In which Morrison kills Clark Kent…
…FOR REALZ, YO!
ACTION COMICS #10
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Rags Morales
Inker: Rick Bryant
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Patrick Brosseu
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99 ($4.99 combo pack)
Previously in Action Comics: Having saved the world from Brainiac, secured a fortress of solitude, got his trademark suit, saved Metropolis from being bottled away, and formed the Justice League (not in this book but still…), Superman should be sitting on top of the world, but though he can do anything, it is his inability to solve every problem that has Clark Kent down.
CUE THE FIVE FOR FIGHTING MUSIC… NOW…
One of the interesting facets of what writer Grant Morrison has been able to bring to the New 52 Superman (beside not flying…) is how emo Clark Kent is as a character. In the last several issues, Superman has had to deal with his origins, adopting Earth as his home, and the joy of bringing down the CEO of Galaxy, Inc. Glen Glenmorgan, but that isn’t enough. There is so much grief and anguish in the world, that Clark can’t seem to take each victory in stride. After confronting a child killer, Superman turns to the Justice League to discuss becoming a world task force. When they won’t go along with the plan, Clark becomes even more withdrawn than usual.
There are some weird moments in this issue, that seem very Morrison, but could also be the problem of DC editorial as they attempt to get the new timeline in place. While we know the first Justice League story too place five years prior to current time, I expected that the story Morrison is telling took place earlier than that. Now it looks like both events took place at the same time. I don’t have a problem with that per se, but when Superman changes costume three times (wearing a red S-shield shirt, the Kryptonian battle armor, and a blue S-shield shirt), and references are made to a Superman ten years prior to Clark doing any heroics (Sylvia?), it makes me wonder if Morrison is getting ready to flip all of our minds once again. We could be seeing time jumps, or we could be seeing Supermen from many Earths, we could be seeing the effects of villains still inside Superman’s head, or maybe what readers are seeing is simply what it appears to be… a story that is building to something big.
The first introduction of the New 52 Nimrod is interesting, especially how he takes on a Kraven the Hunter motif, as he stealthily tracks and discovers Superman’s secret identity. Which is why the on panel explosion and the apparent death of Clark Kent come as a startling revelation. Yes, this issue marks the death of Clark Kent – a very interesting twist if Superman has decided to ditch his secret identity once and for all. But again, there are moments in past issues that bring this story moment into question. Remember when Clark asked “Icarus” if he was Superman? Sure you do, you’ve been reading Action Comics faithfully for the last ten months.
ART OF THE KILL
Nowhere in this issue do we see any needless violence on panel. There are certainly off panel moments that play out in more graphic detail in your mind than anything Rags Morales can put on the page. Even then, Morales is a master in this issue. The amount of detail Morales adds to each panel is staggering at times, and the action moments are full of life. Heck, for that matter, even the quiet moments have life as Morales and the rest of the art team make each characters’ eyes sparkle with energy.
Which brings us back to Emo Clark. While other characters have life in their eyes, there are moments when Clark’s eyes look completely devoid of any meaning. It’s telling to a point, and a contrast to other characters in the issue.
BOTTOM LINE: STILL GREAT
Each issue that Morrison delivers seems to be riddled with clues and hints of what is to come, but even though one could dwell on those moments for months, the prime stories still hold up well. That’s the case with this issue. Morrison delivers up some heart-string pulling moments, and gives Clark Kent more depth as a character than we’ve ever seen before. Couple that with awesome Rags Morales art, and Action Comics is a book you can’t pass up. The weird moments bring it down a bit for me, but Action Comics #10 is very much deserving of 4.5 Stars out of 5.