“I work hard at my job, Inspector. I won’t stop trying to expose the corruption of Metropolis. If that makes me an outside or a freak, I’m fine with that.” – Clark Kent, Action Comics #3
It’s month three of the New 52 Superman. No longer is he an ultra-powerful god that worries about being lonely. Now, he is a social crusader that can leap tall buildings and wears jeans. Did writer Grant Morrison continue the forward momentum and the fresh take on the character that made the first issue so successful? The short answer is yes, and the longer answer is that he did it in a way that I did not expect.
The issue begins with a flashback to the destruction of Krypton, beautifully illustrated by guest artist Gene Ha. Ha handles all the art on the Krypton sequences while series artist Rags Morales continues art on the rest of the issue. While the re-designs of Superman’s doomed planet are great, I was really bored with this sequence. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited by the new inclusion of Brainiac into the destruction of Krypton. (Something that was done first by Bruce Timm’s Superman: The Animated Series over ten years ago).
Parts of these pages have been seen over and over again by anyone that has ever read a Superman comic. Grant Morrison, himself, skipped over Krypton’s destruction by only letting it have two panels in his Superman epic All-Star Superman. In that book, he simply wrote, “Desperate scientists, doomed planet,” and that was all we needed to know. Thankfully, the book doesn’t dwell on Krypton for too long, and focuses on what makes this book excellent.
Superman makes only one tiny appearance in this book. Then who is the star, you might ask. Let me tell you. It’s Clark Kent, and Clark Kent is awesome in this book. No longer the meek, clumsy, nerd he was in the Christopher Reeve movies. This Clark Kent writes articles about corruption in every aspect of society: the police, businesses, and politicians.
He angers people with his articles, and gets beat up for it regularly. The police even search his apartment to get him to stop writing! This is a Clark Kent that matters. His articles and words fight for justice just as hard as Superman does.
The rest of the issue hinges around Metropolis learning that Superman is an alien which is a plot line we have seen before. Meanwhile, Luthor and his Army cronies prepare the Metallo suit as Brainiac begins his conquest of Earth. Almost the same standard fare we have seen in many Superman books, but it does have a darker edge in this story.
Action Comics #3 continues to prove that Action Comics is the best of DC Comics New 52. While the art at sometime seems rushed and sloppy, the story is compelling and rich. It gives us different sides of characters that have been published since 1938. In fact, I feel like I am reading Action Comics in 1938 when I read this book, and that’s a good thing!
Superman is exciting and as cool as Batman now. All DC had to do was give Superman a purpose and a drive. Reading this book makes me want to put on a cape, leap into the air, and yell, “Up, Up, and Away!” I’m pretty sure it will make you believe in Superman too.
Action Comics #3 Grade: A