A Dummy’s Guide to DC Comics’ “New 52” Superman Titles**
**SPECIAL MEA CULPA EDITION FORWARD**
Many of you have no doubt already read this Dummy’s Guide, and some of you have already responded to my saying Action Comics is not worth your time or money. I have taken your opinions to heart, as well as the opinions of a whole host of other comic lovers: Grant Morrison’s run on Action Comics is being hailed as nothing short of great. I began to think that maybe I was missing something, so I decided to re-read all the issues (#1-12) and see if my harsh judgment of the series was unfounded or not. After re-reading the issues, I must say mea culpa. Morrison’s Action Comics run is well-written and does a great job of bringing Superman back to his roots and exploring his early years as a superhero. However, it’s not a perfect series: some of his issues are pretty choppy and at times don’t make sense. But, that’s not every issue, and overall, Action Comics has been great. Those of you who were displeased with my summation of the series will be happy to note that I even went so far as to pick up the hardcover collection of Superman: Action Comics: Superman & The Men of Steel which was released this week (August 1st, 2012). I still, however, stand behind my opinion that overall, SUPERMAN has been a consistently well-written series, and has been doing a great job of following the Big Blue Boy Scout’s adult years. I would go so far as to say that Action Comics and Superman are definitely tied for best Superman titles. Please note that I have rearranged the following Dummy’s Guide and wrote a new snippet for Action Comics. Thanks for reading!
Greetings, citizens! After the warm reception my last article – “A Dummy’s Guide to DC Comics’ ‘New 52’ Batman Titles” – a couple of you dear readers asked if there would be “A Dummy’s Guide” for DC’s new Superman titles as well. You all asked so nicely – how could I possibly say no! So without further ado, I present to you another guide to help you know which DC Comics’ titles are worth your time AND money:
A Dummy’s Guide to DC Comics’ “New 52” Superman Titles
As with the Dummy’s Guide to Batman article, I will work my way from what is, in my opinion, the worst of the titles to what is – again, in my opinion – the best of the titles.
The “New 52” Supergirl series, although it really has nothing to do with Superman (she crossed over briefly in the first couple issues of Superman, but that’s about it), is actually not that bad. It saddens me that I have to say it’s actually better than Grant Morrison’s Action Comics, but it’s true. This series follows a young Kara Zor-El who arrives to the same planet her cousin did, but apparently she can’t speak – or understand – our language yet, which makes things a bit complicated. Thankfully, she’s made friends with Irish siblings, one of whom has some magical abilities and can speak Kryptonian as well as help Kara begin to learn our language. This makes for interesting character interactions and plot points, but other than the awesome art by Mahmud Asrar, Supergirl is just “kinda okay” as a series. Final Verdict: While Supergirl is superbly drawn and presents an interesting take on the character as she struggles to adapt to Earth, the series is somewhat “dry”. I’d say save your time and money, unless you’re really an avid Supergirl fan.
If you’re looking for a truly enjoyable comic, Superboy is just the series for you. This “New 52” version of Kon-El, the Superman clone grown from a test-tube, is rebellious, impetuous, cynical, and an all-around interesting character. Scott Lobdell and Tom DeFalco are doing a great job writing this character and this series. It’s filled with great, snappy dialogue and big, brutal fights that the disenchanted teenage wannabe superhero in all of us will love. Using the fact that Kon-El was born in a test-tube to make him a true outsider in every sense of the word was a genius move – there are some things he just doesn’t get, for instance, like that it’s wrong to “borrow” (read: rob) money from a bank just because you’re powerful enough to get away with it. He is also struggling with his identity as a hero in the Teen Titans and on his own – and what it means to wear the “S” symbol that “that other guy” wears. Also, the art is great and Superboy’s new suit design is wicked cool – think Superman by way of Tron: Legacy. As a fan of Jeff Lemire’s run on Superboy as well as Geoff John’s work with the character, I’d go so far as to say that Lobdell and DeFalco’s version of Kon-El is my favorite thus far, as this series has drawn me in and appealed to me like none of the others have. Final Verdict: It may not be about Superman, but DC Comics’ “New 52” version of Superboy is a fun, wildly entertaining series with great art and great writing. Definitely worth picking up!
3. ACTION COMICS
After re-reading through all the recent issues of Grant Morrison’s current Action Comics run, I have decided my initial reaction to the series and hasty dismissal of it as “poorly written” was indeed unfounded: Action Comics is a great Superman title. Morrison has made it clear from issue #1 that he is bringing Superman back to his roots – an all-too-human superhero for the people. Morrison’s Superman is still somewhat unsure of his powers and actually physically struggles when, say, a wrecking ball is thrown at him. He is a Superman who sweats, bleeds, and is looking for direction, and for those of us Superman fans who have felt he’s become the perfect superhero who doesn’t really struggle with anything or break a sweat, this is a Superman we’ve been wanting to see for a long time. Whereas DC’s other Superman title follows the hero during his later years, Action Comics is a great exploration of Superman’s early years – a Superman coming into his own as a hero, and as a person. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Morrison’s Action Comics is a perfect series – it still has some choppy moments, like Morrison just has too many ideas and jumps onto each idea as it comes instead of finishing his thoughts – but it is a great and enjoyable read. It truly adds depth to the Superman legend. Final Verdict: Definitely worth your time and your money. Pick this up! Grant Morrison’s Action Comics presents a more down-to-earth look at Superman/Clark Kent’s early years in Metropolis, and despite some choppy moments, it is an incredible read. I would recommend picking up Action Comics along with Superman to get a picture of Supes’ past and his present.
The “New 52” Superman series has been a blast since issue #1. The Man of Steel is more physical than ever before – he’s breaking a sweat, even bleeding at points – which is something Superman fans have been wanting for a long time. Over the years, Supes had become too impervious to harm, to the point that he became boring: since nothing could hurt Superman, you always knew he was going to win, and thus, every conflict became less interesting. Thankfully, George Perez (in an incredible run on Superman issues 1-6), and now Dan Jurgens have brought Old Blue back to his former, heart-pounding, page-turning glory. The fights are better than ever before, the character is deeper and more well-rounded than ever before. And in a world that needs Superman more than ever before, this series goes on to prove why Superman truly is the greatest superhero of all time. If you are looking for an intense, thought-provoking, and respectfully modern take on the Man of Tomorrow, Superman is the series for you. Final Verdict: I can’t recommend Superman highly enough; it’s one of the most fun, well-written comics on the market right now, as well as one of the best portrayals of Superman I’ve seen in a long time. GO GET IT!
That’s it for now my fellow comic enthusiasts. If any of you have any questions or comments, please share them – they are important! Check back soon for “A Dummy’s Guide to DC Comics’ ‘New 52’ Green Lantern Titles,” which will hopefully be of use to those who you who are big fans of the Emerald Warrior but don’t know where to start. Until then, rock on!