DC released a special collection of classic stories from Action Comics to celebrate its milestone 1000th issue. I thought I’d look at it and review each comic and article.
- “The Coming of Superman”–The first Superman story, where he can’t fly. It’s OK, for what it is. But I prefer a Superman who’s not as brazen with his powers.
- “The Mystery of the Freight Train Robberies”–Action Comics #1 didn’t see the debut of just Superman, but also Zatarra, father of Zatanna. I like Zatanna better because she doesn’t have the “Mandrake the Magician” rip-off feel to her stories.
- “Revolution in San Monte”–I still say I’m glad other people came on after Jerry Siegel and wrote a nicer version of Superman.
- “The Times”, a commentary by Tom DeHaven, a Creative Writing professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. He gets some points docked for scoffing at Supergirl.
- “The Origin of the Vigilante”–I’ve never understood why the Vigilante is a thing. He’s just your average cowboy crimefighter.
- “The Terrible Toyman!”–Toyman was a big deal in the Pre-Crisis days of Superman. Nowadays, not so much. In fact, I think the current version isn’t even a criminal anymore. Still, he’s actually not a bad villain here, for Golden Age style storytelling anyway.
- “How I Saved Superman”–Marv Wolfman talks about his tenure on Superman, a run I’m not familiar with. I knew Wolfman more from New Teen Titans and Crisis on Infinite Earths.
- “Too Many Heroes”–An unpublished story from 1945. Superman imposters ruin the real deal’s reputation. Not bad.
- “Clark Kent, Reporter”–David Hajdu talks about Superman’s alter ego, and how he’s just as impressive when he’s wearing glasses.
- “The Super-Key to Fort Superman”–The first appearance of the Fortress of Solitude. So glad they didn’t keep the original name. This starts the Silver Age section, and it’s pretty good. I love how he’s got stuff in it to pass on to his friends when he dies.
- “The Super Duel In Space”–Brainiac makes his first appearance! Loved this one! He’s one of my favorite villains.
- “The Supergirl from Krypton!”–Supergirl meets her cousin. I like that they found a good loophole by having her live on another planet before landing on Earth. I’ve always liked her because I like the fact that she constantly lives in her cousin’s shadow.
- “Endurance”–Larry Tye contemplates how Superman is relatable even with his god-like status.
- “The World’s Greatest Heroine”–Superman reveals Supergirl to the world, including her foster family. I like the part where the Legion of Superheroes shows up at the end and makes sure they don’t ruin the surprise for her until they meet her again and she already knows.
- “The Infinite Monster”–Supergirl gets a solo story! She fights a giant monster. It’s not bad.
- “The Assassin-Express Contract”–The Human Target’s debut. I really don’t get this “Oh by the way, here’s some stories that have nothing to do with Superman, but they were in his comic” idea. But at least we get some nice Carmine Infantino art
17. “Superman Takes A Wife”–A story of the Earth-2 version of Superman, so we don’t mess with the “real” continuity. I never had a problem with the alternate continuities, but at least these days, they’re much easier to follow. The Bronze Age starts here.
18. “If Superman Didn’t Exist”–two kids draw Superman to life to fight an alien invasion. For added meta value, the kids are named Jerry and Joe. Nice touch.
19. “Squatter”–I didn’t read Superman in the comics until John Byrne came on to redefine Superman. I like the fact that Jericho, the mute member of the Teen Titans, is the one who finally takes down a mind-controlled Superman.
20. Ma Kent’s Photo Album”–one of my favorites as Superman’s Earth parents look back at their photos of his childhood. It’s a shame the Kents aren’t around anymore.
21. “Secrets in the Night”–Superman finally reveals his identity to Lois Lane. This is one of my favorite stories, as it was one of the rare one and done deals from the 90’s.
22. “A Hero’s Journey”–Too many artists for this one, but since it’s the 800th issue, I guess I can expect that. I had a little trouble keeping up because of the art switches.
23. “The Boy Who Stole Superman’s Cape”–Ben Oliver had some nice artwork. I’m surprised we got to see the “New 52” version of Superman, but it wasn’t a bad story.
24. “The Game”–see my article on the 1000th issue for my thoughts on this one. Why they included this story instead of “Of Tomorrow” is anyone’s guess.
All in all, this is a great book to pick up, especially if you don’t want to dig up the original comics where these stories originally ran.