Monday, 25 August 2014

Superman- Action Comics Vol. 2: Bulletproof (The New 52) Review


Superman Action Comics Vol.2: Bulletproof
It must be so hard to be a white dude
facing all that prejudice... yeah...

Writer: Grant Morrison

Artist: Rags Morales

Collects: Superman – Action Comics #9-12, 0 and Action Comics Annual #1

Background information:

Grant Morrison has a reputation. Whether that reputation is good or bad remains to be seen. To some, he is the man responsible for great stories like All-Star Superman and New X-Men. To others, he is the man behind the pure weirdness of a long Batman runs and Superman singing away evil in Final Crisis. Most recently, he has been writing Superman Action Comics for the New 52, focussing on the early career of the Man of Steel. It’s a Superman who hasn’t yet learned to fly, but has already saved Metropolis and taken on Brainiac.

Review:

Second volumes in the New 52 haven’t gone wonderfully really. Generally, they’ve all been just that little bit less good than the first ones. Grant Morrison’s Superman Action Comics has been part of this trend- not, in any way bad, but rather pale in comparison to the first volume.
Superman has a thing with trains, doesn't he?
 
Bulletproof deals with a number of stories, really. Nimrod the Hunter, Captain Comet and Kryptonite Man make their own New 52 debuts in this book, as well as another universe featuring what I’m going to call “Superobama” (an African-American presidential Superman who is really fun to read). What Bulletproof is really about, though, is the disappearance of Kal-El’s identity as Clark Kent; who gets caught in an explosion. The question of the necessity of Clark Kent is raised here; not only as a way for Superman to live a normal life, but as a way for him to continue his mission.

See, Clark in this volume isn’t just a way to throw suspicious people off the scent; Morrison actually writes him as part of the Superman mission. After Clark’s “Death”, he’s remembered most for helping others who are in trouble. In a way, Action Comics has been presenting a more inspiring Clark Kent than it has a Superman, and I’m surprisingly okay with that.

If you saw the villain list and rolled your eyes, don’t. Nimrod, Captain Comet and Kryptonite Man are only used as much as they are necessary to use and no more. When we stopped seeing Nimrod, I wasn’t too bummed. I’d had my fill of the character and was more interested in what was coming next. It was the same for every other villain in the trade and it’s a credit to Morrison that he’s able to handle the fairly large cast without making any of them feel pointless.

One of my only real problems with Bulletproof’s story is the rather dragged-out section in the middle where a collection of side-stories are given front and centre. As well as Morrison writes Superman’s supporting cast, I don’t really care to see things that happen outside of Clark’s story. The side stories aren’t bad, but they’re incredibly jarring and I’m pretty convinced they should have been left for the end of the trade.

Also, if you’re new to Grant Morrison, I wouldn’t really suggest this one just yet. I actually read Bulletproof before the previous volume; Superman and the Men of Steel. When I did, I found it jarring and difficult to follow. That’s partially due to Morrison’s style; he likes to jump forward and back in time and explore some of the weirder elements of a character’s mythos. If, however, you’d like a steadier introduction into Morrison’s work, you’d best check out the first volume before this one.

Important point: X-Rays do not allow people to see people
naked. Superman isn't a pervert... at least not in this sense.
Art is this collection, unfortunately, bears the same problems as the first. It’s handled *moderately* better here, but not much. You can still expect to see a different artist in every issue (sometimes after only a few pages) and that becomes very off-putting. I like Morrison’s Superman generally, but he needs to have ONE ARTIST PER ONGOING. Seriously, this is getting annoying.

Bulletproof is good, don’t worry about that, but like Batman’s plan to beat Supes, you’re gonna need prep time. It gets a three and a half out of five Superobamas.
 
*** ½

+ Clark Kent is inspiring.

+ Villains are evenly spread out.

- Art is uneven.

- Some sections feel unnecessary.
 

Alternate Option: Superman Action Comics: Superman and the Men of Steel

If you haven’t read it, do so before reading this one. It’ll enhance the experience.