Review: Action Comics Annual #12


Due to the arcane financial mechanics of the pull list – and the fact that I got slammed with work after last Thursday and didn’t have time to take Action off my pull as I said I would – I got stuck with this: the 5$ Action Comics Annual #12, dedicated to fleshing out the origins of two characters Rucka made me not care about at all.  Of the many books I got this week, this was the one I was most regretting having bought.  When I finally freed up some time, however, I sat down to read it and was pleasantly surprised.

Illustrated by Pere Perez, the comic has very little dialogue, instead zipping through the history of these two characters with a great deal of narration and some detailed, enjoyable art.  Going from youth to their current state and covering half-a-dozen Superman and Action Comics stories from the past three or four years, Rucka’s guided tour through the lives of these two characters is not only interesting, but it actually makes seemingly trite interactions in previous issues of Action stronger and more interesting.

I won’t say that the issue was was worth every penny – despite the extended length, $4.99 is a huge price tag – but if you’re invested in Action Comics at all, I would say that this is a must-read book that will improve the overall tone of the main narrative considerably and introduce a lot of interesting places that the book could go in the future.  Despite its excellent character-building and strong narrative, it hasn’t changed my mind about dropping Action fro the duration of the so-so “Sleepers” arc, but it does mean I’m leaving on a high-note… and it does mean that I’m willing to give the book another shot if I hear it’s picked up in the next arc.  I’m glad I’m not leaving bitter.

Grade: B+

– Calvin J Cleary


7 thoughts on “Review: Action Comics Annual #12

  1. I’m glad you read this one.

    I was just getting ready to write up my review. I really felt like it redeemed a lot of the mediocre issues that came before. I kept wondering, what if this had come out first… ?

    I guess we’ll never know, but I suspect I would have enjoyed Rucka’s run a whole lot more if I’d had this to make me care about the characters before all the fighting started.

  2. I think it redeemed a lot of the hum-drum characterization that seemed out of the blue – the attachment between Thara and Chris particularly – but it didn’t do anything to add to the “Sleeper” arc, really, at all. Which is disappointing.

    Look forward to seeing your review, then.

  3. Not sure if I’ll do a full write-up or not. Really just depends how bored I get at work :)

    While it didn’t advance the overall plot of the Sleeper arc at all, it did make me (finally!) care about these two characters. And that’s no small feat. Like I said, if this had been the first arc I think it would have change the whole flow of things. They should have given us this first to hook us and then start the other stuff.

    To some extent, every time I read Action I feel bad for Rucka. From interviews, it sounds like he agreed to write Action without knowing what he was getting into. Then Geoff Johns showed up with all the Flamebird and Nightwing stuff mapped out and left it to him to flesh it out. This Annual felt like it was Johns’ background info made into a story.

  4. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!

    And I’m the better for not reading any of this!

    Sorry, but you two keep playing comment footsie. I figured I’d get in on the action.

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