Monday, September 12, 2011

Old is New Again

My favorite comic of the relaunch so far? No contest: it's Action Comics #1

What we're seeing here is a real return to a character's roots. We're always hearing writers say they are taking so and so back to his or her roots by stripping away their supporting characters or wiping their memories of whatever.

But Grant Morrison is really doing it. He's taken us back to the Superman of the 1930's. How exactly has he done that? By giving us the Superman of the 2010's.

This is a Superman who is fed up with the establishment. He doesn't care what the corrupt cops or greedy businessmen say or do. He's going to take them out because it's the right thing to do. It highly effective during the Great Depression when people were losing their jobs and homes while the rich and powerful walked away with bags full of money. And it's equally effective during the "Great Recession" where people are losing their jobs and homes while the rich and powerful walk away with bags full of money.

So who are the villains? In this Action Comics #1 the villains are the establishment. Superman doesn't fight to defend the bullies and the crooks. He fights to defend the little guy, the person who -- and this is key -- has nobody else standing up for him.

This was at the heart of Superman in the beginning and I'm glad to see it back. We hear that woman cried every night because she was being beaten by her husband. What did Superman do? He did what nobody else would. Neighbors probably heard her crying. The cops probably knew what was going on. But nobody did anything. Not because they couldn't but because they wouldn't.

But Superman can. And more importantly he does. He's not invincible, this Superman. But that doesn't mean he's afraid. He stands up for the oppressed and forgotten. The never-ending battle continues.

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3 Comments:

At 3:44 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

I picked up Action Comics, with a certain amount of trepidation. I like Superman and all, but he's not my favorite, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect...and oh, it was SO good.

I liked this a whole heckuva lot more than I thought that I would.

 
At 2:21 PM, Blogger Swellsman said...

Hell, yes! Those early, early Superman stories -- when he was leveling slums, etc. -- rocked. So much more interesting than efforts merely to maintain the status quo . . . which, let's face it, is pretty much what every Superman story involving a classic villain really boiled down to.

Let's hope Supes goes after banks trying to foreclose on mortgages they don't really own next.

 
At 9:07 PM, Anonymous Accursed Interloper said...

1/ Most of the time, in this story, Supey's eyes are all infra-red-hot, which you know what? I bet that makes it hard to look at him, right in the face, even for a second. All by itself, that would go a long way towards explaining the age-old riddle of nobody noticing that he looks just like Clark Kent.
2/ The second thing I notice is that this comic that I just read is already 2.5 weeks old, so I could already easily be the last reader in the blogoverse to notice or point that out. Sigh.

 

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