The most anticipated issue of DC’s “New 52”, Action Comics #1 has arrived. The series has not been re-numbered until now. Its first issue came out in June 1938; the issue that introduced Superman to the world. There is a great deal of anticipation with this issue and it doesn’t disappoint.
Warning: Contains Spoilers
Action Comics #1 is written by Grant Morrison, with art by Rags Morales and Rick Bryant. Morrison is a big name in comics and no stranger to Superman. He wrote the critically acclaimed series All-Star Superman.
Morrison is best known for taking obscure and forgotten comic book characters from the early days and modernizing them. He incorporates this in the issue to give the reader a new, yet relatively familiar, Superman.
Fans may miss the old Superman costume since in this issue he wears a T-shirt and jeans, looking like fanboy with a cape. Although this is supposed to show a younger Clark as he turns into an adult, the change is significant.
With that said, because of Clark’s age, fans see a very reckless Superman who is extremely confident with using his powers without any tolerance for crime. For instance, in one part he is holding a man in the air on the ledge of a tall building demanding a confession from him. When he refuses, Superman steps off the ledge and the two go falling to the ground until Superman catches him at the last minute and the man confesses to his crimes.
Morrison also shows the police as well as the military, who think Superman is an enemy not a friend, to the fullest extent of his abilities.
This is a side of Superman fans haven’t seen in a long time. While this might be different for new readers this is actually not that different at all. When Superman was first published in the late 1930s, this is exactly how he was. He was brash, confident and not afraid to show the full extent of his abilities. But he was a Boy Scout; he never hurt or killed anyone and always made sure that everyone was treated fairly. This is exactly what Morrison is doing here, he is bringing characteristics of the Superman of the 1930s and making it the Superman of 2011.
Morrison again follows the Superman of the 1930s because in this version, Superman can’t fly. What people don’t realize is that when Superman was first created he could only jump really high, not fly. That’s why diehard fans say “Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.” It wasn’t until later rewrites that Superman could fly. Readers will just have to wait and see if Superman can fly when he gets older.
There have been many rewrites of Superman’s history over the years, the most recent being “Superman Earth One” by J. Michael Straczynski. There have also been many attempts at modernizing Superman for the present day and making him more relatable to the everyday person. These have usually been met with negative reactions from new readers, as well as old fans of Superman. It seems that Grant Morrison may have finally got it right. He didn’t make Superman dark and brooding like Batman or someone filled with a lot of angst and rage like Wolverine. He stuck to the roots of the character and added a little twist, which worked out perfectly. This will be an exciting new beginning for the Man of Steel.