Action Heroes

Action Comics #1

Here’s the comic that probably should’ve been the first out of the blocks last week for the DC Reboot — but of course, this one wasn’t being worked on by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, so “Justice League” had to go first. But this one is by Grant Morrison, so you can probably bet a decent sum of money that it’ll be better.

This is, obviously, a Superman comic, and it should be equally obvious that it’s not the familiar Superman we’re all used to. This is a young Superman at the beginning of his career. He wears blue jeans, work boots, a T-shirt, and a cape. He can’t fly, but he can leap tall buildings in a single bound. He’s not as strong as the Superman we’re used to, but he’s real strong, real fast, and getting stronger and faster all the time.

And hold on to your hats — the Man of Steel is a hardcore, unapologetic liberal with a mad-on for corporate malfeasance.

We get introduced to Superman after he charges into a skyscraper and terrifies a mega-rich corporate tycoon into confessing to his crimes by jumping off a building with him. The police are helpless to stop him, and Lex Luthor is working with General Sam Lane to figure out a way to capture him. After Supes prevents the demolition of a tenement filled with people and eludes the cops, he changes into his Clark Kent, crusading reporter, pays his rent, and tries to warn Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen (who are working for a rival newspaper? What the heck?) about going after a gangster. But when Luthor decides to crash a subway car, will Superman be able to save the day?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’ll admit — I was not actually expecting a lot from this. What we got was an interestingly different Superman and Clark Kent, with the same political sensibilities he had back when he was initially introduced in 1939. The action, as you’d probably expect from something called “Action Comics” is first-rate, but really, the thing that makes this so interesting is Superman’s personality — man of the people, infuriated by injustice and the way the law and the police work almost entirely for the advantage of the wealthy, and more than a bit arrogant about his powers, especially since he’s never run into anything that could seriously challenge him. This could turn out to be one heck of a cool comic.

Batgirl #1

And here we get introduced to the new version of Barbara Gordon — former Batgirl, victim of a spinal cord injury courtesy of the Joker — and a woman who had a miraculous recovery after three years in a wheelchair. Now back in costume as Batgirl, she takes down a bunch of home invaders, despite her lingering fears of gunshot wounds. She moves into a new apartment with a new roommate, but gets called back to action to help defend the leader of the home invaders from a villain called the Mirror — a murderer who specializes in killing people who have survived where they should have died — and he might have Barbara Gordon in his sights, too…

Verdict: Thumbs up. The “miraculous recovery” might be seen as a cop-out to get Babs Gordon out of her wheelchair and back into a bat-costume, but since there’s clearly something big that’s going to be explained at some point in the future, I’m willing to give it a pass. At any rate, I’m very glad to see this character being written by Gail Simone, who is one of the few writers I think can be trusted to do right by Batgirl, no matter what.

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  1. Andy Said,

    September 8, 2011 @ 10:24 am

    Hey, a mystery surrounding her recovery. Sounds kinda like…oh, now what’s the phrase I’m looking for? Ah yes…an “escape hatch.”

  2. Maxo Said,

    September 8, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

    Argh. I was trying really hard not to get excited about any of the New 52, but these sound pretty good. Action actually sounds REALLY good.

  3. scottslemmons Said,

    September 8, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

    Andy: I’ve been wondering whether they’re setting up some escape hatches, too. Their pre-release research may be telling them some stuff they don’t want to hear.

    Max: Action wasn’t even one of the titles on my pull list. And I was having dreams the night before that it sucked. I’m glad I splurged on it. 🙂