Superman travels to Mars to save a group of astronauts and ends up confronting his demonic 5th Dimensional foe in ACTION COMICS #14.
Action Comics #14
On Mars, a team of human astronauts residing in a biosphere colony are attacked by an army of Metaleks, robotic monsters that travel to other worlds and use the native civilization as raw materials to build a home for their long-dead masters. Superman arrives in response to the team’s SOS and manages to defeat the machines before realizing that they herald the arrival of the Multitude, a force that has destroyed hundreds of worlds, with Krypton ironically being the only exception. Superman is overpowered by the faux-angels and eventually realizes that they are actually 3 Dimensional expressions of a single entity. Using the base’s power source to hit all the “angels” at once, Superman defeats them, only to learn that the Little Man who has been hounding him his entire career IS the Multitude, and he has finally decided it’s time to kill the Man of Steel once and for all.
Kind of like issue 4 before it, this comic was just one long fight scene. It’s just Superman beating up a bunch of stuff. Now, I certainly don’t hate that, but with only a few issues left of Morrison’s run, I was hoping for a little something more in the opening chapter of his last arc.
Now, he gets credit for setting the story on Mars, which helps differentiate this from other stories where Superman just punches stuff. Also, I liked how the monsters ran the gamut from robots to angels all in one issue. And especially how, once the Multitude showed up, the Metaleks teamed up with Superman to take them down.
I’m a little disappointed that the Multitude, which has been built up for a while as a cosmic threat of Galactus-level proportions, was defeated so easily. Superman just blasts them all at once and they retreat, reveled to be merely the fingers on the hand of a much “larger” entity. So in the end, the Multitude wasn’t anything at all. And then I have to wonder why the Little Man, an evil being from the 5th Dimensional world of Mr. Mxyzptlk, even bothered trying to destroy Krypton in the first place if it was going to eventually be destroyed anyway. I would think an entity that can move freely in one dimension beyond time would be aware of that.
Still, I love the notion that the only other person to defeat the Little Man was Jor-El, Superman’s father, leading to my new favorite Superman quote “When the odds are impossible, do the impossible.”
The back-up, which featured real-life scientist Neil Degrasse Tyson helping Superman find the location of Krypton just in time for Supes to see the light from the planet’s explosion, would have been awesome if I hadn’t read almost the exact same story in an issue of SUPERMAN ADVENTURES, a comic based on the 90’s animated series, like 15 years ago. Literally, it’s almost the same story, even down to Krypton being 27 light years away and Supes being 27. Now, I don’t have the issue in front of me, but if Sholly Fisch wrote that story too, then I really apologize. Otherwise…
Overall this was still a pretty solid issue, even if it was heavy on action and light on plot. And I loved Chris Sprouse’s artwork on the backup. I’ve been a huge fan of his since SUPREME and TOM STRONG, and wish he could work up a Superman run of his own.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Strong artwork and a fun battle royal between Superman, robots and evil angels||The Multitude turns out to be just another minor threat|