Today on Silverwolf’s Den we’re taking a look at the continuing saga of Superman’s backstory in Action Comics #4! So far, the series has proved to be on of my favorites with superb writing and art, I may even go so far as to say it’s currently the DC title I enjoy reading the most! The last installment of this flagship title left us with a huge cliff-hanger as robots led by an alien intelligence attacked Metropolis! Superman rushes to save the day while hoping to find the source of this invasion. Did this latest tale of heroism live up to the gold standard set by earlier issues?
Action Comics #4 follows Superman as he combats an army of machines, known as Terminauts, sent to eradicate the Man of Steel. As the populace of Metropolish panics, Kal-El rushes in to protect civilians, smashing through legions of robots along the way. All the while, Lex Luthor panics, praying for salvation from the leader of this vile force who promised Luthor protection for the scientist’s aid. The Steel Soldier, a prototype military armor now infected by a computer virus, joins the side of the machines and assaults Superman…but a third Man of Steel joins the fray! Meanwhile, Metropolis itself faces the true goal of this Collector of Worlds, and even Superman may not be adept enough to save everyone…
Grant Morrison’s writing continues to impress within Action Comics #4. The plot is enjoyable, with great scenes of action and suspense. A feeling of heroism pervades the speech and narration, including references to great American heroes of days past. I especially liked the choice to include Steel (aka John Henry Irons) since he is a strong, interesting, and rarely seen character. I’m also assuming, as I have for a long time, that the main villain is Brainiac, a choice I applaud: I believe he is one of the more interesting Superman foes. The dialogue is stellar and the pacing perfect, moving the story at a comfortable rate without feeling rushed. The only downside is the cliffhanger ending: it wouldn’t be so terrible, except there is a note that this storyline will continue is Action Comics #7, meaning we’ll need to wait until March to find out how this conflict turns out. It seems there will be some interlude about Suiperman’s past in between, which could be a nice way to explain some things about New 52 Superman. Winter’s definitely going to feel longer waiting to see how the drama plays out in Morrison’s tale of action and intrigue.
The artwork of Action Comics #4 adheres to the high quality standards set during the first three issues. Rags Morales, Rick Bryant, and Sean Parsons live up to any and all expectations with their expertly crafted lines, colors, and figures. The action scenes are exciting and rapid, the movement flowing through the pictures with the help of expert panel placement. The character designs, especially the new one for (who I’m guessing is) Braniac is amazing, giving him a form akin to some sort of alien centipede while still retaining the pink gems and silver-black metal that his character has become associated with in his most recent incarnations. The design for Steel is also excellent: his suit resembles something more realistic than his old uniform, and succeeds in looking different than most “super suits”; I’m glad the artwork team decided on something like this rather than an “iron man with hammer” costume that would have been easier but less interesting. Once again, I’m happy that the creative minds behind the New 52 aren’t afraid to reinvent characters is wild and unexpected ways; I feel, for the most part, I prefer these changes and avoid the compulsion to demean these transformations simply because they are novel.
Action Comics #4 is an excellent continuation of the New 52 Superman mythos. Epic new characters are introduced, Superman faces tough challenges, and the plot and artwork are hard to fault. The comic also featured a sidestory at the end focusing on Steel; I feel if Action Comics continues to add in these additional chapters the series can only become stronger. If you haven’t already start reading Action Comics: I’m not sure if there are many comic titles out there right now that can match this piece’s level of quality. Trust me, there’s no one who won’t feel a sense of awe and astonishment when reading these titles.
Brett Simon is a twenty-two year old comic enthusiast. He’s glad that Grant Morrison can find challenges and enemies for Superman with no connection to Kryptonite.
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