Superman gets some unexpected help, and quite a few plot-holes are filled in thanks to Action Comics #17.
Action Comics #17
Superman lies bound in Kryptonite Chains, slowly losing his powers under a red sun as he is beaten to death by Super-Doom, an evil monster Superman from a parallel world. This is the ultimate goal of Vyndktvx, the 5th Dimensional entity that has hounded Superman his entire life. But meanwhile, The Legion of Superheroes are also travelling through time, arriving at key moments in Superman’s life to gather information and help subtly push Superman in the right direction, all to save their friend and undo the horrible future world they come from, a result of Superman’s second death. As Superman is freed from his chains by a group of ordinary humans, Lex Luthor arrives piloting a giant mech, intent on either stopping Super-Doom… or killing Superman himself first!
Last issue I said I hoped Morrison would find a way to tie his entire run together in his final issue. Well, it looks like I got my wish and then some. Not only are the time-travelling actions of Vyndktvx and the Legion explained in full, but they’ve even added an issue to the run to do both that and close out the story properly.
Grant Morrison has always had a habit of leaving some readers in the dust, almost never taking the time to explain things in his work. Often times, he leaves the clues there for you to put together yourself, other times he doesn’t. And yet here, Morrison does something I’ve never seen him do before; he spoon feeds it all to us.
This issue reads like a crib sheet for his entire run, or like one of those annotation web sites that break it down page by page and panel by panel, explaining all the background and stuff you might have missed. Even the Zero Issue gets pulled into the plot, with Vyn explaining that he intended to steal Superman’s cape himself and use “isomorphic magic” on it to ruin Superman (further explaining just what the hell he was doing with Glenmorgan’s tie in issue #1), only to be foiled by the innocent young boy who stole it first, and this leads the Little Man to form the Anti-Superman Army in the first place, explaining all the other interlude issues.
As such, there is very little new material here to go over. It’s rather like the deep breath before the plunge, or having your life flash before your eyes just before you die. That’s actually a fitting analogy, as Superman is knocking on death’s door. And as much as I enjoyed the, almost by now cliché in superhero stories, arrival of the Average Joes to pay back Superman with a big helping hand in his darkest hour, I think it was the almost-reversals of a few of his enemies that stole the show for me.
Superman’s appeal to the Anti-Superman Army had Drekken the Evolver second-guessing his wicked way, and it looked like Xa-Du, the mummified Mysterio-clone from the Phantom Zone, was changing his tune as well. One idea I’ve always had about Superman is that he is SO pure of heart, his goodness and greatness rubs off on others. Be it Jimmy Olsen going from regular guy to Doctor Who-style adventurer, to one of his enemies having a change of heart. That would have to be Superman’s greatest superpower, the ability to inspire others, one so strong it actually has an effect on the real world around us.
I do hope that once Morrison’s run is over, the villains he’s created will stick around. Superman has such a small crew of decent rogues, guys like Drekken and Nimrod and Susie could really be used to bolster things, and keep us from going back to the revolving door of Luthor/Brainiac/Zod over and over again.
Once again, Sholly Fisch almost manages to steal the show with the back-up. Why he is not writing a super-book all his own, I’ll never know. I pray he sticks around for Diggle’s run. His story here, about Clark finally getting to say goodbye and thank you to his Pa was beautiful, and closes the circle Fisch started with his first back-up in issue 5, which was about Ma and Pa trying and failing to have kids, just before Kal-El’s ship lands. The art by Chris Sprouse is fantastic, and like Fisch, makes me wish we could get him on a main story arc or two. Forget Snyder and Lee, I want a Fisch/Sprouse Superman book in the near future.
Well, it looks like we’ve still got one more issue to go before we see how this all winds up. I’m glad Morrison managed to tie up all the loose ends here, which leaves the next issue free for fighting and magic and what-have-you.
Until next time.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|A great crib sheet for the entire run||Doesn’t move the story forward so much as explains what’s already come before|