With the wrap-up one one arc in last month’s ‘Action Comics’ #12, Grant Morrison takes a break and slows down to give readers a special Halloween issue.
The issue opens on the day of the conviction of Xa-Du, the first man condemned to the Phantom Zone. As most villains are wont to do, Xa-Du goes down with a threat to make the house of El pay for his punishment.
Back in modern times, Superman is spending Halloween at the Fortress of Solitude when he begins hearing slight noises, some so imperceptible that he has to use his Fortress’ Kryptonian technology to catch them. Is there a ghost in Superman’s house? Or is it something even more sinister?
Since this is a ghost story and a lot of the fun comes in the twists, I won’t spoil it any further. Suffice it to say, Mr. Morrison provides a fun Halloween tale that serves to introduce at least two classic Superman characters (even though one of them is only a disembodied voice). He even slips in an appearance from a great DC character that, at least to me, is synonymous with the spooky and the supernatural.
To make the story even more creepy, the art is done by guest penciller Travel Foreman (‘Animal Man’) who is a master at the gritty horror look. His work here isn’t as down and dirty as it has been in ‘Animal Man’, but it still does the job and gives the whole story a wonderfully macabre vibe that not many other artists can pull off.
In addition to the main story, there’s a backup tale that flashes back to Krypton and gives us a glimpse at the El family and their family Pet, Krypto. This story, written by Sholly Fisch, doesn’t really do much to move things along but it serves as a good companion piece to the Kryptonian history that was used in the first story.
This is a solid issue and deserved a perfect middle-of-the-road score but it gets a bonus half point for the appearance of one of my favorite DC characters however brief it may have been.
Story by Grant Morrison and Sholly Fisch
Art by Travel Foreman and Brad Walker
Cover by Bryan Hitch, David Baron, Rags Morales, and Brad Anderson