Comic Review: ACTION COMICS #3

We have now hit #3 of the reinvention of Superman and you can’t say that the book isn’t trying new and bold ideas, however successful they may be.

Book: Action Comics #3

Written By: Grant Morrison

Pencils By: Rag Morales & Gene Ha

Publisher: DC Comics

Price: $3.99

Pages: 40

We have now hit #3 of the reinvention of Superman and you can€™t say that the book isn€™t trying new and bold ideas, however successful they may be.

This book features a vastly different change to pace and scenery throughout (for good and for bad). We open up on a very different approach to the Final Day of Krypton than we€™ve seen in recent years. Much like with Clark Kent and Superman, writer Grant Morrison has taken a large amount of ethical ideas and visual beats from the original incarnations found in the 1930€™s & 40€™s.

In recent years DC has lined up the Superman comic mythology and its visual aesthetics very closely to the Richard Donner Superman Films. This approach has its benefits of giving the franchise a unified design in multiple mediums (Smallville also took a high amount of it€™s visual cues from the Donner films) however it also brings along some handicaps when you realise modern day creators are still using cliff notes from the 1970€™s, leaving incarnation after incarnation without it€™s own visual identity. Krypton has had drastic facelift and Jor-El has returned to his classic Green Science Council Robe with an armoured update to coincide with Supermans new suit.

I€™m sad to see that the idea of cities grown from crystals has been downplayed for a more technological approach to the architecture of Krypton, however I can€™t help but notice the odd crystallized pillar scattered throughout each room and the almost skeletal framework of Kandor, which is reminiscent of Donners Krypton. This is one aspect of the Donner film€™s that I€™m glad has somewhat survived the New 52 boot. Also the fact that Braniac is once again tied directly to the destruction of Krypton is fine by me, I always felt there needed something more than Krypton€™s sun engulfing the planet or the its radiated core having a bad day. Braniac and his drones have also had a re-design thanks co-artist Gene Ha that feels far more cold and alien which works fantastically with the character.

I€™m saddened to say that after the 7-page prologue on Krypton, this issue encounter more of the same of the problems I have had with previous issues. In an earlier review I said how the climax of #2 felt like the end of act one, however I feel like saying the exact same thing about this climax. One big question I have for this issue is the lack of continuation of a story thread set up early in this issue between Clark and his Landlady, after she makes a shocking discovery. This revelation is dropped on our laps in the second scene of the book and is never mentioned of again. I kept expecting for an inner monologue to confront the situation but it never came. Clark story seems to be in a holding pattern as he licks his wounds from #2 while the villains development and ultimate reveal seems to be quickly picking up speed by the issues end. Storyline developments throughout feel unbalanced and have become one of the major factors as to why I am struggling with this series.

Yet again the story page count comes in 20 pages with 8 pages of behind the scenes work (from Superman, Supergirl & Superboy as they have seemingly run out of filler they can find from Action Comics itself), I€™ve made my opinion of these €œextras€ very clear over the previous reviews and for me it doesn€™t justify the $3.99 price point at all.

In all honesty I am really struggling to find anything new to say about a book that has been running on the spot for three issues now. I find Jimmy & Lois bland at times, regular artist Rags Morales brings the somewhat jarring potato-face look to the cast in yet another issue which makes everything looked rushed, people €œpicketing€ Superman emerge from nowhere for one panel with no verbal cues then quickly disappear a panel later and frankly we are three issues in now and it still feels like we are in the first act.

My patience would be wearing thin by this point if it wasn€™t for the issues opening scene on Krypton and the climactic reveal of our stories villain. Once again I€™m giving this book the benefit of the doubt because it€™s Morrison writing Superman and I€™m going along for the ride no matter what, however bumpy that may be.

rating: 3.5


Follow him on twitter @Jay_Slough for constant film/tv/comic commentaries. This is the rather strange story of how Jamie Slough, at 3am one morning decided to try and form a cohesive sentence on his laptop by bashing his head on a nearby keyboard while finishing some university work. It's been doing him surprisingly well for the last few years and things don't seem to be changing anytime soon. At most times Jamie can be found reading from a large stack of comic books, catching up on TV shows such as Doctor Who, Breaking Bad & Curb Your Enthusiasm, begging people for work (but less said about that the better) and pretty much trying to be analytical about stuff. When he's not doing any of those he's writing or replacing yet another broken keyboard...