Last night, before continuing my reading of Jack McDevitt’s Firebird, I downloaded and read Action Comics #3: “World Against Superman.” Of the 5 issues I’ve read so far (3 Action Comics and 2 Superman) in the New 52, this was the best one yet. The story started out on Krypton and you could see where some of the mythology changed. It then turned back to Earth and helped tie things together that has happened thus far in the first three issues of the series. The characters–especially Clark–are beginning to come through. I am also getting the hang of reading a comic book.
Purists might hate me, but I like reading the comics on my iPad. I like that it takes me through panel by panel in the right order. I think I would be easily confused as to the proper order of reading if I didn’t have this help. I can’t quite go as far as saying I prefer reading comics on the iPad over actual paper comic book, but the only hesitation there is that I have never read a paper comic book so I don’t know if the experience would be better. Having never done it, I can’t imagine it would. But I can empathize with those who feel differently.
Action Comics #3 was the first one in which the story really grabbed my interest. Prior to this issue, whether it was Action Comics or Superman, the artwork is what kept me going. My oh my how the folks that draw these comics can draw! Even something as subtle at how different all of the faces are in the crowd of people on the cover of the issue. I love the artwork and I loved it just as much in #3, but the story really caught fire with me in this one.
And that leads me to my one frustration with the issue–and with comic books in general.
Unlike science fiction magazines, comic books appear to have multi-issue arcs. You are driving alone just fine and then suddenly: cliff–and see you back here in a month! Now, on occasion, a science fiction magazine will run a serial and those are always fun. But even the serials don’t necessarily end on cliff-hangers. They are novels broken up into 3 or 4 sections. With these comics, I can read through an entire issue in half an hour, get worked up into a frenzied state–only to be left hanging for an entire month!
Have comic book fans really been living with this torture for the last seventy years or so? Are they simply masochistic by nature? How can you bare it? What’s worse is that Action Comics and Superman come out fairly close to one another, Action Comics at the beginning of the month, and Superman at the end of the month. That means that I read Superman #2 less than a week ago. So I really do have more than 3 weeks before the next issue comes out–and that isn’t even the issue that I am drooling over at the moment.
I’m just lucky that I have other things to occupy me in the meantime, like Jack McDevitt’s book, a promising issue of Analog, issues of Lightspeed and Clarkesworld and F&SF, to say nothing of Stephen King’s new book, which comes out on Tuesday. And then of course, there is my own writing to keep my mind occupied, and my family, and the day job.
But I’ll tell you, if it wasn’t for all of those things, I think I’d be counting the intervening seconds between now and when Action Comics #4 comes out in just under 30 days.