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Mortal Engines (December 22, 2018)

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Top Of The Pile: Action Comics #1000


Celebrating 80 years of The Man Of Steel, Action Comics #1000 is a great read, a love letter to the iconic superhero and a thank you to his fans.

Featuring 10 stories from the cream of DC's writing pool, many of the stories focus on the inspirational power of Superman (as highlighted in Brett Culp's documentary Look To The Sky).

For the most part these tales are about more than putting something large in front of Superman for him to punch.

They are emotional and poignant, dealing with the character's humanity, his history, and the broad range of his rogue's gallery - from reality-warping powers of Mister Mxyzptlk to an angry man with a gun.

These stories prove why Superman is the hero other heroes look up to and why the character is still important today.

Action Comics #1000 is almost the perfect Superman book. For the most part it reinforces everything I love about the character. And it shows how, in the hands of smart writers, even a character with near godlike powers can demonstrate humanity and still have the power to surprise.

However, rather worryingly, the weakest part of the issue is the final story - a prologue from incoming Superman writer Brian Michael Bendis for his upcoming run on the book.

Compared to the other inventive tales in Action Comics #1000, The Truth (illustrated by Jim Lee) feels clichéd and shows signs of some of Bendis's worst traits (e.g. a pair of civilians bantering excessively in the middle of a life-threatening super-powered slugfest).

And, if you're going to start off with the "greatest threat Superman has ever faced" - where do you go from there?

Hopefully, I'm just being overly critical and his much heralded arrival on the Superman titles (Bendis Is Coming!) will bring a fresh new take on the 80-year-old character as well a horde of his loyal Marvel zombies (as long as he doesn't drive away long-time DC readers in the process).

8 comments:

  1. I rolled my eyes at that lazy cliffhanger. Messing with the origin is something that should be deserved after a writer has been on a character for a while and has earned it, not the 'shocking' starting point. It's the sort of stuff that gets retconned away a few years later.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Couldn’t agree more. I’m hoping that it’s a case of a villain making a claim that’s simply not true.

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    2. And one has to wonder how that will fit with Jor-El supposedly being back... It's a mess even if it isn't him because then where is Bendis' story set in regards to Doomsday Clock? Argh.

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    3. I know. It makes my brain ache. I hope they haven't been so "awed" by snagging Bendis that he's been given carte blanche to totally rewrite Superman's continuity.

      Delete
  2. Yeah, it feels like they're double-dipping into the origin with both recent 'twists' and thus making the origin less impactful/dramatic and more convoluted. Not to mention Earth One already explored something along those lines in a continuity where such a story belongs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a growing fad in geeky media these days, rather than to move the story forward, 'creators' opt to try and backfill the origin story with unnecessary prequels and reimaginings. This is especially egregious when it comes to a story as iconic and set in stone as the origin of Superman!

      Delete
    2. And it gets worse and worse as the changes pile up on top of each other! I actually look to Morrison and Scott Snyder as good examples of how to add something to the origin without making that addition 'essential'. In other words, future writers can easily overlook them or address them if they want. And if Krypton was destryed by someone it shuld be by someone established like Brainiac for example, bot bs a way to artificially give importance to a new villain created by the writer messing with the origin.

      Delete
    3. My hope is that this villain - whose name I've forgotten already - is bullshitting and taking credit for something he didn't actually do ;)

      Delete

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