Hello all and welcome to the continuing comic cavalcade on Silverwolf’s Den! Today I’ll be discussing Action Comics #3, Grant Morrison’s most recent story about the Man of Steel’s early adventures in Metropolis. As you may have seen from my reviews of Actions Comics #1 and Action Comics #2 this series is currently one of the best published by DC. Did this title live up to the high standard attached to Morrison’s other works and this series in general?
A flashback to Superman’s infancy on Krypton kicks off Action Comics #3. All around baby Kal-El events unfold as his mother, Lara, barely escapes Kandor, a Kryptonian city under siege from alien invaders. The story then cuts to present day Metropolis where Clark Kent attempts to avoid authorities who pressure him for writing exposes on Glenmorgan, a powerful business tycoon who Superman himself assaulted back in the first issue of the series. Meanwhile, Glenmorgan himself has set about demeaning Superman, causing the Metropolis public, even those Superman has saved and aided, to turn against Big Blue in an “anti-alien” campaign. All the while, General Sam Lane plans for his own attack on the Man of Steel headed by his new super soldier Metallo. Behind all this, however, lurks a sinister alien consciousness prepared to turn the world upside down.
Grant Morrison’s story continues a tad abruptly from the end of the previous chapter, though given the nature of Superman’s last adventure this is to be expected. I felt the scenes on Krypton were an interesting way to reveal the history of this new enemy and showcase Kryptonian culture, though it was a bit long for my tastes, occupying the first quarter of the comic. The plot point of the citizens of Metropolis vs. Superman is an interesting idea and to my knowledge has never been tried before; I’m intrigued to see if this event will become a major factor in upcoming issues. Unlike previous chapters, this one focused far less heavily on action though that is not necessarily a bad thing as it has set the stage for not only Superman’s conflicts, but Clark Kent’s as well. The dialogue, however, was lacking compared to previous issues and there were no lines that stood out to me as excellent, novel, or humorous. The writing, therefore, while decent, failed to live up to the standards I know Morrison is capable of.
The artwork in Action Comics #3 retained its high standard. Rags Morales and Gene Ha form an excellent pencilling team: their designs for Kryptonian clothing, buildings, and even food are novel and awe-inspiring. Metallo’s armor, too, looks awesome as do the designs for the subordinates of the newly introduced villain. The coloration, spearheaded by Bryan Anderson and Art Lyon, also deserves praise, vivid greens really standing out in this issue as the glowing energy from the servants of this new foe I continually mention. The representation of Clark Kent’s apartment is also great: the ramshackle, disorganized hole in the wall is a cute contrast with Superman’s polished demeanor. Thus, the art remained excellent in this issue.
In the end, I found Action Comics #3 to be a good, though not great, comic. While the art quality remained high, the writing dragged a bit. I feel this issue mainly acts as a bridge to the next step in the story arc and so I’m hopeful that things will become amazing again in Issue #4. This new villain (who perhaps is just a reintroduction of an old Superman standby) has grabbed my attention, and I’ll be waiting to see how he/she/it interacts with this sector of the DC Universe. This comic is worth reading, though I’d honestly suggest borrowing it unless you’re a completionist (like me) and want to own every issue of a series. Until next time, stay safe, sane, and sanguine!
Brett Simon is a twenty-two year old comic enthusiast. At this point, he sort of just wants to see Superman get back to his roots and do what he does best: punch giant robots from space.
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