At the end of ‘Action Comics’ #3, the alien Brainiac had taken over the Metal Zero suit with John Corben inside it. With the military compound in chaos, Lex Luthor is attempting to flee the scene while trying desperately to contact Brainiac. Meanwhile, robotic auto manufacturing plants across the globe have begun building robots instead of vehicles. Brainiac has arrived!
Superman, who has been absent since nearly deciding to give up the superhero routine in light of anti-Superman sentiment, arrives in the middle of Metropolis and attempts to save the city only to run afoul of Corben/Brainiac. When the brawl between Supes and Corben begins to turn in Corben’s favor, a familiar face arrives in the New DCU as Dr. John Henry Irons (aka Steel) arrives to save Superman. Things go from bad to worse when, the city of Metropolis disappears as Brainiac’s assimilation of Earth’s knowledge nears its completion.
Grant Morrison continues to wow with his fresh take on the Man of Steel. All the familiar faces of the pre-reboot Superman mythology are here but they’re all tweaked in a way that makes them feel both invigorated and familiar at once. This point is hammered home when this issue gives us the first partial look at the reimagined Brainiac. The alien has had several incarnations in the past, having been a skull-faced robot and a green man, but never has he been so… alien. The new Brainiac design can, I assume, be attributed to Jim Lee but, whoever is behind it, my hat goes off to them. This guy looks amazing and creepy!
The story is cut short for a backup tale featuring the tale of what happened after Steel arrived and took up the battle with Corben in Superman’s stead. It’s a nice intro to the character of Steel and, as with Brainiac, I like the new design of Steel’s costume.
The art in the main tale is by Rags Morales and it still works quite well with the tale that Morrison is telling. The backup story has art from Brad Walker and it is amazing! The high level of detail in both Steel and Corben’s super-suits must have taken Walker as long to illustrate as Morales did on the other two-thirds of this issue. As much detail went into the metal suits, the place where Walker shines the most is facial features. The rage of Corben/Brainiac and the determination of Steel are clear enough that this fight could have been done dialogue-free and still been a wonderful read.
‘Action Comics’ is one of the best series of the New 52 and one that I find myself recommending again and again. So, if you haven’t checked it out yet, what are you waiting for? Go get it!
ACTION COMICS #4
Written by GRANT MORRISON
Art by RAGS MORALES, RICK BRYANT, and SEAN PARSONS
Backup story art by BRAD WALKER
Cover by RAGS MORALES