Mild Mannered Reviews - Action Comics
Action Comics #7Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 7, 2012
Cover date: May 2012
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Rags Morales
Inker: Rick Bryant
Writer: Sholly Fisch
Penciller: Brad Walker
Inker: Brad Walker
Reviewed by: Michael Bailey
Superman heads into space to face off against the alien spaceship that has kidnapped the New Troy borough of Metropolis. Upon reaching the ship Superman is attacked and brought inside where once again he finds himself under fire. The Man of Steel fights back and makes his way deeper into the alien craft where he finds a collection of bottled cities. One of them reminds him of Krypton and he even finds a white suit that reminds him of the images he has seen in his dreams.
Meanwhile, in the bottled city of Metropolis, Lois and Lex argue as small, robotic creatures begin attacking. They find safety in a nearby bar where Lex tries to communicate with the alien he had been dealing with. Superman finds the bottle with Metropolis in it and demands that the alien talk to him. The Collector of Worlds finally responds and the Man of Steel learns that the Collector began life on Colu and went to other worlds including Krypton, where it was known as Brainiac 1.0 and on Earth where it is called the Internet. The Collector attacks again and offers Superman a choice; save the city of Kandor or save Metropolis. Superman chooses to save both cities and dons the white suit, which turns blue and red complete with the S symbol on his chest. The Man of Steel is prepared to fight to the end and is confronted by the Collector of Worlds who has joined with Metal-Zero.
The Collector gives Superman another a choice; join the collection or die!
Story - 4: It's kind of amazing where this title has gone in just seven months. Back in September the biggest topic of conversation seemed to be about Morrison taking Superman back to the Golden Age in terms of characterization and power level. It was, for lack of a better term, street wise in terms of scope. Superman was fighting for the weak and the oppressed and proved this by hoisting up fat cats, getting chased by the police and kidnapped by the military. There was some online debate about how "Superman" Superman was acting and I settled in thinking this was the type of story we were going to get for the foreseeable future.
Boy was I wrong.
Not in a bad way, mind you. I am not disappointed that in the span of a few issues we have catapulted from the Golden to the Silver Age and suddenly the champion of the weak and the oppressed is in space fighting Brainiac and getting a shiny new suit. It is just so strange and frankly given that Grant Morrison is writing this title I shouldn't be surprised. This issue had more of what I expected to see in a Morrison Superman comic than the first and second issue did. Now we're into the meat and potatoes of his take on the Man of Steel.
So after I accepted the fact that we have done a little "time traveling" in terms of what type of Superman story we are getting I found this to be a very solid issue. Morrison took the idea of a city being shrunk down to miniature and dealt with it in an entertaining and engaging manner. For the first time in this title Lois Lane really stepped up as a character and acted like I think Lois Lane should act. During the scene where the little spider robot thingies show up Lois is more concerned with the safety of the soldiers than with following Lex Luthor or even saving her own skin, which I liked quite a bit. It is Jimmy who has to pull her away. Speaking of Jimmy I continue to like how he is being characterized in the Brave New 52. He's decisive and seems prone to action but not in the annoying "Mr. Action"/seventies sort of way, which I never really cared for. I also dug the fact that in the middle of New Troy getting shrunk down and little spider robot thingies attacking we get a scene at a bar. It brought the story down to a human level and allowed for some natural exposition on the part of Lex.
I'm still not sold on Lex, by the way. The whole running away thing from a few issues back still bugs me.
We got more information on the new Brainiac this month and once again Morrison references previous iterations of Superman but not in an annoying or smothering way. Morrison takes the idea established on SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES that Brainiac was a computer system on Krypton and mixes that with the idea of COMPUTO (which was a Legion of Super-Heroes concept if I am correct), adds in the detail that it started life on Colu and brings it around to the Internet. It is the Internet thing that gives me pause. It seems really obvious to me. Maybe I am expecting more from Morrison than I should. Obvious or not the idea works and so far I am digging on this version of Brainiac.
Superman as a character was a real treat this month. To the people that have argued that this isn't the "real" Superman I point to the very first scene in this issue where he launches himself into space without knowing how that scenario is going to play out. He isn't at the flying stage yet, so how would he know if he could survive in the vacuum of space? It doesn't matter. He does it anyway and spends the rest of the issue fighting robots. There is nothing in this equation that sounds bad to me. Beyond that Morrison gave us a quintessential Superman moment towards the end of the issue. When faced with the choice to save the people of New Troy or to save the people of Kandor and Superman's response is to choose Option C; save everyone. That is quintessential Superman and made for an epic ending to this chapter of the story.
It was also interesting to see the people of Metropolis support Superman in this title just as they did in the "present" over in SUPERMAN. That was a neat bit of symmetry if you follow both books.
ACTION COMICS has been an interesting beast since the relaunch. My chief complaint is that it hasn't been as consistent storytelling wise as SUPERMAN but the individual issues are enjoyable in and of themselves. The larger story might be jumping all over the place but the month to month reading has been a lot of fun. This issue continued that tradition and I look forward to the conclusion to this story.
Art - 5: This is the strongest work we have gotten from Rags on this title thus far. I was particularly impressed with pages 2 through 5 but then again I am a sucker for silent sequences in comics. The level of detail that Rags put into the art this month was very impressive. For some reason I kept going back to the fact that Superman's boots got shredded when he went into space and that Morales carried that through the entire issue. Rags also handled two very diverse settings well and put as much into the scenes in Metropolis as he did for the scenes on the ship. I will admit that I was hoping for a more dramatic shot of Superman putting on his new costume but that is a very minor quibble and I look forward to seeing how Rags handles the outfit next month.
As Superman fights the Collector in space Steel keeps the peace in the remains of Metropolis. It is not an easy task but Steel is surprised at how the city pulls together in a time of crisis and realizes it doesn't take one hero to bring Metropolis through disaster. It takes millions of them.
Story - 4: This was a weird read for me. On one hand it was an enjoyable story where we got to see more of Steel and find out what was going on back in the remains of Metropolis while Superman was off in space. On the other hand we got a very similar story several issues ago. So while I did appreciate what Fisch was going for and thought that "Meanwhile" was a well written story it did kind of feel like a retread of the previous Steel related back-up.
Then again as long as I am getting Steel back-ups stories and/or back-ups written by Fisch I won't complain too much.
Art - 5: Brad Walker knocked this one out of the park. Like the main story it was the attention to detail that really made the art in "Meanwhile" work. I'm not just talking about the armor either, though that probably would have been enough. The backgrounds really ground this story in reality and the storytelling is so clear. Artistically this was a very good month for ACTION COMICS.
Cover Art - 4: I like this cover quite a bit. It is a neat perspective shot and Morales put a lot of work into Superman's face. I also like the little robot crawling over the ACTION logo.
Variant Cover Art - 3: For once I actually like the main cover better than the variant. Superman looks off to me on this cover. I appreciate what Burnham was going for with the split screen effect but it really doesn't do anything for me. Also the expression on Superman's face is just...odd.
Variant Cover Art - 4 (Black and White): And we go back to the more traditional black and white variants. While I have normally preferred the black and white variant to the colored version this time I think they are tied. As usual you can see more of the detail Morales put into the cover with the black and white version but I don't think the coloring on the main cover took away from the art. For once I like both versions equally, which is pretty cool now that I think about it.
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.