Saturday, September 10, 2011

Action Comics #1

What the hell is this?

My instinct has been to stay away from the mainstream DCU ever since Identity Crisis, and with the Crisis of Infinite Reboots putting a cap on everything, I didn't feel the need to stick around and try any of the new comics out. But I was curious about Action Comics after reading a surprising number of positive reviews. And having read the comic, I don't know how anyone out there had a decent experience reading this thing.

Basically, the whole thing reads like an issue of Ultimate Spider-Man, with all of the smarm and smugness and half-hearted pretense of breaking away from continuity and starting over again that made the Ultimate comics so bad. It really isn't; it still depends on your knowledge of Superman and his supporting cast to work. It doesn't introduce the characters at all, it basically says "See this? This is Superman now. This is how Clark Kent is now. This is a new version of Lois Lane." It's just bad storytelling. It's unearned shorthand, and it's lazy.

And it's disappointing coming from Grant Morrison, who should know better. His All-Star Superman is the best Superman story of the last 25 years. He has such an understanding of what makes the character work. But Action Comics #1 reads like it was just tossed off in a night because DC needed an Ultimate Superman and he was available. There's no passion here, no emotional center, and no character. It's just bland, flavorless storytelling, and the whole sequence with the elevated train just looks and sounds way too much like it was ripped off from The Incredibles. Does Morrison even have a story, or did he just give up halfway through?

Seriously, this is what passes for great storytelling at DC now? And I specifically saw people whose opinions I actually value using that word: great.

And even if the story had been passable, what about the incredibly bad artwork? I loved Rags Morales' work on Hourman, but, well... a couple of questions:

Why is Ultimate Superman 15?

Why is Ultimate Clark Kent 15 and Harry Potter? (Just like Ultimate Peter Parker was, by the way...)

Why are Ultimate Lois and Ultimate Jimmy 12?

And most disturbing of all, what is with Superman's teeny little waist? It's just kind of creepy. There's this whole Liefeldian thing going on here with this tiny waist and enormous upper body. What is this all about? This is what's supposed to make Superman easier for kids to relate to? You know, Superman was a great hero because he did great things and treated everyone with dignity until they proved unworthy of it. This smug, pumped-up little shit needs a punch right to the face.

Seriously, it looks like Superman's chest is pregnant in this panel.

It's not the jeans or tee shirt that bothers me, it's the terrible execution with which Superman is drawn. It's unpleasant to look at. And since Morrison hasn't bothered to write any characterization or anything resembling even the set-up for a story, I can't overlook art like this.

This is a waste of a comic book.

Great? Seriously?

I'm not going to be reading Ultimate Superman #2.


Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I just hate how both MARVEL and DC have made storytelling heroes out of Bendis and Morrison, respectively.

If it's a comic with too many words that goes nowhere and has no action it's a 'Bendis'. My example of the worst of his crap is 'Secret War'.

If it's a once great writer who deep down has nothing but contempt for comic book fans and the heroes they love, it's a 'Morrison'. I won't even go into how much I hated 'Bruce Wayne Returns', That whole story arc could have been epic but it turned out to be a confusing mess.

This 'reboot' of 'Superman' is exactly what you called it - Lazy. I knew going in that I would have to overcome my hatred for Morrison if I was going to follow this new Superman. I am sad that the comic lived up to my lowest expectation.

Drake said...

They're not DC anymore they are now Darvel Comics and not for the better.

Lee said...

What makes it even more fun is that this is not even the regular Superman who is appearing in Justice League and in the other Superman book.

I addmittedly haven't sat down to read it properly yet so I can't comment on the storyline etc

I don't like the costume, it doesn't make sense to me, at least the original costume and the alternative Superman one can be explained off by being alien - those t-shirts can't be that easy to come by?

Also the problem is when this should be set - if we're talking about this being early in the career - how much earlier? Justice League is already set quite earlier when they're all only just meeting.

So if it's only five years earlier then the book has to use technology and references five years prior to the other books.

I'll have a read and see what I make of it all.

Anonymous said...

The big secret is that Morrison ISN'T a great writer. He's a mediocre one that occasionally has a good run. All Star Superman was fantastic, but can you name ANYTHING else he's done that's good?

Final Crisis was bullshit, as was the Return of Bruce Wayne. Hell, I can't even BEGIN to describe how shitty ROBW was, because it's just this predictable half-baked nonsense that relies on overly convoluted, needlessly obscure and out of left field shit that made the story awful. Don't get me started on "Final Crisis," a bit of self-congratulatory masturbation, which relied SO MUCH on Morrison's go-to plot device, the "nature of story telling" and how he's God over these people.

When will everyone wise up and just drop this asshole? His claim to fame was interjecting himself into Animal Man, which is one of the biggest hack moves in writing, and whenever he tries to do something involving the "real" world, it ends up being a slightly more flowery version of Mark Millar, who we all know HATES COMIC BOOKS AND FANS OF COMIC BOOKS.

God... just... Grant Morrison can go fuck himself.

Caffeinated Joe said...

I have this issue coming with my end-of-the-month bonanza, and am looking forward to it.

Rob, at The Aquaman Shrine, had some positive things to say and is going to be picking up #2, so I guess I will just have to wait and decide for myself. :)

Tudor said...

"This smug, pumped-up little shit needs a punch right to the face." LMFAO. That is all.

Allen L. said...

It all looks like bad EC Mad Magazine parody from the 50s. Like they worship at the altar of Eisner but got drunk and missed what made the master great. I DO NOT like the jeans and the t-shirt. I think it looks ridiculous. And the cape seems like a toss off.
Supes looks like Joey from Friends in one panel. And that works because Lois looks like Monica.
Fucking disaster. Glad I don't read comics anymore.

John Seven said...

I got a pile of these new releases in the mail and I'm not impressed. I stay away from superhero comics as a rule because I pretty much see the genre as dead and of another time. This didn't help me with that impression. And yet I have to admit that I could deal with it easier than some of the other New 52 titles. I think that's largely because it did jump in and change the "reality" so much instead of just being the same old nonsense continued. Which most of it really is. And as much as I love Jeff Lemire, his Animal Man only really became intriguing at the last panel. I swear sometimes that comics publishers don't demand rewrites. Some of them have interesting premises, like Batwing - superhero in Africa - but are lackluster in presentation. All in all, this is just another insignificant marketing stunt by creators of a culturally unimportant corner of our current entertainment field.