Monday, 10 September 2012

Review: Action Comics #0 - The boy who stole Superman's cape

If there was ever an issue which could convince me that there is a turning point in Grant Morrison's Action Comics series, it is most definitely issue 0.

Split between Action comics main story and back-up, the main feature in this title details Clark Kent's arrival in Metropolis and his first exploits in the occupation of superheroics. From getting his now famous "S" t-shirts and getting his job at the Daily Star to making his prescence known to the to the criminals of Metropolis, this is a telling of day 1 in the New 52verse. The story is pretty much explained in the title, during the events of this issue a boy steal Superman's cape. What follows is, not only the Man of Steel's daily interactions while setting up life in Metropolis, but also what happens to the young lad now he has an indestructible cape. Meanwhile, the back up story focuses on the previous arcs villain Adam and his encounter with Erik Dresden, the squid like creature from the Legion arc before he became squid-like.

After the massive fail I felt that came from the previous issue, and indeed much of this run, this "prequel" certainly provides a ray of hope, being much more engrossing and providing deeper emotional connection than previously. Morrison wisely focuses on the titular boy who, apparently coming from a broken home, is the kind of innocent that was going to be the focus when the title was announced last year. Also, the interactions between Superman (as Superman) and both the boy as well as some armed thugs feels more like Superman should be; he takes no prisoners with the guilty but will do everything for the innocent. This kind of depiction has been missing so far in my opinon. However, this book is not without its problems and they come in the form of the back-up story. I did not like this story, feeling that it was unnecessary and a little forced. I struggle to understand why DC continue to add back-up stories in this title because, apart from the Steel origin, they have been mostly a disappointment. If they read this, I'd much rather spend less on the title of get more pages of the main feature.

The art by Ben Oliver is fantastic. The digital art he provides for the main feature feels much more futuristic, and is incredibly fitting for a character known as "the man of tomorrow". The art for the backup feature is also solid and certainly keeps things vibrant, however it wasn't enough to save the story in my opinon.

If I'm lucky Action Comics may have turned a corner with this zero issue. However, if I'm not then this was a fluke and the run will return to its confusing, uninteresting worst. I'm willing to take a risk on the former, although I'm unsure how many chances I want to keep giving this book.

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