Writer: Grant Morrison, Sholly Fisch
Art: Cafu, Rags Morales
Publisher: DC Comics
Clark Kent is dead. I know that may seem rather shocking, but in Action Comics #10, he dies. You may be wondering where the spoiler alert for that is, but I honestly couldn’t think of a way to talk about this issue without mentioning that fact. It’s been awhile since I’ve picked up a copy of Action Comics, but I was curious to see where things were at in the series. There were several surprises, more than a few points of confusion, and plenty to get caught up on; but in the end, what made this a good issue is because it understood a very key aspect of Superman/Clark’s character; he isn’t just a good person, he makes others around him want to be better too.
This isn’t the first time Clark has died; it’s been done before. In fact, one of my favorite Clark Kent deaths took place in the Superman animated series. It was a touching, heartfelt episode that really highlighted the character of Clark Kent and the influence he had on the people around him. That’s the thing about these stories. We always think of Superman as being the figure of inspiration and often forget about Clark. However, Clark Kent does plenty of good of his own. He fights evil and rights wrongs as a newspaper reporter. His inherent goodness and kindness affects the people around him. He’s just as selfless and has as much desire to help as Clark as he does as Superman, and as Clark, he can help and influence people in an entirely different way than he does as Superman. In many ways, Clark Kent is just as much a hero as Superman because of these qualities; and that’s what’s touched upon in this issue.
The reason this is so important is because it can serve as a reminder to all of us that goodness and heroics isn’t a job for someone else; it’s a job for us all. To put others before ourselves, to give heed to their needs, to help them in times of trouble or just offer a little encouragement or kindness; these are heroics we’re all capable of and don’t need super powers to perform. Far too often we fall into the thinking of “that’s a job for someone else.” We don’t have the time, we don’t have the resources, or we just plain don’t have the desire to help or just plain be selflessly nice to those around us; and people wonder why our world is in such a state. The fact is we don’t need Superman to save the day, we just need more Clark Kents to be willing to lend a kind, helping hand. It’s a high calling, one that the Bible takes very seriously; “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do, and doesn’t do it, sins.” (James 4:17)
There’s a lot that’s changed in Action Comics since the last time I read it. Superman has two uniforms, apparently. The Justice League is trying to figure out who they are and what they should do; oh, and apparently Superman is a part of the Justice League now. Clark/Superman seem to be a little more like his classic self and a little less like the hot-headed, punk kid he was in the beginning. The big question is, now that Clark Kent is dead, what happens next? (We know Clark doesn’t stay dead because he’s around in the other books, but how do we get there?) Seems to me like this book is improving.
Score: 5 of 7
A BIG thanks to Astro-Zombies for providing the material for this review. Learn more about them at astrozombies.com.