Friday, June 14, 2013

Tales from the 50 Cent Bin - Action Comics #10-#12

So, Grant Morrison... is bald... and looks like Lex Luthor! Don't worry, those could be considered to be good things as well.

In this post for the Month of Superman, I'll be coming to the 2010's and looking at a couple of issues from the Grant Morrison's run on Action Comics. Since I've looked at the first two arcs of his "good but okay" run last year, I'll be looking at Action Comics #10-12. Now, I can safely say that I'm a semi-fan of Grant Morrison. I've read  most of his recent DC stuff though I may be one of the only Superman fans who hasn't completely read All-Star Superman yet. I did enjoy the movie based off of the story though. I even liked Final Crisis which is something I'll be getting to later after I'm out of "Themed Month Rage." With all of that being said, let's see how this new Superman deals with Clark Kent being _____! By the way, I'm only looking at the main features, not the back-ups.

Action Comics #10-#12
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists (...): Rags Morales, Brad Walker, and Cafu 
Inkers: Rick Bryant, Brad Walker, Bob McLeod, CAFU, and Andrew Hennessy

We start out the issue with Kraven the Hunter... I mean, Nimrod the Hunter tracking down Clark Kent. He was hired by "The Little Man" at the end of issue 8.  He even goes to his old farm. The owner of the farm contacts Clark who is already looking peeved about the death of a young girl. He storms out of his apartment and heads to the train station to get a spare S-shirt (... Okay?...). He then heads to the house of the man who killed the little girl. He plays it safe in his reporter attire at first by telling the man that he knows about it all. Then... Clark goes into "Full Wrath of God" mode as he breaks down the door as Superman and throws the man into a wall.  The scene ends with the man asking Superman to take care of his gerbils.

Wow, I guess I was right about that mode. Also, it looks like I'm seeing red again.

We then shift scenes to a meeting of the Justice League where Superman (in his Kryptonian armor now) tries to pawn off the gerbils on someone. He also tells the League that they could do a lot more for the world. The rest of the League is not a fan of the idea because they believe they shouldn't impose their own world view on different countries. Plus, they just started the group. Deflated, Superman leaves, changes clothes, and hangs out with Lois and Jimmy at his apartment. While they're there, Clark looks through Lois's scrapbook of Superman sightings and he sees a group of sightings that happened before he became active.

 Elsewhere, a strange man named Adam pulls over a truck heading to Metropolis and takes control of the driver. He says he's returned to Earth to take it under his control. Back with Clark and the gang, the group is heading out to meet Perry White when they see a man with a bomb walking towards the Daily Star. Clark actually runs over to the man who is revealed to be someone whose name was tarnished by the Star. The bombs go off and Clark is in the midst of the explosion.

Later, we see Nimrod has found Clark's apartment. Ms. Nyxly tells the hunter that Clark Kent is dead. Nimrod is shocked because he thought Clark and Superman were one in the same. Suddenly, Superman shows up and a small fight occurs and ends with Nimrod's face being slightly damaged. Later, we see Nimrod at the hospital with that ridiculous-looking mask on (his face wasn't that bad! He just had sunburn!). The issue ends with Vyn... the Little Man coming up to Nimrod and asking him to join his Anti-Superman Army.

Superman's New Secret Identity
This issue starts out as Superman  (in his traditional t-shirt and jeans) is facing off an alien threat named Metalek. When he defeats the pretty weird villain, he finds that an apartment complex has been destroyed. To be nice, he decides to rebuild and and build it better than ever. Before the reporters get to talk to him, he leaves the area and dawns his new identity of "firefighter Johnny Clark." After he saves some people from a burning building, he heads to the hospital to deliver some goods to his former editor, George Taylor. Taylor's a little bitter about Clark being dead, which upsets "Johnny" a little bit.

I guess this kills the whole "Clark is the disguise, Superman is the real deal" thing, doesn't it?

Later, Superman visits Gotham City and talks to Batman about his issues... Wow, he's here too? I hope he doesn't show up in anything else! Anyway, Superman misses his life as Clark and he can't seem to come up with a way to bring himself back from the dead. They also have some funny banter about Superman's new fortress (which we don't hear nothing about after the 13th issue...) which I liked. Batman says he'll look into it and the two head off to stop some random crime in Gotham. Back in Metropolis, Lois is at her sibling's house and talking to Susie, her niece. She decided to give the gerbils Clark had to her. It's here where it's revealed  to us that Susie has some sort of special powers.

On the Satellite Fortress (which ends up disappearing after this issue...), Clark uses the Kryptonian computers to find out more about the Multitude and tries to figure out how his father, Jor-El, was able to defeat them on Krypton. Later, Lois and Susie are in Metropolis shopping when Adam comes up to them and tries to take Susie (... no, not like that). It turns out that Susie is a nutant (...Grant Morrison at your service!). Essentially, a nutant is an highly-evolved human. All of this causes a commotion and the fire department and "Johnny" are coming to the scene.

One question: who is Susie's mom?!? I only thought Lois had one sister.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the fire truck driver has been taken over by Metalek. The other firefighters and Johnny try to stop him, but he ends up causing a lot of damage and Lois ends up getting hit badly. Clark leaves to change into uniform and confronts Adam. Unfortunately, Adam uses his telepathic powers on him and the surrounding citizens. The issue ends as Superman is being mentally attacked by Adam and physically attacked by citizens. I think this is the second time citizens have ganged up on Superman in this run. Weird.

Return of the Forgotten Superman!
The issue starts out pretty weird. Basically, Adam's mental attacks cause Clark to hallucinate his life in a Pre-Flashpoint way. Eventually, he's able to snap out of it and goes to Lois's side. Adam tries to talk Susie into coming with him because Earth is in danger (when isn't it?). Fortunately, she won't budge and even uses her powers to ease Lois's pain. Superman tries to attack Blake, but Blake throws a couple of cars at him. He then tells Susie, Superman,  and the reader his origin and why he's doing this.

Adam Blake was born on the same day Clark's ship crashed on Earth to two God-fearing parents. It's sorta implied that the crash may have caused his powers to come, I don't know. His powers began to grow as he grew. When Adam's mother died, his father blamed him and kicked him out of the house. After he did some acts as the Forgotten Superman, aliens called the Oort-Kind (...) come to take him away to train him to protect the Earth.

The origin ends and round two begins for Superman and Adam. To fight the telepathy, Superman empties his mind and is able to kick Adam's butt a bit. Unfortunately, Adam still gets the upper hand with a very powerful ray gun. Luckily, Susie helps Superman by stopping Adam and telling him she won't leave Earth. The Oort-Kind  show up and teleport Adam away. After the battle, Superman rushes Lois to the hospital but the doctors can't do anything for her. So... Superman goes all Silver-Age on us by going to their library, reading every medical book, and performing surgery on Lois with the help of the surgeons.

... I guess Superman needed to change clothes after reading  and before the surgery?

All I can say is this: I hope that wife from Superman #700 ain't around in this universe or he might get slapped again.
... yeeeeah, I'm not doing "Grounded" any time soon.
During the battle, it was believed that "Johnny Clark" was killed in the destruction, but the fire department finds out that the real Johnny Clark died years ago. Elsewhere, Clark is changing clothes in an abandoned office when Batman comes by via window. He gives Clark a Bat-Flash Drive that has information on Clark's deeds as a reporter. Batman's advice is this: bring his identity back because it did do good in Metropolis. Clark heads to Ms. Nyxly's apartment and tells him about his problem. Since there is no good way to bring back Clark from the dead... Ms. Nyxly will use her fifth dimensional powers and her first wish to make everyone forget that Clark was ever dead...Whhhaaaaa---??

I understand that question mark, Clark.  What in the name of Rick James is going on!?!?!?!?

That's right, folks. It turns out that Ms. Nyxly is from the 5th Dimension. To make a long story short, she was the princess there and Mxyptlk (I'm not gonna try to spell that right) was her lover. Because of Lord Vyndyk...Lord Vinnie, she had to leave the dimension and come here. As Ms. Nyxly tells Clark about the threat of Lord Vinnie, The issue ends with Lord Vinnie (The Little Man, by the way) goes to Susie's room to recruit her for his army.


This... is another weird one. I do like it, but it does have some issues. It  actually starts out pretty good with the first issue and the second issue is pretty good as well. It's that third issue that gets me though. It's like Morrison decided to go all... "Morrison" on the mofo, ya know? That's not a bad thing sometimes, but this was just a little too weird. We basically went from  "The Golden Age" to the "hip, psychedelic Silver-Age" in about a year. It was a big transition.

Now I do like the story even if it goes in to "The Realm of Ehhhhh??????" at the end. The premise of Clark finding a new identity because his old identity is "Dead" is not a bad premise. Still one question pops in my mind: why not say "Superman sped me out of there?" I mean, that was something that wasn't even brought up here. I guess Clark didn't want the  risk anyone finding out he lied, but it would have been nice if something like this was mentioned. I will say that the whole "Wish-Away" scene at the end was a bit weird. I'm still not sure if I like it or not.

I did think his reasons for him  abandoning his normal identity were somewhat valid. I like that we could see that he still missed his friends and old job. It really says that "Clark Kent" is a real person. In other words, Clark Kent is Superman and Superman is Clark Kent. Then we have Superman doing surgery on Lois and succeeding... I really don't know what to think about that. I guess I'm not too fond of the uber-powered Superman who can do any and all things. It's not a bad scene though. I liked the encounters Superman had with Batman. I especially like that small scene with the Justice League because it really places where these events could take place. I also thought the scenes with Susie and Adam Blake are fine. They were weird, but they were fine none the less.

I thought the art overall ranged from good to average. Rags Morales's artwork ranged once again. It has its moments of coolness. Brad Walker's stuff was pretty cool and on par with Morales's. Then we have CAFU. I liked his stuff as well even when there was a glaring error present during the surgery scene. I really don't have any complaints with with the art overall. It's not my favorite, but it's still good.

Overall, do I recommend these issues? Of course. They may not be the greatest thing ever to hit the stands, but they're not bad either. If you like Grant Morrison and an uber-powered Superman, you'll like it. I believe the issues are also in the second Action Comics volume tpb as well.

Well, it looks like these issues have prepared me for the long-awaited return to the hip, psychedelic, crazy, weird 60's. Peace, Love, and God Bless.


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