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Saturday, 10 September 2011

Action Comics #1 and Detective Comics #1

Last week, I went to Paradise Comics, in Toronto, and I was impressed. Recommended and lead there by a close friend of mine, I was lucky enough to have shown up at the 20th anniversary party, where they served, and I received, free cake! The store itself was pretty nice and was a lot better than some of the other places in Toronto to which I have been. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good places for all sorts of nerd and geek chic items, but it had been in awhile since I had been in a store dedicated to one craft. At Paradise Comics, the shelves, from floor to ceiling, were piled with comics. I didn't get a chance to investigate the entire collection, but it looked to contain a lot, even though the store itself is quite small.

Now, I went there in the first place because DC, or Detective Comics for those unfamiliar, is releasing new strains of their beloved characters. Basically, they are restarting a lot of comic series, including Batman and Superman, and many more, 52 to be exact. I was not too happy about the idea; I mean, there are way too many stories and comics, over 70 years from some of the characters I know and love, but whenever you claim to start over, it can be hard to pull off.

So, I picked up Action Comics #1, and Detective Comics #1, to see how they fared. Detective Comics #1 was not bad. It wasn't the greatest, not really sporting anything new, but nice to see Batman again, and to see him running the rooftops of Gotham chasing and "owning the night". But, it was nothing new. It was Batman, being a little too intense, I know that sounds funny, but for a single comic to have Batman say that he "owns the night" twice, and that he "is Gotham" and finally for him to actually say "I'm Batman", well, it's a little annoying. I mean, the greatest times to verbally introduce Batman, in my opinion are: just after the opening description (perhaps an overused style, especially in Batman comics); from the mouths of others, especially criminals; and finally, from Batman himself but only when it's really necessary/rare/awesome. It is far more effective for the legend to continue and propagate from others, as that gives us a sense of proportion as well as it doesn't make us think the hero is entirely megalomaniacal. Additionally, the Joker sequences push the gross boundary which didn't really bother me, but I can see how it might bother others. All in all, it was a good read, and I hope the story gets more in-depth as the series continues.

Action Comics #1 was quite fascinating. Featuring a reboot of Superman, we start the comic in the early years of Clark Kent living in Metropolis. Featuring a young, cocky, rough and tough Superman, it was interesting to note that he could not/did not fly. Aged within the demographic which most reads this type of work, Superman seems to be a reluctant hero, telling the people of Metropolis that if they kept their business in order, then he wouldn't need to be involved. It also featured a younger looking Lex Luthor setting up elaborate traps to test and ensnare "the alien". A good friend of mine actually came up with a screenplay of this very concept a few months ago, so hopefully it's with pride and not chagrin that he reads this issue. Additionally, Clark Kent, while being Jimmy Olsen's "best friend for 6 months now" also seems to work for the Daily Planet's opposing paper. I thought this was an interesting twist on the Lois Lane angle; instead of stealing her story and working alongside her, Clark works against her, stealing her stories (and maybe later her heart?). Finally, they seem to have really humanized Superman. Instead of being the paragon of lawful goodness, spouting dogma and being seemingly blind to the actual inhabitants of the world, Superman seems to be trying to help, but realizing that he shouldn't be doing it alone. Also, and this was a small part, Superman/Clark actually shows the effects of fighting crime. When his landlady seems Clark after a day of saving people and fighting crime, she asks him what's wrong with his face, saying he looks quite beat up. Clark quickly, and quite adeptly says that he got tossed around while writing a story on waterfront crime by the docks. Some may like the Superman that never lies, but it wouldn't really work that way, and the most powerful person on the planet should not buckle and sweat over a cover story. All in all, the art style was good, the story was a great start to a series, and the stance of Superman was superb. I really look forward to reading more and might even get a subscription!

Keep on the lookout, if you're interested, in the new works being released in the next coming weeks, and I'll be there to review the ones I choose to read.

1 comment:

  1. Batman sounds boring, but that actually sounds like a really cool version of Superman. I'll have to read it sometime.