Review: Action Comics #9 By Grant Morrison and Gene Ha

Action Comics #9

Written by Grant Morrison

Art by Gene Ha and Art Lyon



The short of it:


Welcome to Earth 23, where the Justice League is black, and Superman’s alter-ego Calvin Ellis is the President of the United States. The story itself is the silver age at its finest, as a Musical Meta-Machine is used to breach the Bleed and allow refugees in from another Earth. A one eyed Loid, a dead Jimmy, and a Clark who is burnt and on the brink of death as well…and the three created a machine that turned their thoughts into the Superman of that world. A Superman they needed funding for, and who was recreated in the eyes of the marketing department and used to control a population. And now he’s come to Earth 23 to fight President Superman.


What I liked:


  • Very unique, very silver age, very Morrison. This is the sort of crazy ass single issue story I’ve come to love and welcome over the years. Like Batman #700.
  • President Superman makes for an awesome concept, in large part due to the backup by Sholly Fisch. President Proactive Superman? Winning.
  • This felt like it could have been an issue of All Star Superman, and really, that’s what I’ve been wanting. I loved All Star Superman, it’s one of my favorite Superman stories ever. That’s what I want out of this book.
  • Luthor is awesome, from having to declare himself to not be racist, to saving Superman just so he can kill him at a later date. He’s a really fun version of Lex.
  • Gene Ha might never draw a monthly, but the man rocks a one and done story like nobody else.


What I didn’t like:


  • Still waiting to see modern Superman.
  • This one is 100% me whining, but it seems like the only real difference in origin is that an African American family adopted baby Kalel while a white family adopted Kal El. With nothing else to go on, like where in America he was raised, I’m going to raise the horrible point that being black made him the President of the United States, while being white kept him a reporter. Because, quite literally, every difference between the two is in this paragraph.


Final Thoughts:


Is it racist if I say Superman looks like Obama?


For as amazing as this issue is, I still can’t get over the fact that we’ve yet to see Morrison write Superman without doing an origin or an altenrate Earth. Nine issues in, give us the Man of Steel already!


A two page origin spread was enough to introduce us to Calvin Ellis enough to give us a full issue adventure of him. Clark Kent needed a six issue origin story and a two part Legion story so that we could get a Calvin Ellis story. I trust Morrison to take this somewhere, but it’s really deflating.


It’s nice to know that Kryptonite still has to be from the same universe as Superman to work.


The idea of a machine that makes your harmonious thoughts into reality birthing a Superman that becomes twisted by marketing is a stroke of fucking brilliance. That’s Grant Morrison doing what he does best. That’s more awesome than Final Crisis. Also, evil Superman killed Dwarf Superman.


So how long before we see Calvin vs. Clark?


Despite my wanting for Clark Kent Superman, this book is actually pretty awesome. Possibly more awesome than it would have been with Clark in the lead.


Overall: 8/10

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