This issue picks up where ‘Action Comics’ #1 left off. Lex Luthor and General Sam Lane have defeated and captured the young Man of Steel. Superman is being held in a top-secret underground government facility and the military are testing his physical limits. It isn’t long before they underestimate the power of even this fledgling Superman and the big blue hero begins to plow through walls, soldiers, and anything else in an attempt to escape to the surface. Meanwhile, Lois Lane is nosing around the base trying to find out where her father is hiding the alien hero. As the issue ends, we discover that the real threat to Superman isn’t the military… or even Lex Luthor. It’s instead something much much worse.
I was highly impressed with Grant Morrison’s take on Superman in ‘Action Comics’ #1, but I am even more overjoyed with this issue. Morrison has written a story that gives us exactly what the title promises… action! But amidst all the action, Morrison is brilliant in that he gives us so many details of the new status quo of the Superman universe. We are given many of the limits of Superman’s powers. We’re shown that, because of Luthor’s involvement, the government thinks of Superman as the scout for a possible alien invasion.
Speaking of Luthor, this is one of the most amazing takes on the character I’ve seen. He’s despicable as a character and you just want to slug him but, for all that, he’s charismatic and likable at once. He’s just so… human. And Superman… Superman is trapped and weakened and once he is free, he’s a veritable tornado of destruction. We’re shown that, despite the weaker version of the Kryptonian hero of the new DC Universe, human technology is nearly useless against him. That leads us to the final reveal of the villainous force behind Lex Luthor’s plots against Superman. The issue doesn’t come out and say who the villain is, but from the images, I have my strong suspicions.
And, what can I say about Rags Morales’ artwork? He continues to be one of my favorite artists from DC’s stable. Grant might have created the characters, but it’s Morales that brings them to life. From Luthors condescending looks at well… nearly everyone, to Superman’s rage as he attempts his escape, Rags’ art captures perfectly the action of Krypton’s Last Son.
This issue is topped off by a few pages of “director’s commentary” from both Grant Morrison and Rags Morales as they detail some of the thought processes that went into revamping Superman for the modern era. It was a very interesting read after the smashing rush of the main story and I hope that DC does this with their other titles soon.
Final verdict: BUY
Written by GRANT MORRISON
Art by RAGS MORALES and RICK BRYANT
Cover by RAGS MORALES