Johnny's Massive Review Monday (Week 2 of the mixed Mondays series) [Spoilers] .
Swoosh! Superman flies in and saves the day... BORING! I have always held contempt for the "False god" that flies the skies of Metropolis. Superman has always been able to do far more than your average superhero, and I have hated the deeply hard task of making this character engaging. Of course, as we all saw with Smallville and Louis and Clark, it is possible to simply approach his emotional struggles, but comic book readers want more than that. We all want to read of a struggle against villains that is conquered by the hard work or the ingenuity of our hero.
Through the years, some cosmic level threats such as Mongol of War World, Brainiac (Internet), and Darksied have presented superman with threats that could not be conquered with his strength alone. It takes a strong mind and team to repel the king of a planet who lives on the entertainment of his people through gladiatorial games. It took a connection to his alien home to defeat the A.I. Braniac. And to defeat the trans-dimensional god of Chaos, he has needed a near army of heroes and a resolve tougher than steel.
These enemies have tested his power, but one villain has always stood out to me as he tested the man of steel intellectually. Mr. myxlplyx is a being from the "5th dimension" who can only be banished when he is forced to say his name backwards.
As the Action Comics story initiating the 2011 "New 52" line of comics was being sold, and as spoilers leaked, we found out a being from a higher dimension would be the adversary of Superman. This revelation was coupled with the knowledge that this being would not be Mr. Myxlplyx was tantalizing to say the least, and once I read this tale, it was more than overdue for a review.
The story was jumbled as I will explain, and the writer Grant Morrison is known for extremely deep yet hard to grasp stories, so I hope to give you a little bit of context as to what the whole of the story is. So with no more gilding the lily, and without any more delay, I give you the Johnny's massive review of Action Comics 1-16!
A fairy tale to help you understand
These sixteen issues present a story, but not one form front to back. The tale is regaled first through Superman's first trials as a hero, we touch on the emotional day in which the light from Krypton's explosion finally reaches earth allowing Kal-el to see his home-world explode, and even look to a future date when the man of steel is saving the first colonizers of Mars! These events are told to us out of order. We get one issue in the past, the next in the future, back to the past, and then we arrive at the present. With such an odd layout, I would never do this story justice by explaining it, so it will serve us best to start many issues in at the origin of our villain, victim, and damsel in distress.
"Once upon an always, further than forever and closer than the back of your head... Lived the sad King-Thing BRPXZ, the five-fold country. Since the loss of his queen, nothing could brighten his mood." His court jester, VNDKTVX (Vindictivex), could never make him happy no matter as he tried. The tragedy of his wife's death in childbirth had brought him a daughter who he loved dearly, but he missed his wife. As the jester continually created mathematical proofs for the King, and the riches and joys of the kingdom were before him, he sat in his sadness, until an impish magician came into the kingdom.
The Imp was named Myxlplyx, and he entertained the King, he even made him smile. He did all of this by creating 3 dimensional worlds. He would travel to these worlds and play games with superheroes. They needed to say his name backwards to banish him, and in all the worlds he created, only Superman of Earth could get him to do this.
All of this entertainment not only brings a smile to the King-Thing, but catches the eye of the princess. VNDKTVX, the old jester, becomes jealous of this union and plots to kill Myxlpyx. In this plot, the villain is forced to sneak behind a curtain and throws a spear at a figure wearing Myxlpyx's signature bowler cap only to hit the King who had been wearing the hat while joking with the new jester.
The mistake made by VNDKTVX led to his entrapment in the 3 dimensional world of Superman, and to escape his fury, princess GSPTLNX and Myxlpyx flee to this 3 dimensional world as real humans. VNDKTVX then attempts to kill Superman across his entire life all at once. Once defeated, VNDKTVX is returned to a prison and Myxlpx marries the princess.
The best part about all of this 5th dimensional story is that when the princess now queen gives birth, it is to two boys and a girl. She dies in childbirth, and Myxlpyx sends the boys away as they remind him of his dual nature. He loves the princess and names her after her mother. This then leads to the events of the story above!!!!! It all happened before and will happen for all eternity. These events are cyclical!
This revelation was the best part of the series, but Grant Morrison also portrayed a myriad of things about the Man of Steel that are usually overlooked. For instance, he addresses how Krypto the Superdog wound up on earth, what Superman wore before he found Kryptonian super-armor (his suit), and even gives a brand new life to the guise of Clark Kent. The humor is top notch and we get a sample from each section of Clark's life. Even without the brilliant plot devise of the 5th dimensional family squabble I loved these issues. The worst part would be if someone was lost in the telling of the story, which is what I hope to alleviate with this review.
Please take a look at these issues! If you are like me and have grown bored with the super-humans that transcend real troubles, please take a look at these issues, they may just shed light on how great Superman can be!
Johnny savage: Content enthusiast