Friday, 5 October 2012

Review: Action Comics #13

So, Action Comics #13. After the last year's worth of books in this title I was again expecting an installment which I could not care for....well, was I wrong.

This issue, which felt more like a one shot than part of a larger story arc, sees the Man of Steel attacked by the original prisoner of the Phantom Zone within the Fortress of Solitude through the Phantom Zone projector. Trapped within Krypton extra-dimensional prison, Superman must find a way to fight off the remaining prisoners while, at the same time, return to the real world to recapture the escapee. However, despite the challenges, he has the help of what looks to be the Phantom Stranger and a certain large white Super-dog.

This is still not the best book in my buy pile (not by a long shot), but Grant Morrison appears to have momentarily ignored all that he's built in the last 13 issues (12 and the zero issue) and focused on a tale that is more of the classic Superman that I enjoyed prior to the reboot. This is what I like. Superman feels, acts and speaks more like Superman should. Gone is the brooding, vigilante-esque Superman and here is the much more calm, rational, level headed Man of Tomorrow. The story itself is written much like a horror, and it's a valiant attempt but the appeal to me here is the references to the pre52 Superman; The calm, wiser outlook, the focusing on disasters around the world, the Fortress of Solitude (yay), the idea that he never gives up. This is what I like and I hope we see more of it (thought I'm skeptical on that). The back-up too, while somewhat throwaway, is a sweet tale that provides something of an origin to Krypto and gives greater emphasis as to why he's so important. This was a better back-up than recent ones.

As for the art, Travel Foreman is more than welcome by me in the pages of this title. I remember when he was drawing the Immortal Iron Fist and the images of Kun'Lun (I think I spelt that right?) in that looked so otherworldly and that is exactly what is needed here. With a brief look at Krypton at the beginning and a lot of focus on the Phantom Zone, Foreman provides the etherel look that is needed for this places. This is a unique look for a Superman book but thanks to Foreman, and colorist Brad Anderson who provides very cold, ghostly colours, it is a look I like and hope to see again.

Before I read this I sensed I was just counting down the issues until I could drop this title. Now though I have come away with three questions; 1. What is the Multitude? (Came up early in the issue) 2. Who the hell is this little man who again appears? and 3. Am I being a bit hasty in wanting to drop Action Comics? I might not be, but this issue has certainly got me wondering it.

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