Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Action Comics #13

Well, it’s time to get back to that Grant Morrison fellow. Just know that this isn’t the only Morrison-related story I’ll be looking at this month. I’ve already looked at most of his work on the rebooted Action Comics. Today is no different. I sort of looked at the first 8 issues a couple of years ago and at his “Death of Clark Kent” arc last year. Originally, I was going to look at Action Comics #9 (Black Superman ,ya’ll!!), but I’ve decided to look at Action Comics #13 today.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my family’s dogs, Spot, died from a heat stroke. Unlike most dogs we’ve had, Spot was around for the long haul. My dad got him back in 2001, I believe. He’s been at the house since then. He knew to stay away from the highway. He also tried to sneak in our house during thunderstorms. He was a cool dog and he will be missed. Anyway, Morrison was the writer of the main issue while Sholly Fisch handled the back-up. Instead of Rags Morales, Travel Foreman handles the art duties for the main story. Brad Walker pencils the back-up story.

Action Comics #13
Writers: Grant Morrison and Sholly Fisch
Artists: Travel Foreman (main) and Brad Walker (back-up)
Inker: Andrew Hennessy (back-up)
Colorists: Brad Anderson (main) and Jay David Ramos (back-up)

The story starts out with a flashback to Krypton 20 years before it blew up. Xa-Du, a scientist accused of making zombies (oh yeah), becomes the first prisoner in the Phantom Zone. We see that it’s kind of lonely there, but as we know, he doesn’t become the only resident there. He tried to escape during the destruction of Krypton, but Krypto kept that from happening. We then come to the present where Superman is moving into his new Fortress of Solitude. While I wonder what happened to the Collector’s ship he acquired, all of that goes out of the window as he hears something. It turns out that it’s the Phantom Zone projector and Xa-Du (in a new, creepy suit) uses it to trap Superman and escape from the Phantom Zone.
Wow, Superman didn't even say his name three times! Xa-Du's so unpredictable.

While Xa-Du gets used to the real world, Superman gets accosted by Phantom Zone criminals. Instead of suddenly turning into a gritty prison show, Krypto comes to the rescue. The two also save a man who’s revealed to be the Phantom Stranger. It may be his weirdest cameo ever. Anyway, he tells Superman that the suit Xa-Du is wearing can be controlled mentally. Superman puts his will to the test and is able to drag Xa-Du back to the projector.
Yeah! Bite his arm off!

Using Xa-Du’s equipment, Superman is able to escape from the Zone. Unfortunately, Krypto can’t come. After he imprisons Xa-Du, Superman uses the criminal’s glove to pull out Krypto. Krypto almost dies from being out of the Zone, but Superman is able to resuscitate him by taking him into space and getting him close to the sun. Unfortunately, the story can’t end all happy. Lord Vyndykdvx… Lord Vinnie (that's my name for him) comes to the Phantom Zone to recruit Xa-Du into his Anti-Superman Squad.

The back-up story is basically about Clark and Krypto. We see Krypto get created and ho he ended up in the Phantom Zone. While Krypto may have been trapped in the Phantom Zone, he was able to at least hang around Clark as a phantom. Clark just didn’t know there was a ghost dog following him. He was there when Clark went into battle and he was there when Clark needed to rest. 
Aw! Anyone got a tissue?

I liked this issue overall. I liked the story since it’s pretty much a done-in-one story. While it doesn't tie into Morrison’s overall arc on Action Comics, it’s really only at the end. Superman’s in fine form and I liked his interaction with Krypto. Xa-Du was really a random villain of the issue. There really wasn’t much to him. I’m guessing this issue was to show how he got wrapped up with Lord Vinnie’s crew. I also liked the inclusion of the Phantom Stranger even though it was a weird cameo. The back-up story is also pretty heartfelt.

The artwork is good for the most part. Since the main story has a horror feel to it, Foreman’s style is a good fit. The Phantoms look creepy and Xa-Du looks creepy in his containment suit. The Phantom Zone itself looks pretty spacious and empty. No wonder Zod and company are so nuts. The art in the back-up is fine. The art adds to the pretty heartfelt message of the story. Also, Walker doesn't have any unintentionally funny pages that make me want to laugh my butt off and that's good.

Overall, this was a nice issue. If you're a pet lover, then you might shed some tears. I didn't, of course, but you might do it. Well, it's time for me to go look at that other Superman story that Grant Morrison is famous for. Peace and God Bless.


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