Action Comics #17

by Andrew Sadowski on February 22, 2013

Originally meant as the final issue in Grant Morrison's Action Comics run, Action Comics #17 bides some time for the new ending set to happen in issue 18.  Issue 17 feels almost like a deleted scenes reel, as we see the various times the central villain has meddled in Superman's life over the years. Framed against Superman's battle against an alternate universe counterpart, the entire issue feels extremely disjointed. The journey through time is hardly meaningful or revelatory. We know the villain is the villain already, and his interactions really don't make him seem any more devious or make him any more compelling. While the fight scene is arguable the strongest part of the main story, it's never really been Morrison's forte and the art is very flat. Colors are sort of plain, like something very easily whipped up in Photoshop and doesn't really bring any special to the table.


While Morrison's run has been filled with a few hits, it has a lot more misses, and #17 is the latter. With only one month left, it's hard to see how this sinking ship can be saved. It's not that stories have been garbage; they just don't feel like anything meaningful is being added to the Superman mythos. It almost feels like Morrison used up all his creative juices for the character on All-Star Superman, something just feels missing from Action Comics.

However, the back-up feature by Sholly Fisch is the best part of the issue, as it has been with every previous installment of the series. Fisch's story is set on Clark's prom night and features a very real feeling interaction between Clark Kent and his father. There's a really nice twist to it that you'll have to see for yourself, one that can excite you for the next issue. It's beyond me why Fisch won't be graduating to the main writer of the book come Morrison's departure, as he has an amazing handle on Superman and humanizes him in a great way. His characterization is young and brash with a sense of trepidation but without making Superman seem immensely immature. Fisch's character work with the series has a lot of heart to it, and I think I'll be more sad to see him go than Morrison. 

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