Action Comics #6
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Andy Kubert, John Dell, And Brad Anderson
The short of it:
Picking up where last issue left off, it’s Superman and the Legion of Super-Adults trying to find and stop the Anti-Superman issue, in what amounts to be the most interesting filler issue I’ve read in weeks. Sure. It’s a definite fill in issue, literally taking place between the moments of Morrison’s flashback arc, and featuring a ‘modern’ Superman teaming up with his now grown up Legion friends. What follows is not the easiest to describe story, but the basic plot involves saving Superman from kryptonite and kryptonite wielding villains, while simultaneously preventing damage to the time stream.
What I liked:
- Over the past few years Geoff Johns has done a lot to reintegrate the Legion into the DC Universe, not the least of which is the classic Superman connections that were wiped from the canon with Crisis. Johns worked them back into Superman’s origin, making him Superboy again, and gave us some instant classic Legion work. With the new origin following DC’s relaunch, that once again put the Legion up in the air. After all, Superman was no longer ever Superboy. Grant goes ahead in this issue and does the nice, and truly perfect, method of saying that even without being Superboy, the Legion still drew their inspiration from Superman, and they were still his friends when he was a kid.
- Morrison made the absolutely most of this fill in arc by going ahead and doing something we all wanted to see out of him. The crazy, over the top, high concept Grant Morrison that makes all of us into fans of his. How many writers can pull off what he did there? How many can creating that awesome of a hiding place without the idea seeming stupid? This was a fun, and VERY Morrison issue.
- Lightning Man, Cosmic Man, and Saturn Woman. So awesome.
- Unlike last issue’s showing of Clark’s origins, this issue gets a lot more oomph out of showing Clark’s life in Smallville. Instead of showing us things we already knew, we get to see a young Clark the day he met the Legion. And it’s a brief moment, shown for a reason. The backup story only added to the already successful retelling of early days. Major improvement from last month.
- Hey look, Andy Kubert drew more awesome things! I love the costumes of the Legion, both as kids and adults, and the constantly evolving and devolving bad guy is just a pure visual treat.
What I didn’t like:
- Two fill in issues in a row, sure, they’re linked, but to go from “hey we’re not telling you it’s Brainiac” bottling Metropolis while Superman fights Metallo, to his origins and a future tale of him and the Legion? Ridiculously jarring, and I can only imagine will be awkward to read in trade.
- For everything awesome he pulled off in this issue, with no build up or introductions for these villains I can’t really think they’re cool past the name “Anti-Superman Army”. The only real characterization any of them gets is “Kryptonite powered, hates Superman”. Even the visually cool evolution guy doesn’t get any real sense of “why is he screwing with Superman”, and that just bothers me.
- Not to knock Rags, but he couldn’t do more than four issues without delay? I can’t even remember the last time I saw him do interiors on anything. I mean, I can’t talk about how much work an artist puts into their work, I don’t draw, but I would have thought that a book like Action Comics would have gotten the first arc in the can before coming out. Justice League may have seen a delay, but the arc isn’t being broken up for a fill in artist.
I respect DC for having Andy Kubert run a two issue arc all his own instead of taking over for Rags, but the two issue break in between issues is jarring. Not a complete momentum killer, but really irritating, and as I said earlier, something I expect to confuse people reading the book in trade.
Alright, now I want to see Morrison and Kubert do an adult Legion of Super-heroes story. Preferably more than one issue, and I’d like to request Brainy’s hairline never recede. What can I say? Long live the Legion.
Morrison came full on with as many out there and, well, Morrison esque ideas that he could come up with, and I found it to be a success. Yes, I’d have much preferred if the villains had some established depth so that I would care about their revenge plans, but it didn’t kill the issue for me like it very easily could have. If anything, Grant has me wondering now when we’ll see them pop up in modern times to set up the events of this issue.
I think the reason I want the rest of this arc so badly is that I want to see Grant Morrison write Superman, not Superman’s origin, just Superman. I want him to write the Man of Steel, and he still hasn’t really done that yet. This issue showed off the Legion more than Superman, and the main arc thus far is Superman so early in his career that he’s not quite Superman yet. It’s an interesting method of doing things, but I’m starting to get antsy that this book move to present day.
If this book could manage rotating art teams of Rags Morales and Andy Kubert, then we could potentially have the consistently best looking Superman in years. Not to knock Gary Frank’s time on Action Comics a few years back, that was glorious, but he was just one guy that was a work horse!
Tags: andy kubert, DC Comics, DC Comics Relaunch, Grant Morrison, Legion of Super-Heroes, Reviews, Superman