Comic Vine News

50 Comments

Action Comics #4 Reveals Five More Big Ways Superman has Changed in DC's 'The New 52'

More updates are happening as we are re-introduced to familiar characters.

It's no surprise that the fourth issue of Grant Morrison's ACTION COMICS continues to bring about more changes and updates to Superman and the DC Universe around him. This time around there are some big changes along with some continuing tweaks from the previous issues. It's strange how we're looking at the early days of Superman yet we have a feeling that some things are on a rapid course to meet the familiar territory we know, and others are veering off into new places.

As in our previous looks at ACTION COMICS, there will be major spoilers below. Do yourself a favor and read the issue for yourself to get the full details on what has changed and what remains the same.

== TEASER ==

Metallo...or Metal-Zero?

We saw last issue that how John Corben became Metallo was different. The Army had their Steel Soldier program set to prepare against alien attacks. Unfortunately with Lex Luthor involved, he actually sided with one such alien threat.

Wanting to be a hero, Corben is now forced to hunt down Superman with little regard for the safety of others. He appears fighting for control when he sees Lois but his speech is taken over with, "I am the voice. The voice of the colony." Metallo is no longer looking for revenge against Superman, he is on a mission by aliens to track down and destroy him. He is also referred to as 'Metal-Zero.'

Steel Makes His Armored Debut

We saw in issue #2 that John Henry Irons was a doctor working with the Army on the Steel Soldier program. Originally Irons had been saved by Superman at one point and after his death fighting Doomsday, he was inspired to become a hero himself. When Corben and the other robots (controlled by the aliens) were attacking Metropolis, Irons decided his time to become a hero was sooner than what we knew before.

Despite quitting the program (after witnessing Luthor torturing the captured Superman to try to study him), he still had possession of a suit in him home. In a sense, this is doing away with the Reign of the Supermen storyline (in which we get the impression that Superboy's origin doesn't have anything to do with it either).

Superman Wears More Than One Shirt?

While we've been getting used to seeing Superman wearing jeans, a t-shirt and boots, we discover that he has more than one color scheme for his shirt. When Clark has to run off and become Superman, he shows up wearing a white t-shirt with the S-logo (similar to what Supergirl wore long ago).

The question also comes up as to where does he keep his costume. He may be able to move at high speeds but we know he isn't able to fly yet. When he was with Lois when the attack started, he was wearing sneakers. Thus, he had to run off somewhere to get his work boots.

The white t-shirt gets pretty shredded so we'll have to see if he wears a white one again or if he has any other colored shirts.

Lois and Corben Had a Big Past Together

We know there was some connection between the two when they spoke to each other in issue #2. It was easy to see that Corben was a little sweet on Lois and there was the possibility that they might've dated or hung out. When Corben is transformed and going a little crazy, Lois mentions their time together in Maui. At least it can be assumed they were there together. Going off to Maui together implies more than casual dating.

A New Origin for Kandor?

The story of Kandor getting shrunk down and collected in a bottle involved Brainiac. When it was revealed that Lex was secretly working with an alien force, the suspicion was the alien would turn out to be Brainiac. When the attack begins, it's announced that they are the Terminauts. It is possible that Terminauts refers to the robot drones. When we see a part of Metropolis bottled, we get a glimpse at part of the alien's entire collection. Last issue showed us a bit of Krypton's destruction so it could be that Kandor is in one of the bottles seen here. The creature has a tiny resemblance to Brainiac but it's a pretty big departure from his past forms.

Those are the big changes so far in ACTION COMICS. Even though we're four issues in, the changes and updates continue to come in. Next issue will focus some more on Krypton so we'll have to see what else will be changed.

50 Comments
Posted by etragedy

The most interesting thing here is Kandor - haven't read this issue yet, but I'm interested in seeing where the Super family of titles goes in portraying Kryptonian life.

Posted by DarthShap

Although it saddens me, I am pretty sure that this is supposed to be Brainiac, just very poorly designed, especially coming after what Frank had managed to do with the character.

If this is the case, it does raise many questions.

Posted by Osiris1428

I love this story of Superman! I was looking for a Superman story I actually would enjoy reading.

Posted by Ice Zero

The Metallo-Lois thing doesn't surprise me... They had to make the New 52 Story as closer to Smallvile as possible.

Posted by azza04

I wanted Clark and Kara to be the LAST Kryptonians, we don't need a 100,000 other Kryptonians introduced already.

Posted by ltbrd

I'm in favor of the look of Brainiac rather than the muscular version we just had. The guy's name is Brainiac......he doesn't and shouldn't need to be a physical specimen to rival Superman. He shouldn't be able to stand toe-to-toe with the Man of Steel but should be fighting him with robotic drones and his intelligence. It's also a much creepier look than before, which goes well with the fact that he goes around stealing populations, along with their artifacts, technology, and knowledge.

John Henry Irons' debut was horrible and obviously forced. I know people praise his name but this is what I don't like about Grant Morrison's writing......he just does sh!% that makes no sense but does it in a cool enough way that everyone forgives him and says its awesome. Steel is a perfect case in point. Why would Irons have a suit in his home? Why would he have gone to great lengths to make a hidden compartment for it? Why is it different from Metal-zero if that suit is his crowning achievement? What sense is there in making a hammer right from the start rather than after a battle or two? How did he have time to create an anti-virus program and get into the suit in a matter of minutes? How the heck can he control his flight with just boosters at his feet (okay this is technically an old dilemma but one that could have been fixed in the revamp)? In the end the introduction comes off as extremely forced and more fan service than anything to do with driving the story.

Why couldn't Irons' see the rampage Corben was causing, upload the anti-virus to a flashdrive, and give it to Superman while telling him of the port in the neck. Bam.........Irons and Superman are officially introduced, Irons shows his heroic side, Irons can still reflect on Superman's heroics and we are left with an inner monologue of his affirmation to take up a heroic identity. Thus is born Steel and we didn't have to see him in costume. Plus then the costume may not have looked as "Cyborg-esque" (come on, don't tell me some of you didn't get that impression when first seeing it) and been a more refined design.

The boot swapping bring up an interesting point to his eventual Superman costume as well. In the Superman series we've seen that Clark will sport open collared shirts and rolled up sleeves, yet in the next panel he'll be in costume. Is he still wearing it under his clothes? Does it shrink to some compact form? I'm interested in what they come up with to explain the armor in general but this is also a huge point to bridging the gap with the Superman series.

Posted by Eyz

We're gonna have a....NEW KRYPTON rebooted/remake/New 52-yed?

Posted by tonis

you're right about the strangeness with Supes in this 52 realignment. I have to give DC credit for balancing the classic character with the new directions. I really am liking how AC is spotlighting on the early years like this and they do manage to maintain integrity for the most part.

So far... so good... with the man of steel :)

Posted by wowylied

Steel's introduction was relly bad in my opinion, he appear here like nothing, we have no real explanation. And one second the army want to arrest superman and after they beg him to help them. This issue was a real mess for me, the 1,2 and 3 were good but this one no.

The look of brainiac ? I like it, it change and since he is a machine if there is a problem with this they can change it when they want.

Posted by Dedpool

With the new changes to the mythology, that is DEFINITELY BRainiac! Everything points to it and it makes sense. I actually like the idea and the take on it.

Online
Posted by buttersdaman000
@azza04 said:

I wanted Clark and Kara to be the LAST Kryptonians, we don't need a 100,000 other Kryptonians introduced already.

Same here
Posted by KidSupreme

Action Comics 'The New 52' is My favorite of New 52

Posted by HannibalKing

Who hasn't Lois dated...

Posted by Grimoire

@buttersdaman000 said:

@azza04 said:

I wanted Clark and Kara to be the LAST Kryptonians, we don't need a 100,000 other Kryptonians introduced already.

Same here

I'll third this. lol

Posted by mattydeNero

I really like the idea that Supes didn't have a definitive outfit at first(in the New 52-verse). Maybe there's a vendor in Metropolis selling Superman shirts and Clark is a paying customer. :)

Posted by laabitres

awesome :)

Posted by DEGRAAF

there is no way that thing in the picture doesnt have some kind of connection to Brainiac. Mabye the collective later names himself Brainiac or someone calls it a Brainiac as a smart remark and he sticks with it

Posted by cagedleo730

It's fine to wish Clark was the last Kryptonian but ever since the introduction of Supergirl and the bottle city of Kandor, he's not been that for many decades.

As for John Henry Irons having his own suit instead different from Metal-Zero, that's because his project was hijacked by Lex and Lex made changes.

Edited by HombreMan

So Metallo's weakness is SPAM...

Edited by ArtisticNeedham

I haven't read the article yet, because I haven't read the issue yet, but I think setting up Steel much earlier in Superman's life might make him more of an established character in DC comics. Maybe he will have been there through Superman's career as a friend, like another Dr. Hamilton. If he is something like 35 or 45 here, like 10 years ago, then that means in the current Superman comics he would be about 45 to 55 and an established friend of Superman's. His armor would be more advanced and better looking. He would be more experienced. He could be more of an older authority figure, like Commissioner Gordon is for Batman. Its not necessarily doing away with the Reign of Supermen idea, just establishing a better origin (one similar to the Superman animated series version) and showing that he new Superman before he was well established and died fighting Doomsday. Maybe now the idea is that when Superman did die fighting Doomsday Steel took his armor idea and becoming the new Superman more seriously. Maybe this shows WHY he tried to be the new Superman after Superman's death in Doomsday. I like that they are making Dr. Irons part of Superman's circle of friends from the beginning, along with Lois and Jimmy.

Posted by Or35ti

The New 52 is getting so cool! I'm jumping in my seat with every new issue or report. I wonder how long these Changes articles will keep going on. Hopefully a while, I like them :)

Posted by Kal'smahboi
@DarthShap said:

Although it saddens me, I am pretty sure that this is supposed to be Brainiac, just very poorly designed, especially coming after what Frank had managed to do with the character.

If this is the case, it does raise many questions.

Idk, I never liked how humanoid brainiac was, especially when you consider how far down he looks on humans as being undeveloped. I'm open to a redesign.
Posted by Kal'smahboi
@azza04 said:

I wanted Clark and Kara to be the LAST Kryptonians, we don't need a 100,000 other Kryptonians introduced already.

It's possible that he won't discover Kandor during his first run in with Brainiac and it's definitely likely that he won't regrow them. Brainiac's already stated that after a point the miniaturization is permanent. The citizens of Kandor may never be restored.
Posted by azza04

@Kal'smahboi: Hopefully.

Posted by DarthShap

@Kal'smahboi said:

@DarthShap said:

Although it saddens me, I am pretty sure that this is supposed to be Brainiac, just very poorly designed, especially coming after what Frank had managed to do with the character.

If this is the case, it does raise many questions.

Idk, I never liked how humanoid brainiac was, especially when you consider how far down he looks on humans as being undeveloped. I'm open to a redesign.

The DCU has always been a very humanoid universe. It has never stopped any species from feeling superior (and do not get me started on Earth's History). Should Sinestro, the Guardians, the Daxamites or even the Kryptonians for that matter (that Superman fellow does look too much like us) also redesigned into millipedes according to your logic?

One of the many problems with the redesign is that Brainiac is not the only Coluan. What does this redesign mean for Brainiac 2, 3, 5 and other Coluans?

I am not against the principle of redesign as such (although I am against change for the sake of it and the New 52 is a prime example of this) but this just sends the wrong message. The Coluans are not bad guys, they are the Vulcans of the DCU.

And millipede? Really?

Posted by ltbrd

@ArtisticNeedham: I just think he could be so much more than another hero for Metropolis. Plus, I've never really liked the clear connection to an Iron Man rip-off that his character has given off. Sure they are in no way the same type of personality or background but the connection is still there and I think his character can be better than that.

Since his introduction we've seen or been told many times of the engineering and technological accomplishments John has made to the superhero community and I really think this should have been the focus of his character with the revamp. Does this demote him a bit to side character status, absolutely, but what a side character he could be. We could see him in everything, helping not only Superman but building gadgets for Batman (who in the wake of the revamp I wish would lose some of his engineering genius just to make him a little more dependent on relationships within the superhero community), repairing and upgrading Cyborg, designing and building stuff for the Justice League, created Steel-esque security bots for the League's headquarters and the Fortress of Solitude (heck maybe even designing the thing based on Kryptonian tech Superman shares with him) and so on. The dude could be laced through every book in DC as the go-to tech guy. Given the fact that guys like Oliver Queen, Ted Kord (if there even is a Ted Kord), and Michael Holt don't seem to be as closely tied to the other heroes as before their access to high-end technology seems to be lost so putting Irons in that role is an important filler in a revamp that seems to have destroyed the close-nit idea of the superhero community outside of Justice League members.

Posted by RedOwl_1
Posted by RichyRich

I don't like this Metallo, or non Metallo. I prefer the Terminator look, minus the morphing body he used to have. John Byrne Metallo was perfect. This is just weird looking, and he isn't even the Metallo we all know

Posted by AwesomeAquaman

Metal Zero is one change I can do without.

Edited by King Quisling

Love the Brainiac redesign. Wasn't much of a fan of the pre-New 52 musclebound redesign by Gary Frank. (Although I was a fan of Geoff Johns revamping of his origin.) I can't wait for issue #7 and hope the 2 interlude issues distract me enough until March rolls around.

Edited by ArtisticNeedham

@ltbrd: Since the New 52 is re-establishing everything, I could see them bring Dr. Irons into the Superman comics as Superman's scientist friend (like Dr. Hamelton used to be) and it is revealed that he has done such things with his technology over the years. And maybe is also Steel from time to time.

@ltbrd said:

helping not only Superman but building gadgets for Batman (who in the wake of the revamp I wish would lose some of his engineering genius just to make him a little more dependent on relationships within the superhero community),

But I don't think he would have much involvement with Batman. I have a hard time seeing Batman ask a scientist or a mechanic to do anything for him because he wouldn't put anyone in danger by involving them in his war on crime. That is why he has to be good at everything, because he has to do everything himself, so that he wont have to involve anyone. His Bat-Family are all vigilantes and cops. Maybe if an established Steel was a superhero...

Posted by waruikumo

This is a reboot done right.

Brilliant!

Posted by Primmaster64

Its Brainiac.

Posted by Doctor!!!!!

Now he wears the white shirt, that's all needed to know.

Buh bup buh da buh da Superman!

Posted by The Impersonator

@Eyz said:

We're gonna have a....NEW KRYPTON rebooted/remake/New 52-yed?

Don't know. But it looks like it.

Posted by MutieLover

@ArtisticNeedham said:

@ltbrd: Since the New 52 is re-establishing everything, I could see them bring Dr. Irons into the Superman comics as Superman's scientist friend (like Dr. Hamelton used to be) and it is revealed that he has done such things with his technology over the years. And maybe is also Steel from time to time.

@ltbrd said:

helping not only Superman but building gadgets for Batman (who in the wake of the revamp I wish would lose some of his engineering genius just to make him a little more dependent on relationships within the superhero community),

But I don't think he would have much involvement with Batman. I have a hard time seeing Batman ask a scientist or a mechanic to do anything for him because he wouldn't put anyone in danger by involving them in his war on crime. That is why he has to be good at everything, because he has to do everything himself, so that he wont have to involve anyone. His Bat-Family are all vigilantes and cops. Maybe if an established Steel was a superhero...

Batman has had help from mechanics/engineers, superhero or not, for some time now. At least in prior continuity. There is no way he could have mastered all of the branches of engineering he would have to know to make his gear work AND mastered every martial art, be the greatest detective, gymnast, etc. in 12-17 years (assuming he started training hardcore at 18 and he is in his thirties now).

Posted by Herx

I'm going to have to go with what tony suggested and say that this is possibly a braniac drone and not the coluan himslef. why? well because the coluans have already been re-introduced into the Ndcu in the "legion" titles, and their character designes are still pretty much the same as the before september.

see, coluans.

So most likely it's a drone, or that centapeed like body is possibly acting as a caccoon with the real braniac safely hidden inside.

Posted by zackattack529

its a brainiac dro

story is good so far

the metal zero aspect was lame to me imo souldve been introduced later as metallo with a lil redesining.

its a crazy start but i think in the long run itll work....its working alot better than the superman(self titlled) series.

Posted by komikboy

@ltbrd: bro... braniac supposed to be very rival to superman in every aspect. the way i remembered the 1st time braniac make his debut, he supposed to be the upperhand encounter for superman. he is smarter then superman by design (that his goal is to persued every knowladge and artifact of any galaxy and mostly he has his own drones army, making him more like alien dr. doom then just mad scientist like (old) Luthor). And 2nd, he's on toe-to-toe with superman too. the 1st braniac wasn't hesitate fighting superman by himself.... later DC introduced that the braniac that "we know" is just a drone. And the newest is when Geoff introduce "the new braniac himself".

i'm eager to know more about this new braniac "52" debut. yes the design isn't to fashion nor glorious as i imagine... but hey! its braniac... he can have more then 1 body... maybe its just one of his drone...

Posted by davidgrantlloyd

I think the Metal Zero thing is just temporary (like Superman's jeans look) ... I assume Metallo is just in the infancy stage of his new origin and will come into his own a few issues down the track, much like Superman's Kryptonian outfit.

I'm loving this series. Looking forward to every issue and will probably get the collected edition as well. It's been a long time since Superman was this cool (if ever!).

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Why does that Terminaut look so darn much like Brainiac in and around the whole Brainiac! storyline? Everything else though just shows how much change really has happened. I don't know if I'm too thrilled that Reign of the Supermen has been invalidated now by Irons' changes, though Corben's do not bother me so much. Otherwise, these differences are actually fresh, in my opinion. I say let them evolve and take the story where it may.

Posted by ArtisticNeedham

@MutieLover: I know he has, but it just never felt right to me that Batman would take his car to a mechanic or something. There are also comic pictures showing Bruce working on his own car in the cave, Alfred doing surgery on him, stuff like that. I think it fits Batman better to either secretly contract someone like in Batman Begins or to do it himself. I, however, do like the idea of other heroes like Superman going to Dr. Irons for tech, and even Batman paying Dr. Irons a secret visit to have him look at a weapon or something, but just a quick visit. Not asking him to build or maintain gear for him. But thats my opinion.

Posted by ltbrd

@ArtisticNeedham: Batman has involved dozens of non-superheroes in his war on crime. He's had people build his various batmobiles, design and program his computer systems, provide him medical assistance, act as informants, etc. Who specifically helps him has changed from medium to medium, for instance in the last Batman cartoon and the Nolan films Lucius Fox knows his identity and acts as his tech guy whereas in the comics he runs Wayne Enterprises and doesn't know Bruce is Batman, and at the same time Batman gets the majority of his tech from Wayne Enterprises R&D. There was a great arc in the Superman/Batman series where Batman's secret is put in jeopardy because someone found one of his gadgets that he had forgotten to file the Wayne Enterprises serial number off of.

Batman has a lot of talents and specialties but he doesn't know everything or can do everything. However he does have the means to get just about anything and the various connections to have people do things for him. Its an aspect of his character that is generally overlooked because most writers depict him as capable of doing and designing/building anything he wants to when that is actually not the case. In my mind its makes him a better character to highlight the fact he has such a network of aid because it demonstrates to the reader that he is aware of just how great his task is, what his strengths and weaknesses are, and what he actively does to mitigate those weaknesses. This is a greater testament to the character than just writing him as knowing everything.

Posted by ltbrd

@Herx: I've never been a fan of the L.E.G.I.O.N or R.E.B.E.L books so I'm not sure how much history they went into of the Coluan people but in every other series you don't see their race prior to the 30th century. So in this revamp it could be possible that this is how all Coluans look in this century.

But more appropriately I always think of Brainiac as very old, because it would take a long, long time for him to go around collecting all those worlds. Even in previous continuities he's generally known by multiple generations. The last Brainiac we saw was always in a sort of stasis/nutrient pod and that kind of seemed like what was keeping him young. Take that away and this seems like a more appropriate depiction of the character as he's been going about his collecting for so long he's simply old.

Edited by Mbecks14

Anybody else VERY underwhelmed by Action Comics? I was expecting awesome writing and art but both have just been so unsatisfying. The pacing of the stories is just terrible. Everything happens SO QUICKLY i can't tell what's happening at all. And the art isn't bad...but i don't like it. Especially for Action Comics. I've very disappointed.

This book is a perfect example of change for change's sake. Come on Grant Morrison. You're better than this. Metal Zero? No Lois and Superman love? Luthor being a little bitch? Steel already? No thank you.

Geoff Johns' Superman Secret Origin was an incredible Superman origin. I know we're trying to tell a new story but wth. I was hoping for All-Star Superman level work. This feels much more like the uber-confusing Final Crisis. I really really really want to like this story. But it's too hard to follow. I'm not giving up yet, but my expectations have not been met.

Posted by supermanprime6

Did anyone catch that John Corben said, "On another planet, Lois Lane -- you broke my heart. No heart is better."I don't really understand why he said that. Was it just a figure of speech or a reference to something that happened in their previous history together?

Posted by The_Peter_Cosmic

Did anyone else think it was incredibly stupid that they designed the Metal Zero suit without a helmet? Seems like that would be the first thing you'd want to armor up.

Posted by Killerjax

Honestly i dont like the new Action Comic. I think its the costume and storyline.

I think im gonna lay off Supes for a while, i hate the way they retcon him into weaker versions each time (not saying these guys are weak, but im sure you guys get the drift). Gonna read Green Lanterns for a while, they are much more consistent IMO

The New 52 JLA is good though :P Supes humbling other heroes is always a good sight

Posted by Mayo88m

@supermanprime6 said:

Did anyone catch that John Corben said, "On another planet, Lois Lane -- you broke my heart. No heart is better."I don't really understand why he said that. Was it just a figure of speech or a reference to something that happened in their previous history together?

I saw this too, and was like wtf does that even mean? lol Still scratching my head on it all.

And for the ones talking about Kryptonians being around. Their not. When Superman meets Kara in Supergirl he tells her as much, and that's five years after this. So even if they are in the collection, they're not getting freed anytime soon. That, or they'll be destroyed somehow.

Posted by jonesbc19

I have been very disappointed with the new Action Comics. I am getting back into reading Superman after a long layoff and find the pace of the book to be utterly horrible and the overall story very hard to follow. I sincerely hope the book improves or I'll be moving on to something else.