Superman battles the team of Brainiac and Metallo for the fate of Metropolis and hundreds of other alien cities, and finally accepts his destiny as Earth’s first and greatest superhero in the final chapter of Grant Morrison and Rags Morales’ opening arc of Action Comics.
Action Comics #8
Properly suited up in Kryptonian battle gear, Superman tackles both the Collector and Metal-Zero, while the shrunken citizens of Metropolis watch on. As John Corben briefly reasserts independence, Superman uses the distraction to infect the Collector’s system with that of his own rocket, taking control of the Collector’s whole ship and annexing it as his first Fortress of Solitude. After returning to Earth, Superman publically takes up the role of Earth’s protector.
Well, that was a wild ride. One that took us from the “socialist” Superman of the 30’s, all the way up to the alien-fighting Superman of the modern era. Before the reboot, I had lobbied for an Absolute collection containing Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s SECRET ORIGIN and BRAINIAC arcs (call it Absolute Origin), on the grounds that reading both of those arcs would get you pretty well-versed in Superman lore and history. I find it funny Grant Morrison’s first arc pretty much fills that gap and covers a lot of the same ground. Toss in a dash of J. Michael Straczynski’s EARTH ONE, and you’ve got this arc.
The only this this arc was missing, in fact, was what those other origins had in spades: Clark and Superman meeting Lois and Jimmy, which unfortunately we never got here.
As for the final issue itself, I still feel a lot of the awesomeness of the ending was deflated by the interlude arc (issues 5 and 6), which gave away the ending, and told us how Superman would beat the Collector/Brainiac, and that its ship would become Superman’s first Fortress. Still kind of baffled and miffed by that decision. Perhaps if those issues follow this one in the collected edition, it’ll be less annoying to new readers.
Turns out I was right when I predicted that Brainiac only preserves cities of worlds that are doomed anyway, and he doesn’t do any of the actual destruction. I thought this was an elegant way of getting around the whole “Did Brainiac destroy Krypton” question, which just a little too much like the Joker killing Batman’s parents (and Two-Face killing Robin’s) in the movies. But apparently there is a force or entity responsible for destroying Krypton and other worlds, this mysterious Multitude, which sounds suspiciously like Multiverse, making me wonder if this will tie into the President Superman story next issue.
I do have to wonder though, what is the deal with Kandor? Is everyone in there asleep, or frozen, or what? What happens to the cities when they reach Permanently Shrunken status? I’m really amazed that we didn’t get any information about what is going on in the city. That feels like a massive over sight, given how much impact this could have on Clark’s life.
The first part of the issue what pretty much just fighting, leaving the various epilogues as my favorite part. Above and beyond all things, I loved that Lex Luthor was Clark’s informant “Icarus” this whole time. It is not only a great surprise, but harkens back to the Clark/Lex friendship of BIRTHRIGHT and SMALLVILLE.
I have no idea what Superman is saying in Kryptonian at the end of the issue, but I got the sense it’s was something to the effect of “God’s in his heaven, all is right with the world.” I wonder when Morrison is going to release the Krypton/English dictionary.
Overall, this was a fun last issue to this arc. I would have preferred the story not been interrupted, and thus a few months late, but what can you do? Now that the origin is out of the way, I really hope Morrison will open the doors and go crazy with the comic from now on.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Some great surprises||Best part of the ending was spoiled months ago|
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