President Superman of Earth-23 battles the crazed monster Superman of yet another parallel world in Grant Morrison’s Action Comics #9.
Action Comics #9
After defeating Lex Luthor, President Superman inspects his enemy’s latest creation, a device to contact other worlds in the Multiverse. From it jumps the Lois Lane and half-dead Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent of another world, one where they are a trio of super-scientists who created a device to make ideas real. But their experiment was sabotaged, and an attempt to create a perfect Superman resulted in a broken and cruel monster that is following them from world to world, killing the Supermen of the Multiverse.
This story is entitled “The Curse of Superman.” The dying scientist Clark Kent claims that the curse of Superman, his anyway, is that he becomes whatever you want him to be. The people of his world wanted a grim and gritty avenger, one who was weighed and measured to be the perfect multi-media brand-name icon. No act of love or creativity, just a corporate mixture of what THEY think everybody wants to see.
No double-meanings there, right?
This is probably the most “Morrison” issue of the run, so far. A lot of the ideas that crop up in his other works, such as Tulpas, solid ideas, and the notion that the things we think have a very direct and immediate impact on the world around us. As such, this feels more like the Morrison who wrote FINAL CRISIS, which might tick a few people off. But who cares?
In truth, this does feel more like a piece of FINAL CRISIS than it does ACTION COMICS. The same way RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE was more a sequel to FC than it was a Batman story. We get the return of what some people have called “Obama Man,” the black President Superman of Earth 23 and FC #7. In truth, I was kind of disappointed that this Superman is also Kal-El (or Kalel, here). Seeing as Earth-23’s Wonder Woman is actually the separate character of Nubia, and not just a black Diana Prince, I was hoping this Superman would have his own unique back-story.
It’s funny that back in FC, I thought the idea of Brainiac being Prez Superman’s robotic assistant was a unique and novel idea, but now that it’s worked its way in the mainstream, the concept has lost some of its coolness.
As I mentioned above, this issue COULD be viewed as a commentary by Morrison on the attempts to make Superman more popular by making him meaner, edgier and more aggressive. But the fact that Morrison is spearheading this latest renovation makes me wonder about what’s really going on this issue. Is Morrison trying to “protect” Superman? I mean, if Morrison knows DC is going to makes certain changes to Superman, what are the odds he’s trying make sure they do as little harm to the core concept as possible? Could be wrong, but Lois’s comment “I guess you are Superman done right…” just feels like such a loaded statement.
Perhaps it’s less about Superman, and more about our ideas of a Hero in general. Like the story of Superman vs The Elite, this isn’t the first time a writer has used Superman to call out the morally ambiguous, killer heroes of the modern day. But Morrison takes the next step here, and uses Superman as an example of a good, “natural” idea vs. a bad “pre-fabricated” idea.
Also, I’m surprised a story about the “creators” of a Superman getting screwed over by a heartless corporation (run by possibly the Devil, no less), who then takes that idea and twists it all to Hell made it through the censors, especially with the copyright lawsuit going on.
Whatever the case, this issue certainly read like a prologue to Morrison’s MULTIVERISTY, as opposed to an issue of ACTION. That in itself will bug some people, as will the FINAL CRISIS-y style of the story. But overall, I have to say, this is the most thought-provoking issue of ACTION yet. Can Morrison really make these kinds of comments about revamping Superman, when he himself is sort of in charge of said revamp? Is there more going on behind the scenes than we know?
What are your thoughts?
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Can’t get enough of Morrison’s ideas for other worlds||Didn’t feel like an issue of ACTION|