Grant Morrison has given us his interpretation of the Golden Age Superman, but what happens when he takes on the Silver Age?

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Andy Kubert
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Patrick Brosseru
Editor: Matt Nelson
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Action Comics: Having seen his city shrunk by the Collector A.I., Superman has one mission on his mind – get Metropolis back. But then the time travel kicks in and we’re treated to a visit from the Legion of Super-Heroes


If everything before this issue was a look at Superman from a Golden Age perspective, this issue is truly a look at Superman in the Silver Age. Not only do the Legion of Super-Heroes appear to help save young Superman, and thus old Superman from certain destruction, but giant space slugs, time travel, and a battle inside Superman’s head plays out in the way only  Grant Morrison could do it, and make it work.

The last issue focused on the rocket that brought Kal-El to Earth, and this issue continues to ignore the Bottled City of Metropolis storyline, instead focusing on Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes from the far future coming back in time to find the rocket’s stolen Kryptonite power drive, and put a bunch of bad guys away. It’s not a huge problem that the story has diverted, though one could argue that the story is playing out in the correct order, we’re just seeing certain slices of it. Yeah, it’s time travel, one of the many tropes of the Silver Age. It’s interesting to see it all work out in the end, even if it means Superman has to have a brain hemorrhage from all the fighting and K-radiation released inside his skull.  How the events in this book will play out in the future (or is it the past) is beyond me at this point.


Andy Kubert delivers up another spectacular issue when it comes to the art and layout of the page. Seeing an army of villains arguing over who is going to get a sliver of Kryptonite for their nefarious purposes, and then have a battle break out is pretty cool. Likewise, seeing both the future Legion of Super-Heroes juxtaposed with the first meeting of the LoSH and young Clark Kent gives the artist a chance to keep the characters looking alike, but aging them – something that is difficult to do for many artists.


While I really want to see how the Bottle City of Metropolis storyline plays out, I’m okay with taking this break in the story to see more of the revised history of Superman. The story is a bit of a head trip (literally), and the art is nice to look at, but I get the feeling Morrison is beginning to venture out into deeper waters that may turn off fans of the series. Overall, Action Comics #6 is an enjoyable read and earns 4 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. Brainy Pirate
    February 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm — Reply

    Long live the Legion!

    • Xian
      February 6, 2012 at 9:47 am — Reply

      Sure, just not at the expense of Superman and new readers.

      If I stick my neck out and get a coworker to jump on-board with Action because of my passion for comics and because a relaunch tends to imply a good starting point, my hope is that the book will welcome them with open arms. I’m happy to celebrate comics, the Silver Age, and all the in-references I’ve accumulated in decades of fandom- for me, Adam West or DKR or Timm’s or BatB, it’s all good fun- but not to the exclusion of a person trying to get into Superman or comics. You celebrate after you establish the baseline.

      At our Superbowl party my [new to comics] coworker said of Action, “I feel like I was invited over to watch a movie I had never seen and just as I was getting into it, the host skipped a few DVD chapters ahead and turned on the commentary track.” My coworker didn’t enjoy the leap forwards because he didn’t recognize any of the characters, didn’t appreciate the references to the silver age, and couldn’t hearken back to Morrison’s All-Star work which was ripe with time travel and obscure references. He was excited about a story where a train could hurt Superman and the army was a threat, but by issue #6 he was asking if Superman could just spin the world backwards to solve his problems.

      My issues with the Legion in Superman origins are different (and covered in a forum rant) than his but the end point is the same- it doesn’t help people “get” Superman amidst a relaunch.

      Celebrating the past is great- it’s why All-Star is amazing and Batman’s BatB cartoon is fun- but when you’re reaching out for new readers (and not just cannibalizing the old) you need to overcome those baseline criticisms of Superman being unrelatable (invulnerable), unrealistic (secret ID), irrelevant (Boy Scout), unapproachable (continuity), etc. whether or not those critiques are valid or well-formed, they need to be overcome to reach audiences.

      I think it’s why DC lost the trunks- I thought it served as a lightning rod for such criticism to help other tropes get a pass, but if DC bows to popular critique there, then they should be doing it consistently in order to capture readers… at the end of the day, what hurts characterization and storytelling more- an alien opts for unstylish garb or a character has time travel and a legion of super-human allies on tap?

      The Legion, as executed here, just tends to exacerbate those criticisms of being unrelatable, unrealistic, irrelevant, unapproachable, etc. (even if you want to embrace those things as what make up your character, then it shouldn’t be in such stark contrast to the story being told in the first 4 or 5 issues; so the execution is off compared to something like Tom Strong or Atomic Robo going wacky full-tilt from the outset as a tone) and it bums me out that I have to point to stories 5-10 years old to justify Superman or act as a starting point (despite those not being relevant to continuity).

      I don’t think that Batman, for example, is inherently more resonate or relevant to people than Superman, but creators have done more seminal character-defining launch points into the Batman mythos than Superman. I think it’s great that Action #775 “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, & The American Way” is well-written apologetics for Superman… but it’s also kind of sad that its one issue in eleven years being pointed to (and we’ve had a bunch of reboots since- Birthright, OYL, SO, New 52, etc- not to mention TV and film).

      To my coworker, Superman is still Christopher Reeve… a fairy tale hero who doesn’t really make sense because he can turn back time but doesn’t do it all the time… I was hoping the New 52 would show otherwise.

      All that aside, that’s a judgment against the issue for what it should have been rather than what it was. As an issue, it’s clearly filler- which is a bit awkward having two unrelated filler issues back to back- and it’s okay filler. It’s a nice one-and-done with lots of cameos, wacky ideas, and Morrison-ishness… but both of its plots suffer from that craziness. The flashbacks lack emotional weight because they’re heavy-handed, disjointed glimpses, and surrounded by a crazy main story… and the “main” story is itself a self-admitted footnote to the real main story we left behind in issue #4 (Superman says as much that this whole episode must have occurred fine and without his knowledge because it did not disrupt his past recollection / main story action).

      Basically, it’s filler telling you it is filler and using a story conceit to isolate its impact to all other stories past, present, and future, which can be fun if it was used to tell a story you couldn’t tell otherwise (like Superman being at his Pa’s death twice over in All-Star) but here it’s actually kind of generic, despite fun with tesseracts, teleport guns, and kryptonite. From the regular on-going series not burdened with the responsibilities of a relaunch, this kind of issue would been a fun and quirky detour.

  2. darklighter1
    February 6, 2012 at 3:22 am — Reply

    It lost me….I’m done with the Supes titles. Can’t complain on WW, Aquaman or GL but Batman and Superman have really sucked since the relaunch.

  3. JoeM
    February 6, 2012 at 8:26 am — Reply

    Well, I’m a big Legion fan. In 1999 when I moved to Mexico City and needed to sell my comic book collection the only thing that didn’t go was the Legion because I just couldn’t part with them. (well and one box of Howard the Duck and the Incredible Hulk that was in the wrong closet) So I enjoyed the heck out of this. I think my favorite bit was how much Cosmic Man kept making me think of Cosmic King by talking about controlling all the the molecules of iron in their bodies. Just made me smile.

  4. MarkW
    February 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm — Reply

    Fantastic story, if a bit confusing. Made me wish Grant was also writing the present day Superman series. The backup story was great too.

    I wouldn’t call the issue “filler” though, though it is more of a character piece rather than an issue that moves along the larger plotline. It’s a lot of origin story wrapped in a time travel event. We find out where kryptonite comes from, find out more about Clark prior to leaving Smallville, and see pieces of one of the defining moment of his life – his first meeting with the Legion. All without resorting to dry “secret origin” style story.

    Is the idea of kryptonite coming from the rocket’s engine new? I haven’t read much post 1970’s Superman, so I wasn’t sure if that was the post-Crisis origin for Kyptonite.

    I’m assuming this two issue Kubert “arc” was to allow Morales time to complete the rest of the Collector AI arc, as an alternative to one of the new 52’s Flagship titles falling off a monthly release schedule. Something the new DC seems to have no tolernace for.

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