Silverwolf’s Den: Action Comics #2

Hello all and welcome to another exciting installment of Silverwolf’s Den! This week I’ll be discussing the next chapter in DC’s capstone title, Action Comics! As you may recall I took a look at Issue #1 when it premiered and enjoyed it, seeing great potential in the series despite a few small shortcomings. Did this title propel the story in a positive direction, keep it at the same level, or show signs of decline?

The story begins with our hero, Superman, imprisoned by Lex Luthor and the United States Military. Thanks to a constant stream of electric shocks and exposure to insanely high doses of sedatives they are able to keep Kal-El in place. Luthor hopes to study this “specimen” and use him to create a new era of super soldiers. It’s not long, however, before Superman breaks out and begins taking down scores of guards, finding the ship in which he came to Earth within a government laboratory. Supes has no time to be sentimental, making a break for it just before reinforcements arrive and wreak more havoc. Even so, a forlorn soldier, scorned by Lois Lane, decides to initiate the incomplete super soldier project in hopes of gaining glory by slaughtering Superman. It seems, however, that a sinister plot is at work, as a creature from beyond the stars works beside Lex Luthor himself. What is this creature and what is its role in Superman’s life?

Grant Morrison, the creative master of Action Comics #2, continues to deliver an excellent narrative. From the dialogue to the action, everything feels very “Superman-y.” I especially liked how this younger Superman is portrayed as somewhat more of a troublemaker, laughing as he destroys Lex Luthor’s torture equipment. Additionally, it’s nice to see a Superman who isn’t “overpowered,” as this incarnation appears to feel pain and can be kept in place by extreme measures…for a little while, anyway. I also liked Lois Lane’s portrayal as a determined journalistic who won’t take no for an answer when it concerns something major, like keeping a superpowered alien under lockdown. The everyman soldier John shows promise; scorned by Lois Lane and now seeking any means to defeat Superman, John is poised to become a key antagonist in coming chapters. As always, Superman delivered some great one liners, giving the whole thing a Hollywood Action Movie feel, but with deeper characters and action not merely for the sake of action. I’ll look forward to how Morrison continues the story, especially since there are hints that the next issue will involve the citizens of Metropolis turning against Superman.

Rags Morales, Brent Anderson, and Rick Bryant form a cohesive team to tackle Action Comics’ artwork. The comic’s distinctive style, what I’d call “modern heroic,” stands above and beyond most comic fare, surpassing even the #1s I review last month in terms of quality. I felt as if I was watching a movie, so excellent was the sense of motion pervading the fight sequences. The expert use of facial expressions also wowed me, the emotion pouring out of the characters with every panel. I also have to say that I am somewhat sad, because the picture of the cover I found and used as this article’s image is of too poor a quality to really do justice to such an amazing image. This issue also included some concept sketches from upcoming releases, and some of them have me very excited as it looks like we’ll be seeing more of Krypton’s history and culture.  There’s nothing more I can say without sounding like a broken record, but I’m not exaggerating the high quality of the issue’s artwork.

Action Comics #2 is exactly what a good Superman story should be: action, suspense, drama, and excitement. If you haven’t already been following Action Comics, there has never been a better time, what with a second printing of Issue #1 released last week. The series shows amazing promise and I’m excited to see what the minds behind it have in store for us.

Rating: ★★★★½

Brett Simon is a twenty-one year old recent reconvert to the world of comics. For a second he actually considered buying the $200 limited edition special cover version of Action Comics #2.

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