After 8 issues it’s finally here: the conclusion of the first arc of Action Comics. Everything has culminated in a final showdown between Superman and Brainiac. As my long-time readers will no doubt know, I’ve been a big fan of this series since its revamp. Did the first arc finish out on a high note?
Last issue, Superman finally entered Brainiac’s ship, retrieved Kryptonian clothing which became his costume, and confronted the malicious mastermind. As expected, we’re thrown into the thick of things almost immediately with Superman fighting against both Brainiac and a mind-controlled Metal-Zero (aka John Corben). Unsurprisingly, Superman triumphs against adversity and Metropolis is saved!
Grant Morrison’s run on Action Comics is definitely praise-worthy, but this issue is a bit below the usual standard. The dialogue flits from excellent to hasty and jumbled. One thing I do like about this issue is the discussion of “The Little Man”; this guy has been around since Action Comics #1 in September and at first seemed rather innocuous, but a reveal in this issue shows that there’s definitely much more to him than meets the eye. I think he could be a big villain for years to come, as it seems he’s manipulating just about everyone to take on Superman. The progression of the story this time around also felt a tad rushed, with Superman’s fight against Brainiac resolving in about half the number of pages I expected. In the end, this left more time for wrap-up and aftermath…but those parts could have probably been shortened slightly with the same results. Regardless, I still enjoyed this conclusion to the first arc.
The art in Action Comics #8 continues to impress. Rags Morales work always fires me up, though sadly this issue’s art felt a little hastier than the past releases. I liked the idea of Superman’s costume changing based on the environment around him and I wonder if this idea will be explored further and have any influence on future plots. The art style shifted in the second half, a choice which made the title feel more disjointed; this art did not appeal to me, as it made Superman look hauntingly real (but not in a good way). I’m not sure if this choice was to preview another artist or to help finish the book for release, but either way I wasn’t fond of it. I just feel the art in this issue could have been so much more: this is the climax of an arc, the final confrontation with the main villain, and yet everything felt rushed and discombobulated. I still think the art is good, just given previous issues I expected a much higher standard of quality.
Action Comics #8 is a fairly decent way to finish out the first arc of this New 52 title, but given previous issues it did not live up to my expectations. That’s not to say it was a bad issue, far from it, just I wish the creative team had done things differently. This issue is still a must-have for anyone following Action Comics right now, but just be ready for a bit of a let down.
Brett Simon is a twenty-two year old comic enthusiast. He’s wondering why no one else was aware of Brainiac despite his giant space station hovering in Earth’s orbit.