Okay, so here’s a new spin on the “Gut Reaction” things I’ve been doing. Rather than doing comics I know I will have some affinity for (ie: TMNT and Ink’d Wells) I’m going to start picking up just random, semi-current comics and reading them. Sometimes I’ll be familiar with the comic, sometimes I won’t. And I’m going to put down my thoughts literally as I read it to try and capture what’s going on.
This time it’s Action Comics #7, a part of the “New 52” relaunch. Okay, let’s clear up some things first: this is the first New 52 book I have ever read. Ever. I have only a peripheral knowledge of the changes that have taken place. My main knowledge of the DC Universe comes from the “Crisis” era that took place between Crisis on Infinite Earths and Flashpoint. Most of my knowledge comes from wikipedia (which I read while bored at work) and the DC movies, television shows, and direct to DVD animated films. I love the animated films. I hated Smallville. I’m just trying to give you a gauge as to my knowledge base so that you don’t comment and freak out wondering why I don’t know stuff. Also, this is 1 of only 20-or-so Superman comics I have ever owned, most of which have since been sold at Sci-Fi on the Rock. So with that in mind, I’ll jump right in. Okay, I’m already confused. Literally, the first panel. It starts off with Superman (I assume it’s Superman. He’s wearing a frigging t-shirt. Maybe I should be calling him “Clark”) saying: “…I can still see the alien spaceship with my zoom vision.” The ellipses at the beginning of the sentence makes this seem like the end of a sentence. So I flip back. Nope, this is the first page. Also: Zoom Vision? Way to make your main character sound utterly stupid. Another character even comments on this.Who wrote this piece of… ugh… Grant Morrison, we meet again. Another bit of info: I frigging hate Grant Morrison. I call him “Mr. Tell, don’t show.” But I digress. Moving along, Superman talks to General Lane who says he needs to go faster than he ever has to accomplish the task of reaching the ship, and Superman says it’s no big deal because “Nothing’s Impossible.” (Side note: Many things are impossible.) Superman successfully launches himself onto the alien device when he’s attacked my random wired that electrocute him, because that’s all that wires are good for apparently. He’s then attacked by the robot security system who recognizes that he is Kryptonian and then Superman recognizes that it recognized that. After beating the robots or running from them (the panels are unclear to me), Superman finds his way into a room full of bottled cities. He says that this is something he dreamed about, presumably in a past issue, and we get a one panel loom at said dream complete with Superman seeing his father. That’s nice. Keeping us up to speed if this is the only issue we have is nice.We cut to Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen (we aren’t told that, I just recognize them. I assume I’m right) telling off Lex Luthor. He’s rather smug and basically asserts he has nothing to do with what’s going on. He also refers to this city as “New Troy.” New Troy? We’re not in Metropolis? Nice to know. Isn’t Troy an Amazon thing? Maybe that Wonder Woman and not Lois Lane. I’m now noticing now similar they look in civilian clothes. Anyway. Lex figures out that they’ve been miniaturized and then robot spiders attack, as shown on the cover. At least the cover is accurate. Lex, Lois and Jimmy take cover in a hotel. Lex then *69s the aliens because they called him sometime prior to this issue. I am not making that up. Nobody could make that up. Turns out he gave up Superman to them (um, no. Superman went all his own. We just saw it) as part of a deal for him to survive. Turns out he should have read the fine print, because he is surviving. In a little glass jar. The aliens don’t seem to see this as an issue. The spiders get closer and a bunch of drunken hotel patrons shoot them up real good, because everyone had their guns out. Great hotel. I am staying the hell away from “New Troy.” Apparently the people there this it’s 1885 and a Western movie.We then switch the camera around a see that Superman is standing right outside. Jimmy takes a picture. Behind Superman the robot (is it okay to assume this is Brainiac?) is there and Superman asks it to explain who it is. It goes on and explains that it has been many things on many different worlds. On Krypton it was Brainiac (called it) on Earth it started as the Internet. Wait. Wait. The Internet? Oh, this is bullcrap. The Internet? Superman is fighting the Internet. I would have believed it more if Morrison has just said that Wikipedia went sentient in 2011 and started doing all this. FML. Do I have to keep reading this? ARG. We get it explained that the reason Brainiac wants Superman is that he (and the rocket-cradle that brought him to Earth) are the only pieces of Kryptonian anything that he doesn’t have on record, and he needs that intel to complete his collection. Just like I need Mirage TMNT vol4 #29 to complete mine. I can relate. Superman… now learns he’s from Krypton. Huh. Wasn’t aware he didn’t know that. But I suppose every continuity has to have it’s story where he learns that, and we are fairly early in the series. Still, as a new reader, it’s weird learning that you know more about the main character than he himself does. Brainiac wants to know which is stronger, nature or nurture. He’s got the bottle city of Kan-Dor there and “New Troy” (I guess) and will destroy whichever Superman doesn’t save, proving which one he considers “home.” Interesting motivation. I’m not opposed to this, but let’s see where it goes. As he tries to choose, the people of New Troy are holding up lighters (no doubt destroying what little oxygen they have in that jar) and chanting “Superman.” Can they hear Brainiac? Or is this just how they respond to seeing him in general. I wonder if they think he’s God. I mean, Lex just figured out they’re mini. Not everyone knows. They must think he’s massive. I’d think fear would be the reaction of choice. Superman seems to turn his back on New Troy, stating that they tried to kill him yesterday. Unless that’s an exaggeration, that’s a fairly reasonable reason. Hell, even if it was last week I’d be fine with it. Or even last year. Anyway, then people think he’s chosen and Lex freaks out, basically preaching that he was right all along. Or something to that effect. It’s the the left there. Superman then smashes his elbow through the glass behind him (was it the glass covering New Troy? Was this the world’s shortest fake-out? Unsure) and takes out the costume he saw earlier. It’s a ll white an Kryptonian, and apparently indestructible. I didn’t mention it because I honestly didn’t think it was important. But now he’s putting it on and it’s changing to suit him and… oh, it’s the Superman costume. This is how he gets it in this continuity. And apparently it’s going to make him indestructible (he wasn’t already?) and (likely) provide him with enough power to defeat Brainiac and save both cities. Okay Brainiac, I’d really like to know why that wasn’t locked away somewhere. You even just told him what it was and that it was indestructible. I think the term “supreme intelligence” should not apply to you anymore.We then get a splash page, and apparently the meek-looking robot was actually a hardcore bug robot with another bald guy above it that says Earth is doomed… cue cliffhanger! There’s a Steel backup story I’m not bothering to get into, other than to say: why does Steel exist this early in Superman’s career? I don’t think it’s going to come as a surprise to anyone that I did not enjoy this. I’m a new reader and this book just feels likedeath to a new reader. I don’t get it. I don’t get what’s happening. I’m going to say don’t pick up this title. But, to be fair, let’s look at the rating system:Story: Did I like this story? I didn’t get the whole story. This is clearly a middle chapter that doesn’t even attempt to warn or inform the reader that it is such. No, I did not enjoy this story. Grant Morrison’s writing is weird and confusing, and he tells things he should show. No point awarded. Art:… Yeah , I guess. Rags Morales does a good enough job. It didn’t wow me and I didn’t care for the way he drew Lex, but it seems okay. Sure. Point.New Reader: As a new reader, do I understand this? HELL NO. As said above, this story is new readersodomy. Comic Publishers wonder why they can’t get new readers? This be why. No point. Old Reader: Does my prior knowledge of comics/Superman allow this issue to be read enjoyably? No, because DC threw out everything I know about Superman! I’m not one of those that are going to complain about the reboot, but if you’re going to reboot you’re going to alienate your existing audience. And if you hire a horrible writer, you’re going to alienate your new audience. Congratulations, DC, on managing to create a comic suitable for NO ONE. No point. Self-Contained: Does it force you to have read/ read other issues in order to understand it? If so it doesn’t get this point. Spoiler: It does not get this point. Not only is the story not contained I cannot really understand what is happening.Faithful to Concept: I guess? Sure? There’s nothing in here that screams “Anti-Superman” or anything. Okay, point. Pacing!: No point. The pacing is garbage, and was clearly going to be garbage when the first things said when proceeded by an ellipses.Dialog: I guess the dialog was okay. Actually, the dialog is good. And what little information I did learn came from the dialog. Okay, Ill give the point. The Fun! Factor: This was not fun to read. When I want to give up half way through it is not fun. NO POINT. The X-Factor: This one is purely my discretion, and it will come as no surprise that I award NO POINT. So final score for Action Comics #7 is 3/10, or 30%. Anything below 50 in my books is a straight-up don’t bother reading this. If a comic fails more than it succeeds, it’s not trying hard enough.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
“Anything below 50 in my books is a straight-up don’t bother reading this. If a comic fails more than it succeeds, it’s not trying hard enough.”