Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Action Comics #1

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Rags Morales
Company: DC Comics

It's probably fairly apparent that when it comes to Grant Morrison, I've got a bit of a soft spot.  The ingenuity and approach that he has to comics as a medium of storytelling always amaze me.  Even when some of the stories falter, and that does happen, there's always something about the issue or graphic novel or story that is being told that finds a way of getting under my skin and ensorcelling my senses.  A few years ago, Morrison brought to life one of the the, if not the best, Superman story in the pages of All-Star Superman.  He captured the hope, spirit, and the magic with that story in ways that I didn't think we're possible, and he made Superman come alive.  Without a doubt, when it was announced that Morrison was the
man to relaunch Action Comics, this book became the one that couldn't come fast enough.

And while the wait seemed long, it was incredibly worth it.  Morrison has yet again set the bar for Superman stories.  Action Comics #1 is a breath of fresh air, a new take on the familiar, "S" emblazoned character that excites and intrigues.  This is most definitely a Year One tale, one that is supposedly set some years before Superman ever joins the Justice League.  It's a throwback to elements of the Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster era, where traditional injustice and the fight against political corruption was the name of the game.  As always though, with Morrison, there's always a spin on it to enjoy as well.

The story really has it all and is in fact, a complete story, from cover to cover.  The single issue story is hard to do, but we've got a great example of one right here.  It covers his power set, his alter ego, the world around him that distrusts and hates what he is, sets up a villain, and then shows that Superman is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and is able to leap tall buildings in a single bound in ways that only Morrison could do.  It also is chock full of characters that feel so alive and action that never stops moving, all done with verve and a smile.  If that isn't what you would call a full service single issue, then I don't know what is.

Of course, now that we've talked about the story, we have to talk about Rags (Identity Crisis/Hawkman) Morales' artwork.  It is to die for, to put it simply.  I remember hearing people talk how he wasn't anything special or wouldn't be up to the task of headlining one of DC's flagship titles.  I couldn't understand it, as Morales' work has always been sharp, fluid, and had a sense of playfulness to it.  It is heavily realistic, which is interesting, but his work moves on the page with such briskness and in such a unique way that it has a very captivating quality to it.  Every scene in this first issue gets the same amount of attention, whether that scene is depicting Superman saving the people of Metropolis or if it simply has two people in a room talking about the best way to capture, "The Alien."

If there is only one book that you can pick up from the new DC Universe relaunch next week, Action Comics would be the one that I would point you at.  Morrison's structure of the book is so good and so on the nose.  He really makes this Superman come to life.  In a word, it's Sensational.

This is an advance review.  Action Comics #1 hits comic stands this Wednesday 09/07/11.

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