broo1232's Action Comics: Superman and the Men of Steel #1 - Vol.1: Superman And The Men of Steel review

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A younger more inexperienced Superman.

Minor spoilers

I recently got into Superman, so I’ve been buying a few trades that I can find with him in, and this was going cheap at my comic shop so I bought this and Reign of Doomsday (random choice I know), but this was the one I wanted to read most after I loved Morrison’s other Superman work, and I just generally wanted more new 52 Superman.

Plot

Superman begins a quest to put a stop to corruption in Metropolis, and tries to take out the crime bosses of the city, but he’s being hunted by the military that have the help of Lex Luthor.

Review

This was a great volume, and for the cheap price it’s well worth the buy its not the best Superman story, but it’s a great book with a great story going on. Let me just say that before I bought this I was a slight bit hesitant due to what some people had said about Morrison’s run on Action, but I think that was on later parts of his run. I still just wanted to find out what it was like, as Morrison can create a story that some people love, but some hate, so I wanted to form my own opinion on it. One of the other things that drew me to this book was the premise of a younger slightly more raw, and untrained Superman as that intrigued me quite a lot.

The Good

  • · I will not go on about everything in this book as that would make a massively boring review that I would get bored of writing, so I'll cut it down into specifics, and all that.
  • · Morrison wastes absolutely no time setting things up, and throws you into the fight straight away with Superman fighting the crime bosses of Metropolis, and the corrupt, and Morrison basically fills you with everything else along the way. I loved this way of doing it, sometimes it doesn't work, but in this case it does, and to great effect, and the debut of Superman is just awesome, and you can see how different Superman is here immediately.
  • · Superman in this is more raw, brash, a bit more of a risk taker, and generally just new to his powers as doesn't fly in this until later on, and in the initial story arc it doesn't happen at all. This was in my opinion a stroke of genius from Morrison as it lets him build up Superman from this early point in his career, and it adds a certain amount of uncertainty as to what Superman is going to do, and Morrison uses it well to make the story more interesting, and more unique.
  • · This volume also builds quite a lot of Superman’s supporting cast quite well their not there all of the time, but there is a lot of development with some of them especially Lois Lane. I liked the rivalry Clark and Lois have, and how she’s sort of against him, and there is an interesting rivalry, and how Jimmy Olsen is friends with Clark so they keep meeting each other.
  • · I liked how Clark isn’t at the daily planet yet, and how he wants to show corruption in Metropolis, and how he feels manipulated to stop him publishing these stories. Once again I like how Morrison built Superman up from a different point in his life, and this is another thing that made the story fairly unique for me, maybe it’s been covered in other places, but I don’t think recently.
  • · The book’s plot itself is really interesting going from a down to earth Superman vs the army type affair, to introducing two of Superman’s most famous villains Braniac Metallo and Lex Luthor and I love how this plot develops Superman while still developing everything around him such as his villains, and his supporting cast, while still being quite exciting, plus it’s not often you see Superman being tortured by Lex Luthor, which was probably one of the most clever bits of the story.
  • · Metallo is or John Corben is the villain you have to be sympathetic with as he’s only doing what he thinks is right, but he’s brought into Braniac’s plot, and manipulated into it, so you have to feel sorry for him, but he’s a pretty cool villain when he’s being manipulated by Braniac. Braniac himself is interesting he does what he normally of bottling up cities like Metropolis, but I think what made him work for me was his lines of dialogue like how on Earth he was known as “Internet” it just made me laugh, but this obviously isn’t Braniac in person (or at least that’s how I think it works). The bit linking Braniac with Krypton, and Kandor was interesting as well. Lex Luthor is interesting as well with his experimentations and obsession with Superman, but I did like how he kept telling people to call Superman “it” clever moment, by Morrison, but Morrison understands Lex Luthor better than a lot of people.
  • · The final part to Morrison’s work in this volume is issues 5-6 because weirdly enough issues 1-4, and 7-8 were the main story, but in this they’ve been rearranged so it makes more sense, but both arcs have quite a strong connection due to the focus on the ship that brought Superman to Earth.
  • · This is probably the weirdest choice to focus a Superman origin issue on, but Grant Morrison makes focusing on the ship that brought Superman to Earth work very well with it going from Krypton to Superman being found by the Kents, but at that point it follows the ship, not Superman. It’s a really inventive way to do it, and it works really well in this to create an interesting story especially with the Ship Spoiler dying due to the Kryptonite engine being taken out of it.
  • · The inclusion of the Legion of Superheroes was interesting as well, as I liked the scene set in the past was interesting, and quite emotional as well, and the inclusion in the present was even more interesting, and the interaction and the friendship that Superman has with them made it even more fun to read.
  • · Issue 8 finishes off the two part story arc in exciting fashion with some really intense scenes it, not intense as in violent, but you don’t know which way its going to go exactly. Issue 8 also introduces the anti-superman army to the story who are really interesting villains and some other characters as well which I won’t mention, but it does leave a lot to be answered in coming issues, but that’s the Morrison way.
  • · One of the two backups is really, really good the Martha Kent and Jonathan Kent one is really emotional as it shows the Kent’s quest for trying to get a baby, but they can’t it’s a touching backup, and the follow-up backup on Clark on his last days on the farm is just as good.
  • There is about 5 different artists on this book, and that may feel like too many, but two of those artists are on backups (Brad Walker does the extra-long issue 8 or part of it, but that bit acts as the backup in a way even though it’s a direct continuation) Rags Morales draws the majority of the book, and aside from a minor inconsistency or two his art is amazing with some great looking action, and some good emotion portrayed on characters, and his version of Superman looks really good especially the opening splash page with him in which is really impressive. Andy Kubert draws the rest issues 5-6, and his art is my favourite out of this volume it looks really dynamic, and the characters look amazing with lots of detail put in, and the emotion on characters is especially well done, and I love how he drew Superman, and the Anti-Superman army. Brad Walker is probably my least favourite artist on this, but more on that in a minute his art isn’t bad no its pretty dynamic (sometimes too much), and the art he does on the Steel backup is impressive, but I like his work on Green lantern New guardians more, and it looks better inked which it isn’t here. Chris Cross handles the kent’s backup, and he does really well with emotion, and the sort of muddied colours work really to make it look like it was in the past. Gene Ha only draws 5 or so page, but his work is quite good and the choice for where it is makes sense since it’s on Krypton in the past, and his art works well on that.

The Bad

  • Issue 8 is about the most complex story I've ever read so much happens, and you can't take it all in on one read, and you have to read each line of dialogue carefully to understand what is being said, as it deals with some very big concepts.
  • The defeat of Braniac feels a little cheesy on Superman's part, and it felt a little anticlimactic compared to what came before it.
  • The Steel backup in parts was really cheesy, Steel seemed a little too cocky with how he defeated Metallo, and the backup itself wasn't that interesting.
  • Brad Walker's art on issue 8 had some really forced smiles on some of the characters, and Superman just looked ridiculous in a splash page when he Spoiler finally flies it just looks like forced perspective, and his expression forced.

The Verdict

This is a worthwhile buy for anyone, as it offers a interesting story, and a good introduction to Superman in general, and for the New 52 this is the first go to volume for Superman in my opinion. It's not the best Superman story (Morrison did that as well) but it has a lot going for it with an interesting story, a lot of emotional moments in it, and great artwork as well.

4 stars

55 Comments
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Posted by johnkmccubbin91

Great review. It's been a while since I read this myself so I can't give a definite rating but I felt at the time most issues were closer to a 5, but I can see why you'd go 4. I did however at the same time feel that this was the best of Morrison's Action run.

Posted by broo1232

@johnkmccubbin91: Most of them were near 5s or 5s I'd give 1-5 5s, but maybe 6-8 4s. I haven't got vol 2 (getting it soon) so I can't really judge that.

Posted by johnkmccubbin91

@broo1232: Vol 2 is good as well, but not as good as this, and the third story was even worse.

Posted by broo1232

@johnkmccubbin91: I'll read it all to get the big picture, and some people loved it, and some like you didn't like it.

Posted by johnkmccubbin91

@broo1232: Yeah some did. As a whole I enjoyed Morrison's run, it was just the last story that didn't appeal to me.

Posted by broo1232

@johnkmccubbin91: That's what I've heard quite a lot, but I still want to read it, and I'm trying to get together a decent Superman collection.

Posted by johnkmccubbin91

@broo1232: I'd recommend it. I'm trying to get my collection bigger but am trying to get some X-Men stories the now.

Posted by broo1232

@johnkmccubbin91: Focusing on DC stuff for the minute, and basically anything by Grant Morrison, and maybe some Green Lantern stuff, but mostly Morrison.

Posted by johnkmccubbin91

@broo1232: My next goal is Morrison's New X-Men run, as I've always wanted to read that, though I also hope to get the rest of his JLA run.

Posted by broo1232

@johnkmccubbin91: I want to get the second of the seven soldiers of victory, maybe his Animal man run, and Batman.

Posted by johnkmccubbin91

@broo1232: I've got all his Batman run, but have always wanted his Seven Soldiers of Victory and Animal Man runs.

Posted by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

Great review. I think Vol 2 is already out and Vol 3 is going to be released very soon. If you're looking for some New 52 Superman books look no further than Superman Unchained (unless you're getting that) and Action Comics once Greg Pak starts his run with issue 25. There is also Batman/Superman which just started.

Posted by broo1232

@theincrediblesuperhulk8642: Thanks. I'm getting vol 2 as soon as possible. Already getting unchained, and at least for the first arc Batman/Superman, and probably will try Pak's Action comics run, but thanks for the ideas!

Posted by broo1232

@johnkmccubbin91: I've got all the incorporated stuff, and I hope to get Batman and Son soon enough. Seven Soldiers is awesome or at least vol 1 is really great read, and will review it soon enough. Might by the Animal man omnibus if I have cash.

Posted by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

@broo1232: No problem In my opinion I didn't like Vol 2 as much since it's more of a set up for the final story so it's a little slow and nothing really happens. I'm loving Unchained and Batman/Superman and I can't wait for Pak to take over Action since he wrote my favourite Hulk run and Hercules run so I was really happy to hear he was going to write Action. Also forgot to mention Superman/Wonder Woman written by Charles Soule (Swamp Thing writer) and drawn by Tony Daniel (Detective and Action Comics writer and artist).

Posted by broo1232

@theincrediblesuperhulk8642: I will have to see, but that's generally what I heard about it. I love Unchained as well, same with Batman/Superman, and I may try out Action just because the first issue ties into Zero year, but will see what the budget does. Definitely trying out Superman/Wonder Woman because I love Tony Daniel's art, and also Soule has been doing a fantastic job on Swamp thing.

Posted by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

@broo1232: Great. some love for Superman I'm all for it. who doesn't love Daniel's art haven't read anything with Soule though but I've heard great things about him. For Action you could take a title off you're pull list that you don't like that much or that's slipping in quality and replace it with Action. but it all depends on how much you enjoy issue 25 and Greg Pak's villains month issues of Doomsday and Zod

Posted by broo1232

@theincrediblesuperhulk8642: Soule's a good writer, and if they gave him Superman/Wonder woman after a few issues of Swamp thing I say he is a good bet for the book. I'm thinking about it, and one of the books I'm reading is ending so maybe replace it with that, but I'll probably see if I get any extra cash, and buy it then, but I'll judge on 25, and Doomsday, Zod, and Darkseid (as he's got something to do with his Superman stuff)

Posted by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

@broo1232: He also got Red Lanterns and Thunderbolts.Yeah that's also a good idea.. Darksied is actually going to tie in to Batman/Superman while Doomsday and Zod will be for Action.

Posted by broo1232

@theincrediblesuperhulk8642: I knew that but his longest DC work has been Swamp thing. I didn't know that Darkseid was in Superman/Batman, but I thought Zod was going to be in Superman/Wonder woman at least for the first arc Doomsday will be appearing in it later, but I maybe wrong or they both could be using them.

Edited by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

@broo1232: Yeah. He's appearing in issue 3. They will but I think Pak is going to use them later on in his run. I think he's just setting up their origins but it's part of his Superman Only related work which is why it's for Action. Charles Soule is writing the Lex issue but I think that's just a one shot and has nothing to do with what he has planned for Superman/Wonder Woman. I could be wrong though.

Posted by broo1232

@theincrediblesuperhulk8642: Look forward to that then. I hope so as Pak generally plans his stuff out pretty well, but I look forward to anything with them in. I think it's just a one off with the Lex Luthor, but maybe we'll see more, and he may appear in Superman/Wonder Woman.

Posted by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

@broo1232: Agreed. It's a high possibility for him to use Lex. I wouldn't be suprised if he does.

Posted by broo1232

@theincrediblesuperhulk8642: That's what I'm thinking, but probably not until after Forever evil as he's got a big part in that, so may not really need to be in other books.

Posted by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

@broo1232: Exactly my thoughts. It would make plenty of sense since Lex hates the fact that Superman is a God like man and now he has an extra reason to be pissed since Superman is with another Titan amongst Men and Women, Wonder Woman. it would make for a great story.

Posted by broo1232

@theincrediblesuperhulk8642: That's something I hadn't thought of well done that makes perfect sense, and that would be awesome, but I'd like to see Orion in it or maybe Bizzarro just because I like him so much.

Posted by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

@broo1232: Thanks it does make perfect sense. It seems we have common favourites I love Bizarro though I'd rather see him in a straight forward Superman title like Superman, Unchained or Action. Orion would be great would love to see a rematch between him and Superman.

Posted by broo1232

@theincrediblesuperhulk8642: I'd want Bizzarro in that to see what would happen with Wonder Woman as that's not something I believe we've seen before, but he'd be good in a main Superman title as well, probably want him in Action most. That would be interesting.

Edited by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

@broo1232: Agreed. I guess WW vs Bizarro would be pretty cool.

Posted by johnkmccubbin91

@broo1232: I'd definitely recommend Batman and Son, great story. I hope to get Seven Soldiers soon.

@theincrediblesuperhulk8642: I don't understand why some of the villains month issues aren't for their series as you say Doomsday will be in Action yet he's the Batman/Superman villain, and Darkseid is in a Justice League issue yet he'll be in Batman/Superman. Why not just keep them in what they are to follow a story instead of like this. Though we'll see how things play out anyway.

Posted by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

@johnkmccubbin91: Those are my thoughts exactly. At least some of them like Riddler and H'EL are in the series they are supposed to be in. but it would have been better to do what you suggested as to avoid confusion

Posted by johnkmccubbin91

@theincrediblesuperhulk8642: Yes but the others feel wrong. Like Black Adam is in JLA instead of JL, and Secret Society of Villains in JL instead of JLA.

Posted by broo1232
Edited by johnkmccubbin91

@broo1232: Nice to here that I encouraged you to get it, and hope you enjoy it when/if you do.

Posted by broo1232

@johnkmccubbin91: I'm going to a forbidden planet soon so hope to get it there, or will order it on Amazon.

Posted by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

@broo1232: Ares would be my #1 pick to be in it. although he's different in the New 52 which kind of disappoints me since I really liked him in the Pre 52 world. I know he isn't necessarily a villain but I would love to see Zeus maybe have a little chat with Superman to make sure he isn't playing with his Daughter lol.

@johnkmccubbin91: Absolutely. you took the words right out of my mouth. those are 2 good examples. even though Black Adam and Secret Society will be more important to Forever Evil along with Black Manta and Ocean Master.

Posted by broo1232

@theincrediblesuperhulk8642: I don't know the New 52 version would be pretty funny with Superman. Zeus hasn't appeared in the New 52 at all, and he's basically dead, but yeah I see where your coming from, and that would be pretty interesting.

Edited by johnkmccubbin91

@broo1232: Hope you do as it's a great read (meaning to re-read it myself).

@theincrediblesuperhulk8642: Yeah I know that, but I was meaning due to them being set-up in the opposite series it doesn't make sense.

Edited by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

@johnkmccubbin91: Oh I know I knew what you meant.

@broo1232: Yeah I know I just though it would be pretty cool. also a match up between the First Born and Superman would be epic.

Edited by johnkmccubbin91

@theincrediblesuperhulk8642: Was just making sure, though it's not a big deal for me, but some people who collect just Justice League or JLA wanting that villain would be annoyed as they'd need to leave a gap in their collection.

Edited by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

@johnkmccubbin91: Yeah agree. especially someone with OCD. The other thing that annoys me is that why should we have to get Black Manta, Black Adam, Ocean Master and Secret Society of Super Villains for Forever Evil. I'm not sure if they are extremely important but I do know it helps set up and explain some things for Forever Evil. it's kind of like asking for more money than we already give.

Posted by broo1232
Posted by johnkmccubbin91

@theincrediblesuperhulk8642: I think the point is to sell more comics than usual as some that only get say 10-20 DC series may land up getting 20-30 of the villains month issues.

Edited by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642
Posted by johnkmccubbin91

@theincrediblesuperhulk8642: Yeah, but I'm sure you'll land up getting more than usual due to the villains month. I won't as due to already getting 20+ I'm trying to pick the ones that are more necessary.

Posted by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

@johnkmccubbin91: I'm actually only getting 4 villains month issues now. Darksied, Doomsday, Zod and Forever Evil I am definitely getting. I might get H'EL, Black Adam, Black Manta, Ocean Master and Secret Society.

Posted by johnkmccubbin91

@theincrediblesuperhulk8642: Fair enough. Wish I had the ability to hold off on what I want, but I will probably be fighting a loosing battle, so will try to minimize lose.

Posted by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

@johnkmccubbin91: Yeah it's hard for a lot of people. not for me. H'EL is if I continue to read Superman, BM BA OM and SS are only if I really need to read them when I get Forever Evil.

Posted by broo1232

Wow who knew one review could get so many comments.

Posted by johnkmccubbin91
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