Batman Incorporated is back and in full swing within the new 52 universe. And it now comes with 100% more Batcow!
Action Comics #1 gave us rowdy, unruly teenage Superman, a crusader for Truth, Justice and the American Way who hadn’t yet managed to learn how to temper his passions with diplomacy. And it was fascinating. Six issues into the series, and Morrison and his creative team are still finding new ways to look at the younger Superman, whether its in the simple, touching back-up feature by Sholly Fisch or in the main adventure, which finds us following an older, wiser Superman as he faces a threat to his past selves. And while neither story is perfect in this particularly-weak issue of Action Comics, I still find myself enjoying and even recommending t he book for its shameless sense of fun and the rock-solid grasp it has of its main character.
Superman is an old character, and one that some people have often had trouble relating to. Seen as the ultimate boy scout, as a man in a stable marriage who works a 9-to-5 job, teens in particular often reject him. And while other writers have played up Superman’s genuine outsider status (most brilliantly in recent years, Kurt Busiek in the fantastic and melancholy Superman: Secret Identity), few have aligned it so thoroughly with the spirit of teenage rebellion than Grant Morrison is doing in Action Comics right now. I don’t know if the audience will bite, but Morrison has envisioned a thoroughly youthful Superman, a self-righteous warrior for truth with a black-and-white view of right and wrong and the power to try and enforce change. But like we all discover eventually, change is really, really, really, really hard – even for Superman – and pushing against the status quo is a great way to make enemies.
Once of the most difficult things to accept about this relaunch is the same problem I had (and, in part, still have) with Marvel’s Ultimate Universe: why reboot things if you’re just going to keep telling the same story? Particularly in the beginning of Ultimate Spider-Man, each arc introduced and discarded a classic Spider-Man villain – where’s the fun in that? But, after going on a run through the first five or six arcs, I started to get it. It was a chance to revamp and update classic characters for a new audience, and slowly slide things in a direction we never would have predicted. Rather than jumping in blind with ideas that will be (inevitably) compared to their classic counterparts, the Ultimate Universe started slow and built up a following all its own, a rhythm unique to itself.
Just about every issue of Morrison’s All-Star Superman would probably be a good fit for this column. With the exception of the Bizarro Earth two-parter and the two issue conclusion, every issue could stand alone as a fantastic single serving Superman story. There are two stories in the book’s 12-issue run, however, that deserve special attention in this regard: “Neverending” and “Funeral in Smallville”. For now, I’ll be focusing on All-Star Superman #10, “Neverending”, but believe me, I’ll come back for the other.
While lebeau continues to give you a fantastic title-by-title breakdown of the upcoming relaunch, I’m going to take a slightly different take on things. With the full solicits revealed, release dates included, we now have a slightly better idea of what to expect come September. So I’m going to break down the solicits by release date, talk a little bit about what I’m going to get – and what I’m going to skip – and why, so you’ll have an idea of what some of the books that will definitely see coverage here will be… and which of your favorites you can heartily mock me for skipping.
So, with that brief introduction, on to week one of the solicits, otherwise known as… September 7th.
I read 21 comics in March, and these were the best.
I’m actually getting this thing out on time? It’s a Kwanzaa miracle! This is my list for the top ten stories of 2010! Woo hoo! Now, before we get to all the fun of me voicing my opinions and you disagreeing with them, I have to get a few rules out of the way.
1. These are the top ten stories/arcs/whatever. Not comic in general, not trade, but best stories (What can I say, I’m trying to be somewhat unique).
2. These are stories that ended in 2010. They could begin at any time, but as long as they concluded in 2010, they’re eligible.
3. I tried to keep the list as diverse and reader-friendly as possible. I love certain writers, but it would be boring if it was three Morrison books, two Ennis books, etc. So, a writer/artist will only appear once on the list. I tried to spread the love evenly. You will see Marvel, DC, and even Indies on this list.
Wow, with all those rules, how did I come up with a great top ten? Well, I hope I did. Anyway, let’s begin the fun!
I read 19 comics in December, and these were the best.
I read 20 comics in November, and these were the best.
I read 26 comics in October, and these were the best.
I read 28 comics in September, and these were the best.
Still incredibly late, but I will catch up soon. I read 30 comics in June, and these were the best.
So incredibly late on these, but I will catch up soon. Never fear! I read 27 comics in May, and these were the best.
Twenty-two pages fills up fast. There’s no denying that. Action sequences often eat up huge chunks of a book, and you can only fit so much dialogue on the page before it becomes cluttered, not to mention how much of the probably excellent art you’ll be covering up by doing so. So, understandably, most writers will have their stories run in arcs, getting 44, 66, 88, etc… pages to tell it. It’s not hard to see why, but the tendency to keep expanding the story is part of what makes it so rewarding when you come across a single issue that manages to not only exemplify what it is you so love about the book, but that manages to do so with an impressive economy of storytelling. One Shot is meant to take a close look at why those issues work as well as they do, the way they do.