I wasn’t originally planning on buying this, as I am not a big fan of Superman comics. I like most of the Superman movies a lot, even the most recent one, and even quite enjoy watching Smallville, but Superman comics have just never really done it for me. I am generally not a big fan of any DC comics, have very little interest in the recent DC reboot, of which this is a big part, and as regular readers of this blog (I know there are at least two of you out there) will know, I am not even that keen on the writing of Grant Morrison. However, one of the few Superman comics I have enjoyed in recent years is All Star Superman, which is also one of the few Grant Morrison books I really like, and as Action Comics #1 has received rave reviews pretty much everywhere, I thought I should check it out. And – surprise, surprise! – I didn’t like it that much.
I do like the fact that Morrison has taken Superman back to basics, has made him less powerful, and has him tackling crooked businessmen at the beginning of the comic, rather than super-villains – which seems like a good / obvious move in this post-credit crunch era we live in. However, I can’t imagine that Superman’s reduced power levels will last long and Superman versus big business didn’t even last until the end of this first issue, as the main villain was quickly revealed as yet another version of Lex Luthor. Another positive is that, unlike many other comics written by Grant Morrison, this issue actually made sense to me. Actually, I wouldn’t have guessed it was the work of Grant Morrison if it didn’t say so in the credits. There were no really weird bits – nobody took acid, nobody hallucinated, nobody broke through any fourth walls – but there also weren’t any really good bits either. It was certainly an action packed comic, but it was also kind of dull.
With better art, this might have seemed like a better comic. Rags Morales is not a bad artist – he is certainly well above average – and I seem to remember quite enjoying his work on the couple of issues of the First Wave mini-series I read, but on big superhero books like Identity Crisis, and on this, his art just reeks of the old DC house style – not bad at all, but really quite variable (some panels appear to be the work of a superior artist, while many others look hurried) and also not particularly stylish. Had this been drawn by Frank Quitely, I probably would have thought a lot more of the whole endeavour, but as it is, this just seemed like a an above average Superman comic from the 1990s, in which Superman wears jeans and throws villains off of tall buildings to force a confession out of them, even though said confession probably wouldn’t stand up in a court of law.
This issue ends on a cliffhanger, but I must say that I am remarkably uninterested in what happens next, and won’t be buying the next issue – I feel like a bit of a sucker for falling for the hype and buying this issue! I bought the digital version of this comic, from Comixology, and paid $3.99 (about £2.54) for it. That was the full cover price, but it still worked out cheaper than buying the paper version of this comic from my local comic shop, as UK comic shops have to take into account shipping costs, etc., and I think my LCS charges £3.30 for a $3.99 comic. Still, if I’d waited a few weeks, I could have got this from Comixology for $2.99 or less – in my defence, I was drunk when I bought this – and I really wish I hadn’t bought it at all.