Saturday, September 10, 2011

Review Action comics #1 and Stormwatch #1

So...It's been a while  I did one of these, and with the DC reboot just starting, this seemed as good as time as any to get back on the reviewing horse-Let's start with With...
Grant Morrison, who wrote the height of Superman's career in All-Star Superman, now gives us his the start of it with Rags Morales on penciling duty.Supes' been around for about six months at the story's start, and it shows-he's not as powerful as we're used too, explosives can  hurt him, and he can't even fly yet. He's also a lot more aggressive, throwing people off of buildings and then catching them to get answers,   harkening back to the golden age, "Champion of the Oppressed/Socialist crusader" Superman back in the thirties. People's opinions about him are mixed-the police and government hate/are terrified of the guy, while middle/lower class love him.
Morrison does a great job of characterizing Clark in way that makes him likable and familiar despite his relative youth. He's an idealistic, cocky, 20-something who thinks he has the answers to all of life's problems. And I love the fact that  he's clearly enjoying himself, grinning  away like a football fan on Super Bowl Sunday as he  plays 'tag'  with the cops, actual saying "Catch me if you can!" as he leaps into the air.
Lex Luther is also showing his youth-he just isn't all that concerned with Superman yet-his just helping the government capture so he can get paid his consulting fee-it's just a job to him, not yet an obsession.  In another twist, Clark, Lois and Jimmy Olsen don't even work for the same paper yet-Clark works the Daily Star, the Planet's competitor, but the seeds of who everyone's going to be have already been planted.
        I really enjoyed this issue. Morrison clear love of the character shines through as always and Morales's art is vibrant and alive. It's a fun story in-of and of itself, and ends with an exciting cliffhanger [spoilers] where Luther manages to stun  Superman by shooting him with a bullet...train.

Now, as some of you know, Warren Ellis, comic's tecnophilia bastard sci-fi shaman,   is one favorite writers, especially  his earlier work  for Wildstorm, Stormwatch and The Authority.  Now, while I like that DC isn't letting these characters rot now that Wildstorm's gone kaput, I was a bit nervous about them integrating these products of '90s into the new DC universe (or "DCnU" as the kids these days call it), but Paul Cornell managed to make it work.
  This version of Stormwatch, instead of being a U.N. sponsored police force, has a apparently been protecting the planet from alien/superhuman threats for centuries in secret, and consider the new "super-heroes" rank amateurs. The book jumps right into the action with three plot threads-The solar powered Apollo's attempted recruitment  by Jack Hawksmoor (whose is like Aquaman, but he can talk to cities instead of fish) the projectionist ( who has an alien frontal lobe that let's her remotely access and manipulate the media) and the Martian Manhunter (who is the Martian fucking Manhunter). Meanwhile, in the Himalayas, the immortal Adam-one and Jenny Quantum (spirit of the 21st century), find an alien  Horn (as in the musical instrument), that is several miles long and apparently designed by H.G. Giger, which is in turn connected to recent aggressive actions by the moon.
Yes, that moon.
Stormwatch follows in the footsteps of it's predecessors as High-concept book (as demonstrated by the imminent attack by the fucking moon), and does that well. Despite all that I'v just describe in the last paragraph happening at a breakneck pace, you never fell lost. And while it doesn't focus as much on characterization as it could  due to size of the cast, you still get a generally  idea of who these people are, though that just might be my previous familiarity with the characters talking. The art is... acceptable. Their's nothing really wrong with it,  but it lacks the "pop" a book like these needs. And Midnighter's new costume is fugly -really guys, you put a spike on his chin? Is he going to stab people with his lower face? (okay that be pretty in character, I'll admit) While this is more a 'Set-up' issue, I'd still recommend it.

(And sense I can't find any more relevant  pictures from the issue itself, here's the trailer from YouTube. Enjoy)