Action Comics #5
Grant Morrison – Writer
Andy Kubert – Pencils
Oh, how I was so getting into Action Comics. Grant Morrison was finally finally finally telling a story that wasn’t convoluted in a ridiculous amount of intertwining plot lines and indecipherable head-nods to background images from five issues prior. I love Grant Morrison’s writing, however gunked up it can get. And for the first four months of the relaunch of Action Comics, Morrison and Rags Morales had been retelling Superman’s origins with such vigor and focus that it’s been one of my favorite titles of the new 52. Many fans and critics have lambasted Clark Kent’s new ‘everyman’ costume that he (apparently) wore for the first few years of his revitalized origins, so this issue will make them happy, as Superman’s only real appearance is the final panel where he poses in all his Kryptonian-armor glory.
Issue #5 of Actions Comics goes back to the beginning, with Andy Kubert taking the reigns on the penciling side. On Krypton. Again. And this time, Jor-El purposely sends his son to a planet where he will be a god! This minor detail marks a HUGE change in Clark Kent’s history, a rare chance to reinterpret not only Superman’s look and demeanor, but also his moral character and ethical mission. Before, Kal-El has always arrived on Earth by mistake, making his actions benevolent for a planet that could have been any planet, really. Maybe this detail has been used in past reinterpretations, but in the new 52, it makes a lot of sense. Superman’s overall attitude has undergone a drastic shift away from general politeness and sincerity towards a snarky sarcasm and big ego. It’s a change I’ve liked so far and am curious to know how it will play into future stories as well as crossovers and Justice League arcs.
Anyway, most of the issue is dedicated to showing Krypton esplodin’. That’s about it. So unless you’ve enjoyed reading the scientific jargon and every Kryptonian ever saying “Oh, Jor-El, you silly coot!” every other time Superman’s origins have been retold, you can mostly skip about 26 of the pages of the entire issue. The parts about the Kents are necessary and respectably done. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the back-up story about the history of Jonathan and Martha Kent, one that goes the extra distance to make their relationship hinge all the more on some ‘miracle’ that come in the form of a space baby. Why can’t the Kents be simple? Why does their life have to include various hints at some biblical connection to something greater? Ugh. It’s exhausting.
Issue Grade: C+
Art Grade: A
I’m a huge fan of the Kubert brothers, so anything they draw is automatically given a ‘kudos’ from this journalist.