I had decided to wait for DC New 52 comics to pile up and then sit down and read each series in order to really give them a chance. So here goes- my general impressions, not issue by issue.
Action Comics 1-9: Pretty much the flagship of New 52, Grant Morrison really packed a whole bunch with these. This isn’t All-Star Superman by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s still kinda epic.
My problem with Action Comics
Due to some DC New 52 editorial mandate (or maybe Morrison himself- I don’t keep up on the gossip or care), issues 1-4 and 5-8 are different storylines, but also seemingly different time periods. I really dug the reboot in 1-4, but 5-8 seemed too high end (i.e. Final Crisis-like or a homage to Alan Moore’s Supreme) and too soon in this book’s run.
Morrison is a celebrity and can do what he wants, but his modern style is frustrating to me. No captions- so I had no idea who the K-Men/Anti-Superman Army were or what year anything takes place in.
After the introduction of the DC New 52 Superman in issues 1-4, Morrison took me on a mind-trip with Brainiac, Luthor, colored kryptonite, Superman’s new origin in #5, the Legion of the Super-Heroes, Phantom Zone, Kandor, and high concept ideas and concepts that I can’t really wrap my head around.
Issue 9 is about the Obama Superman (Superman of Earth 23- so much for one earth, huh?) It also has high-end concepts that seem to come from an LSD trip or black magic seance. It actually was a fantastic issue, although it seemed like a pre-DC New 52 comic book.
The Action Comics backup stories were OK. Steel is looking good. Ma and Pa Kent are dead, so their stories are in flashback mode. Lana Lang knows Clark Kent’s secret from Smallville.
All in all, Morrison is taking Superman to the same cool and deep yet confusing levels as his controversial Batman run. Pretty sad that DC’s promise to keep things simple for new readers ended pretty early in this run; I had to ask myself if I missed an issue or if I had to read Action Comics’ sister title Superman to figure out what the heck is going on after issue 4.
DC New 52 character treatments in Action Comics in Brief
Superman: As a youngster, started off a rebellious and violent spirit akin to the Golden Age Superman. After he grows up and changes his costume, he’s pretty much back to being Mr. Perfect.
Lois Lane: Downgraded a tad. Not as bad as Marvel phasing out Mary Jane Watson.
Perry White/George Taylor: Minor roles. Taylor and the Daily Star have been phased out.
Jimmy Olsen: Clark’s buddy.
Lex Luthor: World’s smartest man. Anti-alien. Works with General Sam Lane. Manipulative. Takes a back seat to Brainiac, though.
Brainiac: Totally new design and origin again. Destroyed Krypton (I think). But also guided Kal-El’s rocket and helps him with info about Jor-El (I think). A collector. On earth, called the Internet.
Legion of the Super-Heroes: So cocky and all knowing as usual. Seems like every comic book writer is a fan boy of this group. Pass.
Bad-Dreams Recommendation: Yes, give Action Comics a spin, but don’t expect easy reading even though it’s a reboot. Morrison is NOT turning back the clock and making it simple for new readers. Older fans of Action Comics or the Superman character may also be scratching their heads. Fans of Morrison, Final Crisis, and Morrison’s Batman storyarcs will feel right at home. Niche fans of Supreme will be disappointed that Morrison didn’t make things more timeless like All-Star Superman.