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Action Comics Annual #1 - Vulnerable; Anchiale Review

4

You don't just get the New 52 origin for one Superman villain, you get two. Plus check out the developments with Lex Luthor.

The Good

Lately the annuals in the New 52 have taken one of two routes. We either get an expanded continuation of a story from the regular series or we get a separate story with a focus on characters or story. The later is what we get here.

The main story by Sholly Fisch and Cully Hamner gives us the origin of the new Kryptonite Man. This isn't the same K-Man as before. What does this mean for the original, Dr. Abernathy? You'll have to read to find out his role. The person you see on the cover may be familiar as he has appeared in previous issues of ACTION COMICS (in a sort of different form) and was briefly mentioned before as well. He has a grudge against Superman and is willing to do whatever it takes to get his revenge.

Along with the appearance of the new Kryptonite Man, we also see the return of Steel and Lex Luthor. Mixed into the story we get to find out what they've been up to and where they'll be going next.

The back up story is an 8-page silent feature written by Max Landis (you can check our interview with him HERE) and art by Ryan Sook. It's a beautifully drawn story and Landis' tale will amaze and creep you out at the same time. This new Atomic Skull will be interesting to see whenever he pops up later.

The Bad

I'm torn over the art in the main feature. I'm a fan of Hamner but there are times when his art doesn't quite fit the story. We do get some cool action scenes but there were moments this didn't quite look like a slightly younger New 52 Superman.

The design for the new Kryptonite Man was just okay. I wasn't completely wowed by it and his motivation doesn't really have me itching to see more.

The Verdict

We've been wondering where the classic Superman villains are and we're finally getting them. As annuals should, this double sized issue focuses on giving us the origin of the New 52 versions of Kryptonite Man and Atomic Skull. They both have similar stories to their original counterparts but the update is fitting for the new 'universe.' Sholly Fisch gets the chance to step away from the back ups in giving a fully length feature and Max Landis makes his comic writing debut with a chilling silent story illustrated by Ryan Sook. Both villains may not blow you away but seeing them in an issue focused on their story rather than mixed into a regular one allows for more exploration into who they are. This is what comic book annuals should do, rather than continue a story from the main series.

19 Comments
Posted by longbowhunter

The art in this book really makes me wanna buy it. It's not too often you see Hamner or Sook on interiors anymore.

Online
Posted by JoseDRiveraTCR7

It was a pretty good issue. 4 stars from me, too.

Posted by evilvegeta74

Give the Atomic Skull a cigar and he looks like The Comedian.

Posted by doordoor123

It was a pretty good issue. Liked the art in the back-up, but it was what I was expecting; crap.

I'm not sure I like that Steel isn't around, but maybe that means Natasha can be Steel instead of John. I would like to see that and I would like to see her have her own book.

Posted by lifeboy
I hope we see lex run for president soon.
Posted by BigPun

@doordoor123: what in your opinion made it crap?

Posted by noj

LOVED this issue. Cully Hammer is swiftly becoming one of my favorite artists and I really dug the new K-Man. The backup was just plain creepy and Ryan Sook drew it perfectly. I hope also hope we see more of Max Landis in the future. His story was pretty good and I would love to see what he can do with a full length story.

Posted by SandMan_

Bizarro please....And Mongul as well...

Edited by doordoor123

@BigPun said:

@doordoor123: what in your opinion made it crap?

I meant the back-up story. There was no story. A story has a beginning, middle and end. It didn't even showcase the bulk of the story. As significant as getting turned into the atomic skull is, the part in the comic where he actually turns into the atomic skull is insignificant. The story is how he got to where he was and all we got were these short glimpses.

The art on it was beautiful, but the story was too pretentious. It was like Landis was trying to be artistic. While it might work in an amateur film school, it doesn't work for comics. The story always comes first in comics and I don't think he took that to mind. I commend him for trying though. Film to comics is a tough transition. I can understand why he didn't use dialogue. It is almost a different world.

I did like that the character was a real person. That was something I felt was missing from Chronicle. Then again, the characters could have been written well in the script, but got torn apart in production.

I confess that I can be brash, but I really am trying to be unbiased. Truthfully, as film major, I may be jealous. I just don't think this was very good. I'll forget this story by tomorrow.

Posted by BigPun

@doordoor123: well I commend you for having an actual argument. Thank you.

Posted by Zoch81

I enjoyed this I thought both writing and art we both good in this and steel pretty awesome in this to, not sure about the backup didn't really get that but overall I thought was really good.

Edited by Superdork

I terms of pacing and story-telling this is the best thing Grant Morrison has done on Action Comics. Maybe it's partially because Cully Hamner is such a great artist and story-teller himself. THIS is what I wanted when I heard Grant was put on Action Comics.

And Max Landis did a great job with the back-up. That guy has real talent, and I'm looking forward to whatever he puts out in comics or film.

This is a 5/5 for me.

Here's some funny from Max Landis:

Posted by Icon

I haven't picked this up yet but I'm really looking forward to it, especially for Landis's Atomic Skull story. I've always loved that character. He's a very sci-fi take on the traditional ghost story (which is a cool juxtaposition) and underrated in my opinion. I hope he shows up again soon.

Posted by SmashBrawler

@Superdork said:

I terms of pacing and story-telling this is the best thing Grant Morrison has done on Action Comics. Maybe it's partially because Cully Hamner is such a great artist and story-teller himself. THIS is what I wanted when I heard Grant was put on Action Comics.

Sholly Fisch wrote the K-Man story, though. But I agree, he did a fine job. Could have been a good replacement for Morrison too.

Posted by Shika1Dude

Cant believe i picked this up thinking GM wrote it, well i'll see if my mistake was worth while :-/

Posted by sethysquare

@doordoor123 said:

@BigPun said:

@doordoor123: what in your opinion made it crap?

I meant the back-up story. There was no story. A story has a beginning, middle and end. It didn't even showcase the bulk of the story. As significant as getting turned into the atomic skull is, the part in the comic where he actually turns into the atomic skull is insignificant. The story is how he got to where he was and all we got were these short glimpses.

The art on it was beautiful, but the story was too pretentious. It was like Landis was trying to be artistic. While it might work in an amateur film school, it doesn't work for comics. The story always comes first in comics and I don't think he took that to mind. I commend him for trying though. Film to comics is a tough transition. I can understand why he didn't use dialogue. It is almost a different world.

I did like that the character was a real person. That was something I felt was missing from Chronicle. Then again, the characters could have been written well in the script, but got torn apart in production.

I confess that I can be brash, but I really am trying to be unbiased. Truthfully, as film major, I may be jealous. I just don't think this was very good. I'll forget this story by tomorrow.

I did like the back up, mainly due to the fact that I'm in love with villains and this annual gave me a ton of them.

Plus I love Superman and I would love for his villains to be elevated to the popularity of Batman's villains.

To me it was just a great origin story about how Albert Michaels got his powers and setting up for future appearances. I liked it.

Edited by sethysquare

Anyhows I would just like to say that this issue is AMAZING.

OMG, so excited about the appearance of a new Kryptonite Man and the craziest thing is, Grant and Sholly didn't completely remove the previous K-man, Abernathy.

I wonder if he'll end up being Red K-man or Blue K-man

Posted by Lvenger

@Superdork: Uh Grant didn't write this story. Sholly Fisch did.

Posted by doordoor123

@sethysquare said:

@doordoor123 said:

@BigPun said:

@doordoor123: what in your opinion made it crap?

I meant the back-up story. There was no story. A story has a beginning, middle and end. It didn't even showcase the bulk of the story. As significant as getting turned into the atomic skull is, the part in the comic where he actually turns into the atomic skull is insignificant. The story is how he got to where he was and all we got were these short glimpses.

The art on it was beautiful, but the story was too pretentious. It was like Landis was trying to be artistic. While it might work in an amateur film school, it doesn't work for comics. The story always comes first in comics and I don't think he took that to mind. I commend him for trying though. Film to comics is a tough transition. I can understand why he didn't use dialogue. It is almost a different world.

I did like that the character was a real person. That was something I felt was missing from Chronicle. Then again, the characters could have been written well in the script, but got torn apart in production.

I confess that I can be brash, but I really am trying to be unbiased. Truthfully, as film major, I may be jealous. I just don't think this was very good. I'll forget this story by tomorrow.

I did like the back up, mainly due to the fact that I'm in love with villains and this annual gave me a ton of them.

Plus I love Superman and I would love for his villains to be elevated to the popularity of Batman's villains.

To me it was just a great origin story about how Albert Michaels got his powers and setting up for future appearances. I liked it.