The Superman from 5 years in the future has traveled to the past with the help of the Legion of Superheroes, to face a threat to the Man of Steels origins. Who are the K-men and what did they take from the rocket ship that brought baby Kal-EL to Earth?
The breakneck pace of Grant Morrison’s run on ACTION COMICS continues as the Superman of the present day must team up with suspiciously different versions of the Legion of Super-Heroes to save the jeans-wearing Superman of five years ago! Whose hand is that on the cover? Why, the leader of the Anti-Superman Army, of course!
Plus, a backup by Sholly Fisch and ChrisCross that spins directly out of the lead story!”
Time travel stories make my head hurt normally, and I have to say this one in particular bothered me. The whole issue you are following the Superman of 5 years in the future. We learn a lot about his past through him. My problem with that is that a lot of what was said hasn’t happened yet, so this felt almost like a spoiler issue. We find out that Superman of Action Comics does in fact get a Fortress Of Solitude, except that its actually a satellite station, and we can expect this to happen during or after the mentioned Terminaut Invasion. I swear every few panels I felt like I missed an issue or a story in some other book.
We also learn about the types of Kryptonite the New 52 has to offer, which are the kind you’d expect to find, except for the ways they affect Superman. The K-Men in fact have Kryptonite abilities, all varying in color. I wonder why then would they have to travel to the past and steal more Kryptonite in order to kill Superman. You would think they have that kind of power already.
Which brings me to my next issue with this… issue. The Legion of Super-Heroes are with Superman for this adventure, and with them come new aspects of Superman’s origin. We get a peek back at Superman’s memory, growing up on the farm, and meeting the Legion for the first time. Although it’s never made clear if this was something he was just now remembering or something even the younger Action Comics, jeans and t-shirt Superman remembers. We also learn about Tesseracts, a dimensional storage space introduced to DC Comics in the past, but this is the first time mentioned or used since the relaunch.
It’s a convenient plot device to use; I just do not like how they used it in this issue. The villains actually are inside a lead shielded one…. that was shot into Superman’s brain, using a “Teleport Rifle”. So the Kryptonite-engine-stealing slash Kryptonite-powered-villains are hanging out in Superman’s brain…and it is up the The Legion to go in and stop them.
That is just the major plot point that I find weird, there is conflict before that at the satellite Fortress of Solitude. The way it is talked about, Superman is supposed to know this villain, yet I haven’t read about him before. So either I missed something or it’s something else that hasn’t happened yet. This is whom they find the location of the villains from.
By the end of the issue, The Legion faces off with the K-Men and we see Superman nearly die from Kryptonite poisoning. He somehow knows that because he is radiating Kryptonite he can use that to save his rocket ship.
Which is the whole reason this is all so important. Apparently if that ship shuts down, the earth will die and something called the Collector will reboot. Interesting, yes, but moreso frustrating because you just can’t tell what you should know about already and what hasn’t happened yet. I feel sorry for the new readers who pick up this issue. I also feel sorry for the people who read Action Comics and not Superman, you will think that maybe these plot points are coming from there (like I did, since I’m not all caught up with Superman)
My conclusion is it was a bad decision to tell this kind of story so early in Action Comics. I was very happy with issues 1 through 5 and felt like this was a huge departure in all ways from those. It is nice to see that the Legion and Superman part of the origin is still in place, however I feel like it could have been done much better. Grant Morrison may have let me down with this issue but I’ll be back next month in hopes it picks back up where it should be, in the present…. or past, as it is actually. My point is please no more time travel; let’s get to the present one step at a time.
Written by GRANT MORRISON ; Backup story written by SHOLLY FISCH; Art by ANDY KUBERT and JESSE DELPERDANG; Backup story art by CHRISCROSS; Cover by ANDY KUBERT; Variant cover by RAGS MORALES; 1:200 B&W Variant cover by ANDY KUBERT