Review: Action Comics #15
“Superman at the End of Days”
Published by DC Comics
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Brad Walker and Rags Morales
Coloured by Brad Anderson
“For My Next Trick”
Written by Sholly Fisch
Art by Chris Sprouse
Coloured by Jordie Bellaire
Clark is getting ready to go to prom with Lana while Pa is fixing a vehicle, which happens to belong to Vyndktvx (that is a real pain in the ass to type so I’m just going to put Vynd now). Ms. Nyxly is telling him a story of things that are to be, but yet already were. An image depicts the death of Clark’s parents in a car accident, which appears to be because of the involvement of Vynd. Flash forward and Superman is fleeing from some pursuers under red sunlight. His pursuers are made up of various individuals and things that have encountered him in the past. Back to the present, Superman senses that something is not right around him and then he shares a drink with Ms. Nyxly, despite his protests about not drinking. She then tells Superman about life in the 5th dimension where she was a princess and someone named Mxyzptlk entertained her father the king much to the chagrin of Vynd. It is then revealed that she and Mxyzptlk had a romantic relationship and that Superman was his favorite trick because he always outsmarted Mxyzptlk. Back to the future and Superman is fighting his enemies once again with his diminishing powers. Superman then travels to a safe place in order to call different sources of potential help. It was revealed that due to a miscalculation, Vynd misuses a weapon called the Multispear. Superman then recalls facing off against the Multitude, which has had some repercussions for him with relation to Vynd. Flashback and Clark is preparing to get to first base with Lana at the prom, but it is stopped by the police who deliver some devastating news to Clark. Ms. Nyxly then talks about her recent life and her three wishes and then things get ugly. Superman from three different times is faced by the same enemy, but is attacked in different ways. The back-up story deals with Mxyzptlk and his greatest trick. He entertains the king and courts his daughter. It then shows the accident that creates the crisis for Ms. Nyxly and then it shows yet another miscalculation on Vynd’s part. Ms. Nyxly and Mxyzptlk are able to share a life on earth and then it is revealed what his greatest trick is. Ms. Nyxly then mentions what she hopes his greatest trick shall yet be.
Well then. This title has been both easy and difficult to read in terms of comprehension. Some people don’t take to some of his stories because they are so abstract and then when he does a more linear superhero story, other people take issue with it. Action Comics 1 was an example of some people not liking it because they thought it could’ve been more and it was basically too straightforward. I personally liked it a lot and I didn’t mind taking a break from the unordinary ordinary that is Morrison’s concepts. This issue was somewhat typical of Morrison’s storytelling as it was very abstract, utilized otherworldly terminology, and relied upon strong bizarre imagery. I liked how Ms. Nyxly’s backstory was elaborated upon finally and it contained an interesting backstory. I also enjoyed the take on Mxyzptlk in the DC 52 as he is a creature with no malice. It’s not like he was malicious prior to the reboot, but his enjoyment of Superman gave me a different take on him. He was actually a character that just annoyed me prior to the reboot and was never a character that I cared for. However, I enjoyed his story in this issue and I liked how it all tied into the Multitude from last issue. I want to see what role Mxyzptlk’s greatest trick plays. If you sit back and just enjoy the ride then this story is a lot of fun. The visual differences between the 5th dimension and Earth actually made the story easier to follow. The art was consistent and it helped to tell a complex story, which is no easy feat. The language and manner of speaking that Ms. Nyxly uses to tell the story of the 5th dimension also made the story seem more unique to that world. I really want to see this fighting turtle in action. This issue is bizarre through and through, but a lot of thought and effort went into creating it. I’m definitely coming back next issue to see what happens.
I hope that Mr. and Mrs. Kent’s deaths are somehow reverted to not involving Vynd. If it is told this way for the sake of this particular story then that’s fine, but if this is canon for the DC 52 continuity…I’m not a fan at all. I wasn’t really that big on them not dying early on in the reboot, but to have their death come as a result of a magical imp…yeah no. The one panel with Lana smiling up at Clark didn’t look too good. She looked a little too homely, especially considering that Clark was ready to get to first base with her. I hope that Ms. Nyxly has an extra trick up her sleeve because otherwise what’s the point of having foresight? Speaking of her, so it seems that she’s only 60 years old? It must have been a long 60 years. I hope that Vynd isn’t a recurring villain as I find him really annoying.
Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf Read It, or Ignore It?
Buy It…if you’re a fan of Grant Morrison’s writing. I’ve both liked and disliked some of his stuff over the years. If you’re unfamiliar with his storytelling then I’d recommend you to Borrow It to see if this is for you. He’s gone to some great lengths in order to really tie everything together into a big story. It’s not a straightforward story and there are some silver age elements that I do find endearing about this story. I’m enjoying this story, but I definitely know that this is not for everyone. Superman has always been the character caught up in bigger than life conflicts that require much more than brute force to overcome.