Baby Talk in ACTION COMICS #5

Action Comics #5 features one of the best Superman stories—or rather, one of the best stories [...]

Action Comics

#5 features one of the best Superman stories—or rather, one of the best stories told in the Superman universe—in quite a long time, but it's not the one you might expect. Taken out of the context of the larger story, Sholly Fisch and Chrisscross's backup story (featuring Jonathan and Martha Kent's journey to parenthood and how it impacts the A story told in the opening pages of the issue) could in and of itself be considered a terrific little story. Its ending is obvious and arguably unnecessary, but it's a great character sketch of Jonathan and Martha Kent that brings the kindliest old couple in the history of comics into the modern age and reinforces the Superman-as-savior theme that writers have worked with for years even to his own parents. The characters are relatable, their motivations pure and the reward readers will know they reap is richly deserved; the art is pitch-perfect for the quiet, simple tale of young lovers hoping to complete their family and the way it both enriches the A plot and still leaves some questions unanswered (what the hell happened to that goat?, for example) makes it not only a great standalone story but a terrific read in the context of Morrison's Action Comics run. Morrison's lead story is less remarkable—it ties together Krypton's destruction, the Phantom Zone Criminals, the Legion of Super-Heroes and last month's cliffhanger from Action Comics #4 in a kind of muddy and complicated narrative which will, presumably, be resolved next month as well as answering fans' concerns about the ultimate destiny of Krypto with questions that pile on top of the existing questions. Andy Kubert's art leaves something to be desired, although the final pages of Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes show tremendous promise and suggest that next month's issue—which will hopefully answer some of the questions raised this month as well as seeing Kubert drawing Superman in action with his old friends the Legion—may be something more worthy of notice. Certainly the ramifications of time travel in the New 52 are worth paying attention to, given that characters like Booster Gold and books like Legion Lost have thus far been denied the time travel that seems like part and parcel of who they are. If the "Flashpoint breakwall" prevents the Legion of Super-Heroes from contacting their lost members, how is it possible that they were able to locate and assist Superman only five years ago? With a little luck, Action Comics #6 will help to set some of the ground rules for time (and multiverse) travel in advance of Morrison's anticipated Multiversity story.