Grant Morrison and Rags Morales reboot Superman in what is probably this week’s most anticipated comic. 12 more reviews to come before next Wednesday.

General Information

Title: Action Comics #1

Author: Grant Morrison

Illustrator(s): Rags Morales (pencils), Rick Bryant (inks), Brad Anderson (colours)

Cover Date: November, 2011

Cover Price: $3.99

Buy the digital edition.

Premise

Superman has been making a name for himself in Metropolis. For the past six months, the strong, fast and durable hero has been working hard to ensure fair, equitable and moral treatment of every citizen, regardless of which side of the law he has to act on to do so. Though not able to fly, he can leap tall buildings in a single bound, and suffers mere bruising under mortar fire. He is also getting stronger, faster and more durable all the time, leading General Sam Lane to hire Lex Luthor as a consultant on his project to take the alien invader down.

High Point

Morrison has done his research. From June 1938 until November 1940, Clark Kent worked for editor George Taylor at the Daily Star. That appears to be the case here, as well. This has the right feel for Superman, retelling his early career rather than his origin, and sets up his relationships with Lex Luthor, Lois and Sam Lane, Jimmy Olsen and George Taylor in the middle of a story that belongs in a comic named “Action.”

Low Point

It would have been nice to start at the very beginning of Superman’s career. That said, the story arc isn’t over yet, so his first public acts may still be on the schedule.

The Scores

As with last week’s Justice League, this doesn’t feel terribly original. Instead of a new take, DC has farmed 73 years of history to find the best elements of Superman’s mythos, keep them, and jettison the rest. Very entertaining, but not particularly original. I give it 3 out of 6.

The artwork is typically strong. Morales seems to still be finding his footing with Lois, as the shape of her face seems to change as her head turns. That’s a fault on a grand total of one page. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is well designed. This is early in his career, and we see how Superman works, what inspires him to act, and how the world reacts to him. It’s all done in a sequence that does not slow down. Events depicted here could elapse in 10-15 minutes or less. As I said before, this is certainly befitting the Action title. I give it 6 out of 6.

The characterization of Superman is excellent. The rest of the cast are well done, particularly given how short their appearances are. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response is very strong. The only part I felt was lacking was what I call the “moment of realization.” My favorite aspect of most origin stories is the moment when the title character realizes the abilities he or she has and what can be done with them. That moment isn’t here, and I was hoping it would be. There may be flashbacks coming, but it’s too soon to tell. Still, what we have is excellent. It’s just a later chapter than the origin, as the character has been operating for six months at this point. I give it 5 out of 6.

The flow is excellent. The story moves extremely quickly from start to finish, and just doesn’t let up. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this is another strong opening chapter in the New 52, and a great take on the character superheroes are named after. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, Action #1 receives 36 out of 42.

The New 52

Here are handy links for the reviews of all 52 new #1 issues:

  1. Action Comics
  2. All-Star Western
  3. Animal Man
  4. Aquaman
  5. Batgirl
  6. Batman
  7. Batman and Robin
  8. Batman: The Dark Knight
  9. Batwing
  10. Batwoman
  11. Birds of Prey
  12. Blackhawks
  13. Blue Beetle
  14. Captain Atom
  15. Catwoman
  16. DC Universe Presents
  17. Deathstroke
  18. Demon Knights
  19. Detective Comics
  20. The Flash
  21. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
  22. The Fury of Firestorm
  23. Green Arrow
  24. Green Lantern
  25. Green Lantern Corps
  26. Green Lantern: New Guardians
  27. Grifter
  28. Hawk and Dove
  29. I, Vampire
  30. Justice League
  31. Justice League Dark
  32. Justice League International
  33. Legion Lost
  34. Legion of Super-Heroes
  35. Men of War
  36. Mister Terrific
  37. Nightwing
  38. O.M.A.C.
  39. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  40. Red Lanterns
  41. Resurrection Man
  42. The Savage Hawkman
  43. Static Shock
  44. Stormwatch
  45. Suicide Squad
  46. Superboy
  47. Supergirl
  48. Superman
  49. Swamp Thing
  50. Teen Titans
  51. Voodoo
  52. Wonder Woman