Superman is bedeviled by his 5-dimensional adversary in three separate eras of his life in ACTION COMICS # 15.
Action Comics #15
During his senior prom, Clark Kent’s parents died in a car crash after helping a stranger fix his car. Early in his career, Clark Kent’s landlady was murdered by Nimrod the Hunter, under the orders of the mysterious Little Man. In the future, a powerless Superman tries to evade the Anti-Superman Army in the ruins of Metropolis. Throughout his entire life, Superman has been beset by a monster, a 5-dimensional being known as Vyndktvx, who has made it his mission in life to destroy the Man of Steel. Can Superman outwit an enemy that can attack any and every moment in his life, simultaneously?
At the end of ACTION COMICS #12, Clark’s landlady, Mrs. Nyxly, revealed herself to be a 5-dimensional entity, and the wife of Mr. Mxyzptlk. She warned Clark about the Little Man, a villain whose “higher” form of war manifested itself on our plane of reality as seemingly isolated incidents spread out across Clark’s entire life.
Four freaking months later, we are finally picking back up on that thread. As much as I have loved every single one of Morrison’s interlude issues, the constant starts and stops have done a lot of damage to the dramatic impact of this run. Just when we are building up a head of steam, we hit a brick wall as Morrison, thanks to artist delays or not, goes off on a tangent.
As for the actual subject matter of this issue, I loved it. The three separate tales, revolving around each other as Superman fights/remembers his battles with the Little Man provide both emotional and adrenaline-fueled drama. The back-story of Vyndktvx gives some much needed motivation to the character.
The whole thing might be a little too experimental for some, but I love the big concepts that Morrison offers up for consumption here. Just pondering the idea of fighting a 5-D foe, who would see your whole life as one singular object, and so that punches to your “head” and “stomach” feel like attacks on your teenage and adult years is mind-expanding.
Morrison claims that Vyn’s attacks have also managed to alter history, and that the version we are seeing might not be Superman’s original back-story. I have to wonder if this is Morrison playing with the whole retcon concept in comics (is Superman’s real history his pre New 52 self?) or is he making references to his other Superman works (such as All-Star, which showed a different version of Pa’s death). Or is Morrison simply leaving the door open for other writers to change whatever they want about his run, giving them the freedom to reinterpret the Kents’ deaths for example, after he leaves?
I noticed a few mistakes in the overall story, though. For one thing, in issue 12, Nyxly said that undoing Clark’s death would leave her with only two wishes, gifts she received from Mxy. However, here we learn that she used one to bring Mxy to the 3-Dimension for a time decades ago, and the second on Clark, leaving her with only one. Which is it? Also, the back-up claims that Ferlin is the pair’s son, not their nephew. I suppose these might get explained later, but right now, they seem like glaring mistakes.
The art was very smooth this time around, with it being very easy to forget that there were two separate artists at work. Morales’ ruined Metropolis was suitably terrifying, but since this is set in the future, I think I would have preferred if he had drawn Superman a little older, instead of stilling looking 21.
Overall, this issue managed to cram a lot of material into 20 short pages. That’s something I still love about Morrison. At a time when page space is at a premium in a $4 book, he still manages to cover more ground than any other writer working today in comics. I find myself wishing, though, that this book had come out earlier in the run, as issue 13, perhaps, finishing off Mrs. Nyxly’s tale and setting up what is to come. For example, issue 14 was much more enjoyable after reading this one, as we’ve now got a clearer picture of the Multitude and what Superman meant when he said he’d been waiting for the fight on Mars.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Great use of a 5-D villain||Took too long to get here|