It’s Superman’s first day on the job, in Action Comics #0
Action Comics #0
Clark Kent, who has moved from the town of Smallville to the city of Metropolis, is a man with a plan. He has ordered 200 shirts, all with the same s-shield logo. He’s getting a job at the Daily Star and moving out of his best friend Jimmy’s apartment and off his couch. He’s going to meet his hero, the reporter Lois Lane. And he’s going to change the world with his amazing powers. On his first day out, however, he gets hammered by a crook with a rocket launcher, and while passed out, some kid steals his cape. The young boy, now wearing the invulnerable cape of Superman, saves his mom and brother from their drunken father. But when he is almost hit by an oncoming train trying to run away from home, Clark arrives just in time to save him, and is rewarded not only with the return of his priceless heirloom, but also with photos and a story by Jimmy and Lois, announcing his arrival to the world. What does the S stand for? Superman.
Unlike most other DC characters, Superman’s recorded adventures in the New 52verse started pretty much when he did, in the first issue of ACTION COMICS. There we got a raw, untested Supes as he tried to figure out his place in the world. Add to that the interlude issues 5 and 6, which dealt with the destruction of Krypton and Clark’s life with the Kents, it didn’t seem like there was any new territory for this Zero issue to explore.
So, like a surgeon with a scalpel, Morrison manages to cut right down the middle with this story, focusing on literally Clark’s first day on the job as Superman.
If there was one thing that annoyed me about the opening arc of ACTION, it was that we never got to see Superman meet Jimmy and Lois. They were already in his life. And though I’ve loved how Morrison has played them off each other, I always felt like we were missing something. This issue fills that gap. Ironically, we don’t see Clark meet either Jimmy or Lois in this issue; he’s already friends with Jim and doesn’t meet Lois. But what we do see are the foundations of the relationships that will be the most important in Clark’s life.
Here you find that Clark and Lois already know about each other from their work. Lois reads Clark’s blog, and Clark is pretty obviously in love with Lois’s take-no-prisoners style of reporting. We get some much needed backstory on Jimmy; his mom was a famous model who blew her cash on drugs and his rich dad makes it up to him by paying for his fancy apartment and all his toys. At this point, Jimmy is only known for his photos of models, while he’s hungry to make a name for himself as a news photographer.
All these things add so much to the characters, and make them feel real. The trio’s friendship has been possibly the biggest addition to the mythos Morrison has made in my opinion, and is the one I hope sticks around, even after the armor and the UFOrtress are gone, having reverted to the classic versions.
The story of the boy and Superman’s cape continues the notion of Superman as a folk hero that Morrison has established here. Less an actual story, and more another Tall Tale surrounding Supes, like the one with the guy who made Superman’s shirts. Interestingly, and maybe it was just the different artists drawing the guy differently, but it seems like Morrison is either contradicting the back-up from a few issues ago, or just confirming that that particular shirt salesman was lying.
Mrs. Nyxly mourning for her husband was one of my favorite parts of the story, especially when she brought out his little derby hat. The revelation that she is Mxyptlk’s wife was one of the few things I enjoyed about the last issue, and I just can’t wait for Morrison to sink his teeth into 5th Dimensional shenanigans.
The back-up was, once again, very good. At first it seems to rehash Captain Comet’s origin from last issue, until the end, when you find out that the guy investigating him is the “evolving man” from the interlude issues, Drekken. Though it has nothing to do with Clark, I get the sense that other writers are still trying to lay a foundation for the New 52 Superman, growing out of Morrison’s run and pulling to the present day, especially given that the Annual, written by exclusively by Sholly Fisch will deal with Morrison’s (Green) Kryptonite Man. I wonder how much of this is original to the writers, and how much will be cripped from Morrison’s notes.
Overall, this was a fun issue that filled some gaps and laid the groundwork, albeit retroactively, for some of the stuff I’m really loving in the main book. It’s these great little side stories that I’ll probably miss most when Morrison leaves. He just GETS Superman in a way so few writers do these days.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Another great side story||Wish some of this stuff had appeared in the opening arc|