I reviewed issues #1-3 of the new Action Comics series just as issue #4 was coming out. Given my reaction to the new Detective Comics’ first finished story line (leading me to drop the book this week), you might wonder what I felt a storyline that was put on hold as of issue #4 and a series that is now giving us back stories until issue #7.
I have to admit it made no sense except as one of countless ploys DC is using to help artist Rags Morales catch up. The 4th issue, while it pleasantly confirmed my suspicions of who the big villain was, also disappointed by ending almost as if Grant Morrison was in the middle of a thought and adding on a story with Steel in one of those “while this was going on” stories that didn’t really need to be told.
The backup story featured writer Sholly Fisch, who as near as I can tell writes for a lot of DC’s children’s titles. Though with capable visuals by Brad Walker, this was probably one of the most awkward ways to debut a talent to what is likely a new audience, writing a story that didn’t really need to be included except to add pages.
Issue #4 somewhat let me down. This week’s issue #5, however, we are back in business. Yes it’s a flashback, and it’s drawn by Andy Kubert, but damn it works. Morrison even answers some questions from earlier issues very cleverly.
Furthermore, it’s a flashback, but it’s also a flashforward. I won’t give anything away except, yes, the bad costume makes an appearance (Kubert couldn’t pull off a miracle and make it look good). But at least know that Morrison is giving himself room to play in this odd interlude.
Also, I owe Andy Kubert and apology. After I took him to task for his inability to depict regular emotions in Flashpoint #5 (linky today, aren’t I?), his guest pencils here pulls off both Kryptonian and lower key Smallville scenes very well.
And Sholly Fisch with artist Chrisscross writes a much better and more integrated story in issue #5 involving the Kents. It reminded me of the excellent story about Superman’s adoptive parents written by Dwayne McDuffie and reprinted in one of the recent 100 page DC Specials (more on that another time). I could get used to seeing Fisch as part of the regular Action Comics team (she should be on the cover but is likely not because it might scare Morrison fans to think he has a co-writer or something).
Action Comics is proceeding along nicely and seems to suffer the least from the seemingly inevitable artist shuffles at DC. Everyone working on the book seems invested and is giving it their A game, even if there are mistakes. If you’re still not convinced to pick up all the back issues, buy issue #5. It will provide a nice gateway.