Normally today I’d review Green Arrow, but for those who read my last review of that series know that I’ve turned my back on my favorite superhero…at least until the writing improves. I was initially going to review Earth 2 #2…but as luck would have it that, and my next choice, Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1, were both sold out at my local shop by the time I arrived. My heart should be heavy…but good old Superman will never let me down! Thus, today I’ll be talking about Action Comics #10.
A new arc starts with this issue of Action Comics as a man calling himself “Nimrod” seeks out Superman as a target. For those that recall, the elusive “little man” and head of the Anti-Superman army hired Maxim Zarov (Nimrod’s real name) back in Issue #8. Our story opens as Zarov speaks with Mr. Fry, current owner of Kent farm and long time friend of the Kent family. It seems that Nimrod really is the great hunter he claims to be, for this man realizes that Clark Kent and Superman are one in the same person! Nimrod heads to Metropolis, where an unwitting Clark Kent is about to receive some other surprises of his own.
Grant Morrison is an excellent writer, but to be honest this issue was more middle of the road. There were some interesting moments of dialogue and clever plot choices which surely will have repurcussions in upcoming issues, but ultimately there’s nothing that really stuck with me. I will, however, give Morrison credit though for killing off Clark Kent; that’s definitely something that hasn’t been done before to my knowledge and leads into some interesting questions for Superman: will he assume a new secret identity? Will Clark Kent “return” since in the “modern day” storyline of the Superman series we see Kent alive and well? Just how will this transition occur? Morrison’s set up will surely lead the way to some amazing events in upcoming issues, and I have faith and patience enough to wait and see.
Rags Morales continues to deliver high quality pencils throughout Action Comics #10. The designs from Nimrod are interesting, filling the character with a sense of rugged outback toughness. It was also cool to see Morales draw other members of Justice League, since this is their first appearance in Action Comics since the New 52 began back in September. Rick Bryant does some elegant inking here, accentuating and elevating Morales’s work to an even higher standard. The cover, created by Morales and colorist Brad Anderson, is also a superb piece of work: one can really feel Superman’s desperation as he attempts to shed his Clark Kent persona, all the while held in the vicious sights of Nimrod. Overall, this issue’s art is probably the best in the entire run so far, and if it just keeps getting better I’ll continue to be more amazed with each new release.
Normally, I’m not a huge fan of the backup stories in DC’s thicker issues, but “Absent Friends” is pretty hard to dislike. The story helps reveal the emotions of Kent’s friends as they discuss his accomplishments: Superman is a great man even while assuming his secret identity, helping the homeless and saving the lives of the injured when he can, inspiring such feats of kindness from his colleagues around him as well. Sholly Fisch crafts a heartwarming tale that I connected to, while CAFU’s proto-realistic images gave the story further emotional resonance. For the first time, I was glad the last few pages of the comic weren’t directly part of the central story.
Action Comics #10 is a good read and an excellent jumping on point for Action Comics. It’s still set pre-”modern day” New 52, but is far enough along that you don’t need to know anything from the first arc to dive in. This arc has a lot of promise, especially with hints of a “previous Superman,” and given the track record Morrison and Morales have I’d be stunned if #11 and #12 were anything but fantastic.
Brett Simon is a twenty-two year old comic enthusiast. He’s happy Nimrod didn’t Babel on too much in this issue (ten points for anyone who gets the terrible pun).