The real test of success for the new DC Universe starts now. Action Comics 5 is the fifth entry in Grant Morrison’s new universe series about DC’s most famous superhero, Superman. This issue takes a break from the main story to re-tell Superman’s origin story. With so many retellings it seems odd that he’d dedicate a full issue five months in. Is this any good though?
Yes actually. Morrison somehow makes this story feel fresh despite its countless versions throughout the years. For one thing, it feels more realistic than previous portrayals of the story. The rest of this paragraph contains spoilers. The Kents can’t take Superman’s rocket this time because the military reaches it too quickly. Neither of Kal-El’s (Superman’s Krypton name) parents can use the rocket because it was designed for test flights with small animals. At one point, the family tries to enter the alternate prison dimension known as the phantom zone to survive. They are deterred by Zod, who has found a way to reach out of the portal (thought to be impossible,) and wants nothing more but to destroy Superman’s parents.
Despite all these changes, this is still faithful to the original story. The artwork, as always, is very good. The pacing is nearly perfect. Simply put, this is a very good issue overall and I highly recommend it to Superman fans and anyone who is interested in Superman in general. As this is about Superman as a baby, you don’t have to like Morrison’s brasher portrayal of the character to enjoy this issue. As this is a re-telling of Superman’s origin story, this is an excellent jumping on point and I don’t have to explain anything.
The only reason I picked up this issue after the mediocre first issue is because I like Cable. My favourite complete “solo” series is Cable & Deadpool, a series that combines the future soldier son of Cyclops and a clone of Jean Grey (it’s too complicated to explain) and Deadpool, a somewhat insane mercenary who breaks the fourth wall and provides most of Uncanny X-Force’s comic relief. It’s like a buddy cop series where Mr. Serious meets Crazy Stan. It’s hilarious with some deep dramatic moments and I highly recommend it. I also enjoyed Cable’s second solo series where he protects and raises Hope, the mutant “messiah” in the future, even if it was mediocre. The first two issues of this X-Sanction event destroys everything I like about Cable as a character.
I can understand why Cable would confront the Avengers if he believed they would kill Hope at some point, but why is he picking them off like a terrorist without at least talking to them first? Better yet, why wouldn’t he try to find the moment Hope was eliminated and prevent it from happening in the first place? Why is he placing each avenger in a lethal trap one by one? Where did he get Weapon X tubes, X-Men torture chairs and Iron Man’s future tech – especially within six hours?
Why is Iron Man the only one who looks for the two missing Avengers in this issue when he should bring everyone else with him? I can understand why Captain America looked for Falcon alone when he was the only missing Avenger, but once two are gone you should send everyone together. Cable says he’s looking for information, but this issue doesn’t show him asking the avengers questions. Heck, what will he learn from the avengers at this point anyway? If he stops the Avengers, isn’t it possible that someone else will kill or arrest Hope instead?
This issue is nearly 100% Cable vs. Iron Man with a few flashbacks of Hope watching him seemingly die. I guess these flashbacks are meant to make Cable’s actions seem sympathetic, but they make him look like even more of a terrorist. Heck, his actions will only make the Avengers more likely to attack hope once Cable’s out of the way.
I know this review came off as more of a question-filled rant, but this issue really angered me. Cable’s death in Second Coming, while not confirmed, was a great sendoff for the character. Why does he have to return in such a poorly written mini-event? I hope that if he remains in the Marvel Universe after this, that he’s handled much better than this. The artwork is alright but nothing special. I find this issue impossible to recommend. I’ll probably read at least one more issue in hopes that it will improve, but I’m not putting my hopes up.
I read a bunch of other comics this week: Avengers Academy 24, Uncanny X-Men 4, Uncanny X-Force 19.1, X-Men 23 and Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha and Omega 1 ( of 5).
Avengers Academy 24 was fairly good. It felt more focused than the last issue and the art was a huge improvement. You can tell that Reptil hates what he’s being forced to do – dragging people to a powerful villain one by one. It almost feels like a horror movie, yet it actually makes sense.
Uncanny X-Force 19.1 is basically an introduction for the upcoming Age of Apocalypse ongoing series. This was good, but the pacing was relentless. It will be hard to follow for anyone who hasn’t read the Age of Apocalypse and/or the Dark Angel Saga. Basically, it sets up a reversed world from the main X-Men Universe, where humans are making their last stand in a losing war against the mutants. If that sounds good to you, check it out.
X-Men 23 is forgettable. It’s the final issue of a now cliché storyline where the X-Men are fighting a fleet of sentinels on one front while the rest of the team shuts them down from the control center. The only difference is that a fictional country was using them to attack another country rather than mutants. For some reason, Storm is having trouble here despite that she decimated them the first time she met sentinels. Colossus as the Juggernaut and War Machine had trouble for some reason as well. Why is Jubilee, now an ordinary vampire, having the most success against them? I’m tired of this title’s mediocre storytelling and until this series gets a new writer, I’m not touching it again.
Uncanny X-Men 4 is good but skippable. It’s about a lone phalanx creature that was experimented on by Mr. Sinister years ago and finally dug out of the ground after being disposed of. If you don’t know much about the phalanx, you can find out about them through the decent 2-part episode of the 90’s X-Men series called “The Phalanx Covenant.” Even so, this is more about the victim of Mr.Sinister’s experiments than anything else.
Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha and Omega 1 was surprisingly good. Kid Omega, a rebellious telepath who was partially responsible for the X-Men’s split, starts a mental war inside Wolverine’s head. Why? Because he’s a rebellious kid who hates being at the Jean Grey Institute. I recommend it and I’m looking forward to the next issue.
That’s all for this week.