I've been a Rags Morales fan since his days on JSA and Hawkman and while it may be hyperbolic for me to say that this is the best work of his career, I'll stand behind the statement. Morales is a highly underrated storyteller and it's amazing how much action and character he can put into a single page. Here we see Clark Kent, pushing himself past limits he's never dared consider, attempting to leap off of the Earth itself in pursuit of the alien menace that just stole an entire part of the city of Metrpolis. Does he stop to marvel at the sheer wonder of what he's just done? Does he pause to gaze at the astonishing beauty around him?
No. His focus remains upon his target and finding the foothold he needs to get there. Without a single word of dialogue to assist him, Rags Morales has conveyed the essence of Superman as a character and showcased his greatest power in one page. It isn't flight or super strength or heat vision - it's his selflessness.
This core idea - that Superman's greatest power is his truly selfless nature - was at the core of another great Superman series, All-Star Superman. Not surprisingly, both that mini-series and this book are written by Grant Morrison, who has a fair bit of experience writing Superman and being an amazing writer in general. What is surprising, however, is that despite his time and experience writing Superman, Morrison still finds new things to say with the character and new ways of looking at the classic mythos.
As I noted in my earlier review of the Action Comics series, Morrison has managed the amazing trick of retelling the Superman origin story while still making it seem entirely new and exciting, despite working with the exact same props and characters. For instance, it was not much of a surprise that the electronic alien menace that stole part of Metropolis was the classic Superman baddie Braniac. What was a surprise (and a very amusing one, in my opinion) was Morrison's depiction of this robotic A.I. as less of a super-intelligent genius and more of an obsessive collector - a personality I'm sure most comic readers are familiar with.
That is but one surprise of many that has been sprung upon we readers within the past two issues. I shan't tell you of exactly how Brainiac came to Earth, the origins of Superman's new costume or the identity of Clark Kent's mysterious informant. Why? Because I want you to have the treat of discovering these mysteries and more for yourself. The collected edition isn't due out until August, so if you can't wait for a nicely bound edition, I'd suggest checking the on-line stores for a digital copy.. You'll be glad you did.