Grant Morrison and Rags Morales hit it out of the park with Action Comics #12. This issue goes from 0-60 from page one, and doesn’t slow down, even to the last page. Morales’ art is phenomenal and kinetic, and Morrison seems to finally be giving us faithful readers the answers to some big questions we’ve had from the last few issues. The biggest one being: who is this new shadowy character whose name is apparently “Adam”? Well, in issue #12 the mystery man is finally revealed.
Blake is also revealed to be the “forgotten Superman” hinted about in previous issues – the super-powered being that newspapers in Smallville talked about, all dated before Clark Kent was even in the picture. Adam Blake was born as a meteorite slammed into Smallville, causing the child to mutate which imbued him with incredible psychic powers. Saved by hyper-dimenisional beings known as the “Oort-Kind,” Captain Comet is now “scouring the cosmos” along with the Oort-Kind searching for what he calls “neo-sapiens” – advanced beings like Captain Comet himself and Lois Lane’s niece Susie. When Superman asks Comet why he and the Oort-kind want these “neo-sapiens,” the Oorts reply: “For make strong warrior.” This is probably another Morrison easter egg foreshadowing some villain in the near future of Action Comics, but only time will tell. Superman refuses to let Comet and his creepy Oort-Kind take Susie, and to make matters worse, Lois is slowly dying, slammed into a car’s windshield without a thought by Captain Comet. It would be an understatement to say that Superman is not happy – the hero is downright belligerent. What follows is an incredibly epic, destructive fight that is a blast to read. Superman and Comet hurl cars at each other and pound each other mercilessly into the pavement, up until the point that a defeated Captain Comet is whisked away – along with his Oort-Kind – to his orbiting spaceship, leaving Superman to take care of Lois.
While the beat-down scenes between Supes and Comet are nothing short of awesome, what really makes Action Comics #12 is what I would call the “little moments.” Morrison has placed these ingenious little nuggets throughout, almost giving the issue a living, breathing life of its own. Moments like the hallucination Superman has on the very first page of the issue, with him and Lois getting married; the moment when two fireman buddies of “Johnny Clark” discover their friend’s fireman helmet, believing him to be dead; the moment when Superman takes over surgery on Lois Lane to save her life, after reading ALL the medical books in a split second; or the moment Mrs. N reveals her true nature as a being of a higher mathematical dimension and lover of Mr. Mxyzptlk. But perhaps my favorite “little moment” is the moment Batman enters the room where Superman is changing into his Clark Kent/Johnny Clark attire. This scene is perfect for two reasons: One, Batman’s line about Metropolis having “too much space between the buildings” that it’s “disorienting” is just brilliant; and two, Batman reveals to Superman that he needs to bring back his Clark Kent alter ego, because, according to Batman, Clark Kent actually made a difference in the lives of those around him. Because, Batman says, “The world needs all the heroes it can get.”
So if you’ve been a fan of Grant Morrison’s Action Comics, and have been following the series regularly – even through some of the more choppy, confusing issues – then you need to pick up issue #12. Not only does it answer some questions from previous issues, but it also is a perfect Superman comic in every way: intense, intriguing, epic, and full of heart.