Thursday, 2 February 2012

Review: Action Comics #6

Action Comics #6 By Morrison / Kubert 

With Superman's iconic origin story having been the subject of countless re-imaginings and retellings over the years, perhaps one of the biggest problems facing Grant Morrison with this story is making it interesting all over again. Morrison's telling of it is certainly done in an unconventional way - this two parter has somewhat awkwardly cut into a quietly impressive four issues of the rebooted title, tying in the present day Superman using time travel. Morrison's approach is understandable, beginning such a hotly anticipated run with such an iconic story would run the risk of being both dull and predictable Although the conclusion of this two parter could hardly be accused of either, it is far from a resounding success.

Oddly for a writer so famed for his high concept stories, it is with the plot that Morrison falters here. Several of the elements featured are highly engaging - the introduction of the Legion of Superheroes and and some of the Man of Steel's most spectacular foes making appearance to name but two. Unfortunately none of the ideas in this issue are given adequate breathing space and come across as overly confusing, despite being well rendered throughout. Andy Kubert's dynamic artwork and Morrison's solid script lend the issue its status as a real page turner, but it's difficult to shake a feeling of vague disappointment at the action that unfolds.

It is with the emotional beats and characterisation that Morrison excels, somewhat surprising given his reputation. Clark's relationship with his 'parents' is impressively realised despite limited panel time. It seems a shame that their interactions were not given higher priority, however overdone their relationship might be.

While on a technical level there is a lot to like about this issue, the result is frustratingly less than the sum of its parts. Perhaps the story would have been more satisfying if given a longer running time, or if it had not interrupted an opening arc that had begun to build some impressive momentum. In any case, this issue is an entertaining read with a strong emotional core, helped along by a solid, if brief back up by Sholly Fisch and ChrisCross.


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