Superman Review: Action Comics #4 By Grant Morrison And Rags Morales

Action Comics #4

Written by Grant Morrison

Art by Rags Morales, Rick Bryant, Sean Parsons, and Brad Anderson

‘Hearts of Steel’ backup story by Sholly Fisch, Brad Walker, and Jay David Ramos



The short of it:

Thanks to Lex Luthor aliens are attacking Metropolis by way of taking over all kinds of tech and turning into machines versus people. And all they want is Superman, and they don’t have to look for long! People don’t know how to react as the Man of Steel strives to save the city from evil aliens that came looking for him, as they want the save, but they also think that if he were to go down they’d be left alone, and the military still wants to arrest him despite…during an invasion, really? John Corben, he who is all but named Metallo, stalks Lois and Jimmy under the influence of The Collector (he who is all but named Brainiac), but thankfully John Henry Iron shows up in some almost 90’s looking body armor to unleash Steel on him! But when all is said and done…Not- Brainiac goes ahead and earns the right to be referred to at Not-Brainiac instead of “The Collector”!


What I liked:

  • The characters, really, there’s so much I can say here, and so much I will say here, but the Grant Morrison effect is being felt on this book in that every character feels dynamic, and even familiar faces are getting tweaks to make them even more interesting.
  • Lex Luthor is incredible. I love the fact that Morrison has established everyone’s favorite megalomaniac as someone whose own arrogance is their undoing. He struck a deal with an alien, and now it’s invading the Earth because he thought he had the better deal. It’s all his fault, and all he cares about is that his safety is guaranteed. It’s young Lex, and it works. He hasn’t quite developed into the fearless would be savior of the world.
  • The machines adapting new parts to themselves was pretty cool, the visual of one putting a tank on its head and firing it is just awesome.
  • STEEL! Yes, his armor looks very nineties, but just the idea of John Henry Irons being Superman’s original ally is awesome enough for me. I love the character, and I always love to see him get a higher profile.
  • Lots of action in this issue, Morrison does a great job not letting the pacing slide.


What I didn’t like:

  • Maybe my memory is failing me and I’m forgetting something, but white shirted Superman spent the entire issue making me wonder if there was a coloring error or if he just got a new shirt.
  • The bad guy is so blatantly Brainiac and they’re doing everything they can to not call him that. Last issue had the three dot matrix from the animated series, it’s all about preservation of artifacts, it calls itself the Collector of Worlds, oh, and it BOTTLES CITIES! Just call him Brainiac already!
  • Metallo is a jobber already. Lame.
  • Who the hell is Sholly Fisch?


Final thoughts:

For someone she doesn’t like, Lois Lane could write John Corben’s biography.


The bad guy has obviously been Brainiac since last issue, which may not seem like a long time, but it makes the “everything but coming out with it” in this issue painful. However, the inclusion of Steel completely balances it for me. There’s a lot of great action and some nice character moments in this issue, and it really does feel like Superman’s coming out party. His journey for urban legend to greatest hero Metropolis has ever known. He’s still the hero of the people that Morrison had begun to paint him as, but now it’s just getting…bigger. It feels organic, he doesn’t just show up one day in a full costume and save everyone, he builds to it. I’m really excited to see what Grant does after the book moves back to the present.


The backup story wasn’t bad, but I have no idea who wrote it, and some of the dialog was…painful. The armor for Steel version 1.0 works for me, and I actually like it more than had they led off with a classic look. Though he does look a bit like Conduit. John winning a fight with his brain is pretty cool, and it’s how it should be done. Out think his opponent before smashing them with a sledgehammer. I just don’t see why they went with another writer for this unless there’s potential of spinning the character out under their control.


Overall: 7.5/10

Tags: , , , , , ,

Join our newsletter

never miss the latest news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary for Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games!