As much as I enjoyed the previous two issues, reading “Action Comics” #7 makes me wish we hadn’t had a break in the series’ storyline. There’s a certain amount of momentum lost and as a result the overall impact and excitement for this specific chapter is distinctly lessened. In a collected format, it won’t be a problem but for now, some of the punch is gone.
Still, “Action Comics” #7 is a good comic. Watching the evolution of Superman’s powers is entertaining; seeing his pursuit of the departing spaceship is perfectly written, both in Superman’s attitude as well as just how he uses his abilities to achieve orbit. Grant Morrison has a strong handle on young Superman, puzzling not only over the dreaded Collector of Worlds but also being directly confronted with more information from his earliest days on Krypton. It’s a thread Morrison has woven throughout his run on “Action Comics,” and seeing both Metropolis and Kandor in front of him is a great “what decision shall he make?” moment, even though savvy readers already know that Metropolis will survive.
Morrison also has fun detailing the lives of those trapped inside the bottle city of Metropolis. Any story where Lex Luthor, Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane all walk into a bar makes you half-expect a punch line to be just around the corner, but instead we get a series of strong interactions between them and the rest of the supporting cast. Lex Luthor in particular shines here; his combination of boredom and aloofness sets him apart from the rest of the character and sets up well the moment when Luthor discovers just what you get when you deal with the devil.
Rags Morales draws a rough-hewn Superman and company; with his mussed hair and fraying outfit, it’s a nice contrast between Superman at the earliest point in his career and the present day. He provides a lot of energy for those first few pages with Superman rocketing after the departing colony ship, and his facial expressions as he pokes around the ship and then finds the bottled city specimens are great. I do wish the final reveal of the Collector of Worlds looked a little more imposing, though. The layout of the Collector and Superman comes across as more awkward than jaw-dropping, and we need a more powerful image next month to help establish the Collector as a dangerous threat.
This month’s back-up feature by Sholly Fisch and Brad Walker is fine, too. I like how Fisch writes Steel; very calm and collected and seeing his niece Natasha is always a good sign. Hopefully in future issues we’ll get a bit more of Natasha and perhaps establish her intelligence and drive we had pre-“Flashpoint.” It doesn’t add much to the overall story as a whole, but seeing Steel being used is a good thing for the DC Universe as a whole. Of course, Walker’s art is handsome as ever; I’m always down on seeing new pages from him.
“Action Comics” #7 is a good comic, but in some ways it feels like the story relies a bit on having just read the events of “Action Comics” #4. Still, as said before, it’s going to work much better in the collected edition. By the end of the issue, we’re all well-primed for what’s to come in the next. The new “Superman” creative team gets to prove itself later this month, but regardless, I’m overall pleased with what Morrison and Morales are doing with Superman here.