasn't exactly my cup to tea but Morrison was doing some interesting things with Superman and I was enjoying the look at the early days of this new version of the character. I think that is why I didn't enjoy this issue. For four issues we were seeing the young Superman try to figure out how to fight for the weak and the oppressed. We knew that eventually he was going to fly around in the armored suit but for the moment we were five years into the past and I was digging it. Then at the end of last issue we see a more "contemporary" Superman and suddenly I was taken out of this time bubble (no pun intended there, I assure you) and it felt... weird.
Yeah. Weird is the word I will go with.
See I'm the type of reader that likes to get sucked into a fictional world. I feel the same way about movies and television actually. My best viewing and reading experiences happen when the creators involved grab me from the beginning and get me to care about what is going to happen next. This is true for a lot of people I imagine. I like a certain level of linear storytelling as well, so when Morrison grabs me with a neophyte Superman in jeans, a T-shirt and a cape and starts a story that will lead to him putting on the newer outfit I don't want to see him in that new outfit until we get to that point in the story. I honestly didn't mind the flashback to the origin last month because while it was an interruption it was still backstory. Now, in the middle of a storyline that I liked quite a bit we are given another story that was only tenuously connected to the first one and, in all honesty, wasn't the type of Superman story I like to read.
I think that was my second biggest problem with this issue. The story had a lot of action and it was kind of neat to see the adult Legion of Super-Heroes and I was glad to see that they didn't ditch the young Clark hanging with the Legion thing because I rather liked that they put that back in for the previous iteration of Superman. The story itself was just kind of boring. There's stolen Kryptonite and a team of villains that hate Superman and it just didn't do much for me.
Hopefully things will get back on track with next issue. This wasn't the worst Superman story I have ever read but it was the worst of this new era.
Art - 4: While there were a few instances of wonky art I continue to enjoy Kubert's work on this title. His style is scratchy at times but it serves the story well. The creature designs were spectacular and the action was top notch. Every once in a while, like on the last page for example, the characters would look a tad off but that is a very minor quibble.
Clark Kent talks with Mr. Fry about Mr. Fry and his family moving in to take care of the farm when he goes off to college. Fry is grateful for Clark's generosity as his farm had been foreclosed on and his family had nowhere to go. Clark has one last look around and remembers some of the more important moments of his life that happened in the house. These were the moments that shaped the man he was quickly becoming. Finally Lana Lang and Pete Ross arrive to take Clark Kent to the train station. After one last look at pictures of his adoptive family Clark leave his home behind.
Story - 4: For the last two issues the back-up stories have threatened to outshine the main story. This time out it does. Once again we get flashbacks but I think these flashbacks were necessary to form the foundation of who this new version of Superman and Clark Kent are. It was great to see a younger Clark Kent interacting with Jonathan and Martha and Lana and Pete. These are the bedrocks of his existence and it is important to establish why Clark chose to help people with his powers.
Even though the moments were brief they spoke volumes. Martha comforting Clark after he accidentally hurt one of his classmates. Jonathan trying to instill in Clark that he needs to stand up for those that can't stand up to the bullies of the world. Pete wondering why Clark would want to become a writer. Lana telling Clark that he has too much to offer the world to stay in Smallville. We've seen these elements before but they are essential in establishing who the Man of Steel is. While I am hesitant to flat out say that something needs to be part of Superman's backstory because Superman means different things to different people the one thing I think we can all agree on is that the most basic nature of the Man of Steel is that he does the right thing because it is the right thing to do and the conversations we saw here, except for maybe the one with Pete, are important to that core value.
I hope that Sholly Fisch gets to write some Superman outside of these back-ups. He is certainly earning the gig.
Art - 4: While the faces of the characters continue to look kind of strange I rather dug the artwork in this story. Chriscross captures the emotion of the piece and of the characters and considering this story was all about emotion that is important. A good friend of mine named Trent pointed out to me that that the kitchen looks a lot like the one from SMALLVILLE and at first that kind of bugged me but the more I thought about it the more I realized that I like it. The reference didn't overwhelm the story and, to be honest, as many problems as I had with SMALLVILLE I like just about everything to do with the Kents and the farm. So in the end it was nice to see.
Cover Art - 3: This is the first cover of the new series that I just didn't care for. The composition is fine, but the coloring (especially all of the purples in the background) just do not agree with me.
Variant Cover Art - 3: I didn't care for this cover either, which was kind of disappointing. Superman looks...off. I can't quite place why. He just doesn't look right. Also the coloring of the squid creature, doesn't mesh well with the rest of the cover.
Variant Cover Art - 4 (Black and White): The composition is still a little strange but once again the black and white variant ends up being my favorite. Minus the odd coloring this image looks a lot better.
Mild Mannered Reviews
2012Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.
- Action Comics #3
- Superman #3
- Superboy #3
- Supergirl #3
- Justice League #3
- Teen Titans #3
- Young Justice #10
- DC Universe Online Legends #17
- DC Universe Online Legends #18
- Action Comics #4
- Superman #4
- Superboy #4
- Supergirl #4
- Justice League #4
- Teen Titans #4
- Young Justice #11
- DC Universe Online Legends #19
- DC Universe Online Legends #20
- Action Comics #5
- Superman #5
- Superboy #5
- Supergirl #5
- Justice League #5
- Teen Titans #5
- Young Justice #12
- DC Universe Online Legends #21
- DC Universe Online Legends #22
- Action Comics #6
- Superman #6
- Superboy #6
- Supergirl #6
- Justice League #6
- Teen Titans #6
- Young Justice #13
- DC Universe Online Legends #23
- DC Universe Online Legends #24
- Action Comics #7
- Superman #7
- Superboy #7
- Supergirl #7
- Justice League #7
- Teen Titans #7
- Young Justice #14
- DC Universe Online Legends #25
- DC Universe Online Legends #26
- Action Comics #8
- Superman #8
- Superboy #8
- Supergirl #8
- Justice League #8
- Teen Titans #8
- Superman Beyond #1 (Digital Comic Book)
- Superman Beyond #2 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #1 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #2 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #3 (Digital Comic Book)
- Young Justice #15
- Action Comics #9
- Superman #9
- Superboy #9
- Supergirl #9
- Justice League #9
- Teen Titans Annual #1
- Teen Titans #9
- Earth Two #1
- Superman Beyond #3 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #4 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #5 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #6 (Digital Comic Book)
- Young Justice #16
- Superman Family Adventures #1
- Action Comics #10
- Superman #10
- Superboy #10
- Supergirl #10
- Justice League #10
- Teen Titans #10
- Superman Beyond #4 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #7 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #8 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #9 (Digital Comic Book)
- Young Justice #17
- Superman Family Adventures #2
- Action Comics #11
- Superman #11
- Superboy #11
- Supergirl #11
- Justice League #11
- Teen Titans #11
- Superman Beyond #5 (Digital Comic Book)
- Superman Beyond #6 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #10 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #11 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #12 (Digital Comic Book)
- Young Justice #18
- Superman Family Adventures #3
- Action Comics #12
- Superman #12
- Superman Annual #1
- Superboy #12
- Supergirl #12
- Justice League #12
- Teen Titans #12
- Superman Beyond #7 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #13 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #14 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #15 (Digital Comic Book)
- Young Justice #19
- Superman Family Adventures #4
- Action Comics #0
- Superman #0
- Superboy #0
- Supergirl #0
- Justice League #0
- Teen Titans #0
- Superman Beyond #8 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #16 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #17 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #18 (Digital Comic Book)
- Young Justice #20
- Superman Family Adventures #5
- Action Comics #13
- Action Comics Annual #1
- Superman #13
- Superboy #13
- Supergirl #13
- Justice League #13
- Teen Titans #13
- Superman Beyond #9 (Digital Comic Book)
- Superman Beyond #10 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #19 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #20 (Digital Comic Book)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #21 (Digital Comic Book)
- Young Justice #21
- Superman Family Adventures #6
- Superman: Earth One - Volume 2
Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2012.