With ‘Action Comics’ #2 ending on the cliffhanger that Lex Luthor wasn’t the big bad in Grant Morrison’s first arc of this series, this issue only builds on the dread of what’s coming. It starts with a flashback to Krypton and the city of Kandor. Morrison puts a few new twists on the tale but, in the end, it’s the same. Brainiac is collecting samples and Krypton is doomed.
Flash-forward to Earth where Metropolis PD are harassing Clark Kent because of his journalistic attacks on businessman Glen Glenmorgan (who we last saw in ‘Action Comics’ #1 as Superman tossed him off of a building). Glenmorgan has recovered from his hospitalization and is retaliating by rallying Metropolis in a hatred of Superman. Metropolis is beginning to see Superman as an alien… an outsider who harasses legitimate businessmen like Glenmorgan. As the issue comes to a close, Brainiac makes his move and prepares to attack and assimilate Earth!
This issue reminds me so much of Spider-Man that it’s hard to ignore. Superman has become the outsider, hounded by the media, and hated by much of the populace. In one scene, Clark even decides to call it quits and tosses his Superman uniform into a trashcan. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the iconic ‘Spider-Man No More’ cover where Peter Parker did the exact same thing. Plus Clark has his red-haired best friend (Jimmy Olsen) and his love-to-be (Lois Lane). When they sit down in a café mid-story, it’s Peter, Mary Jane, and Harry Osborn! Or when Clark stuffs his costume away as his nosey landlady bangs on the front door. Classic Spider-Man. It’s not that any of this is bad. I mean… Spidey is my favorite Marvel character so I love the tropes that go along with him. I’m just surprised to see Morrison, who is so often the genius oddball and who did some very new stuff with the first two issues of this series, using these generic origin touchstones. Of course, Morrison plans these things out. This generic stuff may just be a lull before the storm and we’ll get a monkey wrench tossed into the storyline before long. Either way, it’s a great read and still one of my favorite series of the New 52.
Rags Morales’ artwork continues to brilliantly compliment Morrison’s new take on the Man of Steel. His Clark Kent is so dorky and silly looking in his oversized sweater (intended to hide his Superman physique of course) that one can’t help but smile. A story like this that is so character based is only made better by an artist like Morales who is so adept at facial features. We only see Lex Luthor one time this issue but the look on his face, courtesy of Morales, is priceless.
ACTION COMICS #3
Written by GRANT MORRISON
Art and cover by RAGS MORALES