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Action Comics #12 - Return of The Forgotten Superman Review

4

Last issue ended with a few cliffhangers. Lois was gravely injured as a strange and powerful 'new' character emerged. Plus more on the death of Clark Kent.

The Good

This is one of those Grant Morrison issues you'll want to read more than once. At first we're picking up on the simple events from last issue. Lois' niece, Susie, appears to have some special abilities and a strange and powerful man has come to take her away. This lead to the possible death of Lois during a battle with Superman. When psychic powers are thrown in and combined with flashbacks that may or may not be entirely accurate, you'll find yourself examining each panel as the story moves by.

The other interesting facet of the issue is the exploration of the "first Superman" mentioned last issue. At first he doesn't seem like too memorable of a character but by the end, you'll definitely want to know more about him. The others he's involved with as well as Lois' niece adds a sense of wonder to the story and makes you want to know what Morrison has planned for them all.

Of course the element that makes this story work is the time period of the story. Even though Lois is on the verge of dying, you can still enjoy the scope of the story and appreciate the separate feel from the rest of the DC Universe.

There's a pretty good battle, no back up (so that means an extra long story) as well as some closure on the fate of Clark Kent (as well as Johnny Clark). And wait until you see how Superman manages to save the day.

The Bad

The "forgotten Superman" is a mixed bag of a character. The potential is there for him to be an interesting character and a formidable foe but he never quite achieves greatness...until his departure. Lois' dangerous situation was a surprise last issue but obviously we know she has to survive because of her appearance in SUPERMAN, which takes place later. That's the downside of new stories taking place in the past.

The Verdict

When you first read this issue, you get a sense that this will be one of the average issues of the series. We've seen some great stories along with some so-so ones. As the story unfolds, you begin to see that there is more going on than was first apparent. The kicker is towards the end and it should open your eyes and bring a smile to your face. There was a back up mentioned in the original solicit but this is a 30-page story. There were some key moments towards the end that made this a fun read, specifically the conversation with Mrs. N. We'll definitely want to see the repercussions from this issue. Hopefully they'll play out within the next four issues...

28 Comments Refresh
Posted by sethysquare
Posted by cc1738

This series is so up and down. One issue I really like it, the next I think it's terrible. It's incredibly annoying. As a result this is the last issue I'm going to get of Action. I hope Lobdell is good on Superman because I need a good Superman monthly.

Posted by sethysquare

Great issue as always. Love it.

Posted by sethysquare

@cc1738 said:

This series is so up and down. One issue I really like it, the next I think it's terrible. It's incredibly annoying. As a result this is the last issue I'm going to get of Action. I hope Lobdell is good on Superman because I need a good Superman monthly.

As far as I can recall, past 4 issues were very very good.

First 8 issues ranged from good to so so.

There was never an issue that was terrible. Care to share which one you thought sucked?

Posted by G-Man

@sethysquare: This bit at the end is what made the rating jump up for me.

Staff
Posted by sethysquare

@G-Man: Yeah I thought it was a great twist as well. I'm still dying to know who the hell the little man is exactly. Its so frustrating to not be able to have a page on CV for the little man who appeared in like almost all of the issues of AC.

Posted by cc1738

@sethysquare: I hated Issues 4,6,9 and issue 11. I just didn't like them, especially 9. The art is inconsistent and the story is all over the place IMO.

I'm a huge Superman fan and it's really hard to make something with his character that I don't like, but Action and Superman have managed to do it. I actually didn't even really like this issue. So, add this issue to the list too. That's 5 of 12 issues I didn't care for. That isn't a good percentage.

Posted by sethysquare

@cc1738: Weird because issue 9 is one of the most critically acclaimed issue and issue 11 was rated 4 stars here. Issues 5 and 6 basically sets the storyline for the whole of Anti Superman Army which was one of those sci fi issues that many fans thought was interesting after being so grounded for so many issues.

But hey, its your personal opinion.

Edited by cc1738

@sethysquare: I hated the entire concept for issue Nine. It was dumb. I don't care about a stupid black president Superman for one random issue. It was a waste of money. Also I don't like the Anti-Superman army or The Legion of Superheros so that's why I didn't like Issue 6. Plus, I don't want to have to read an issue a couple several times to catch details that I may miss on my first read. I should understand the issue on my first read.(This really doesn't apply for action, but rather Grant Morrison comics in general.)

Grant Morrison is a hit and miss writer with me. Sometimes I think he's really good and other times I can't stand him. For instance I loved Batman and Robin and I hated Final Crisis(worst comic I've ever read). I have really tried to like Action, I want to like, but It's just ok for me. That's why I'm not heart broken Morrison is leaving and why I'm going to try Lobdell's run on Superman. I may get the rest of his run to read the whole story, but this is more than likely the last issue I'm going to get.

Posted by sethysquare

@cc1738: Issue 9 is a prelude to something bigger. Also, it seems like you prefer to read comics that you can understand the first time round. I guess thats why Morrison is not your cup of tea.

Posted by cc1738

@sethysquare: You shouldn't have to read a comic a million times to understand it. It's one thing to have a mystery, it's another thing to make stuff confusing for the sake of making it confusing. That's what Morrison does IMO.

Posted by KnightRise

I was really hoping they were going to set up the first Superman shtick as Mr. Majestic, or even Ultraman.

Posted by RedOwl_1

Dude I loved this issue, and I wonder what excuse Clark is going to make up to explain his return :P

And WOW he has a bat-driver I WANT one of those :D

@sethysquare said:

OMG. She is NXYLYGSPTLNZ. As if MXYZPTLK isn't enough. Who the hell is VYNDKTVX and also, the little man. lol.

Yeah I mean, Why Morrison always have to make me say "What the f*ck" at the end of the issue?!? ....... Still he's freak but good

Posted by Dernman

I like the issue. Didn't like the scene in the hospital room. That's the exact thing we spent years trying to get away from.

Posted by SandMan_
Posted by Dernman
Posted by Jekylhyde14
Posted by Nick-SV(ril)

@RedOwl_1 said:

Dude I loved this issue, and I wonder what excuse Clark is going to make up to explain his return :P

Wasn't it obvious that Mrs. N would somehow be involved in wiping everyone's mind of that incident? She's an imp after all.

@sethysquare said:

OMG. She is NXYLYGSPTLNZ. As if MXYZPTLK isn't enough. Who the hell is VYNDKTVX and also, the little man. lol.

Grant Morrison revealed in a recent interview that "The Little Man" is a new character, not Mr. Mxyzptlk. It's possible that he is that Lord Vyndktvx guy though.

Posted by Zoch81

I thought it was a great issue I loved the hospital scene that was cool great issue

Posted by sethysquare

@RedOwl_1: Yeah I like it that Kal realised that he can help people being Clark Kent as well. So I'm excited about how he will explain his way out of his death. Weirdly, Barry Allen also just died and is trying to do the same.

Posted by Booster_Bronze

@cc1738: Agreed. I've come to the conclusion that if Silver Age comics are your cup of tea, then Morrison is definitely your writer. He can write more "modern" comics characters like AC #1 shows with a badass Superman, but he also has the tendency to go waaaaaaaaaay over the top in throwing in random weird stuff from 40 years ago that no one (Except maybe Scott Snyder) remembers, but unlike Snyder, he doesn't try to reinvent the old stuff for a new era, he seems to kind of crowbar it in.

Posted by RedOwl_1

@sethysquare said:

@RedOwl_1: Yeah I like it that Kal realised that he can help people being Clark Kent as well. So I'm excited about how he will explain his way out of his death. Weirdly, Barry Allen also just died and is trying to do the same.

Yeah, What a 'coincidence'!

...... I just hope the same happens with Barry :S

Posted by Hatutzeraze

@cc1738 said:

@sethysquare: You shouldn't have to read a comic a million times to understand it.

You're looking at this the wrong way. It's not that you have to read it more than once, it's that you get to read it more than once, with new rewards each time.

I don't know about you, but I appreciate getting my money's worth from today's comics. If they aren't worth rereading, then I don't think they're worth buying.

Posted by sethysquare

@Hatutzeraze said:

@cc1738 said:

@sethysquare: You shouldn't have to read a comic a million times to understand it.

You're looking at this the wrong way. It's not that you have to read it more than once, it's that you get to read it more than once, with new rewards each time.

I don't know about you, but I appreciate getting my money's worth from today's comics. If they aren't worth rereading, then I don't think they're worth buying.

Same here. One reason I find Morrison's comics so rewarding. Every time after several issues are published, I'll go back and read the previous issues and you pick up clues and what not from the earlier issues that you didn't have the first time round. And not in a way that its confusing, but in a way that you see how Morrison really got the big picture mapped out.

Edited by cc1738

@Hatutzeraze said:

@cc1738 said:

@sethysquare: You shouldn't have to read a comic a million times to understand it.

You're looking at this the wrong way. It's not that you have to read it more than once, it's that you get to read it more than once, with new rewards each time.

I don't know about you, but I appreciate getting my money's worth from today's comics. If they aren't worth rereading, then I don't think they're worth buying.

I'm definitely not looking at it the wrong way IMO. I don't want to have to go back and constantly reread past issues to appreciate the story. I like it when each issue can stand on it's own and is fully coherent. Which I don't believe Morrison does all the time. I see him as being weird with his stories sometimes for the sake of being weird. I also think the changing of the artists every issue is distracting. That is one of the big reasons I don't like the series as much and that's not even Morrison's fault.

If you really like Action and Morrison's writing then good for you. I just get annoyed with it sometimes.

Posted by sethysquare

@cc1738: I can fully understand every issue and enjoy it. Reading back issues just makes it even more enjoyable.

Posted by Hatutzeraze

@cc1738 said:

If you really like Action and Morrison's writing then good for you. I just get annoyed with it sometimes.

No sweat. I can understand that.

For what it's worth, though, I don't really ever believe it is weird for the sake of being weird. I've heard that about his writing before. I think the weird parts are just him trying to get at something, trying to achieve a goal in his writing that is more than just a straightforward story that dozens of other writers could do. He wants a challenge for himself and I believe that when he reads, he also prefers to be challenged.

I recognize that's one way of enjoying a story, and certainly not the only way. Sometimes I prefer straightforward stories myself. Nothing wrong with that at all.

Posted by ltbrd

The problem with this series is just a compounding of the problem people have with Superman in general.....most of his stories are too far based in extreme characters and ideas that they don't really connect well to the reader or the rest of the DC Universe.

I give Morrison credit for the rare characters and references he can dig up and try and re-invent for a modern reader.....but I don't think this is the type of story arc Superman needed in this new 52. It goes too extreme for what the character needs to become popular again and it also shows Superman in a rather pathetic light. He's up against these extremely powerful forces and what can he do.....smash stuff. They might as well just have him say "Superman Smash!!!" in one issue. I never really enjoyed the concept of Mr. Mxyzptlk but at least in the day when he was a recurring character the stories involving him were more about Superman using his mind to beat the little imp rather than his brawn. Morrison is doing the complete opposite.

The design for the "revamped" Captain Comet is also horrible. Not just the costume (alright, Captain Comet never had a great look but they didn't need to make him a cross between Superman and Captain Marvel so blatantly) but his backstory as well. A whole world of locations and they choose that one. Really? That's all you could come up with Morrison? Think it would have been more believable if they had done something closer to the Inhumans of Marvel, where Adam is more like an evolutionary anomaly and he looks to find others like him to "save" them from living among normal humans because of the experiences of his life. The flashbacks were actually cool, just not the location or blank copying that occured. Heck, that could even be the way to revamp Mxyzptlk and make him a more human character that Superman is actually capable of facing one on one (even though he didn't fair well against Adam) and allow this Nyxlygsptlnz to still be a great threat but something a bit more manageable than the uber power that he is expected to be right now (and thus require some outrageous way to defeat him that's going to make all of us roll our eyes at).

But that's just my thought.