Out of all the series in DC’s New 52, the one series that should not have gotten a zero edition is Action Comics. The entire series is meant to be one giant Superman origin story, so why do we need an origin story for that origin story? That just didn’t make sense to me. It seems my suspicions were right, Cape of Hope delivered a series of forgettable moments that take place before the start of the title in issue #1 revolving around his iconic red cape.
I don’t know if it’s this rendition of superman or my love for Tom Welling’s depiction of a younger Kal-el, but I’m just not feeling it with Action Comic’s superman. From his actions to the way he processes decisions, it doesn’t really feel like Superman to me. My love for the previous arcs is rooted mainly in the plot rather than Superman himself – which I feel really odd. All that said, this book gives me some hope as to how the character could possibly develop and I’m liking it. His optimism and nobility was a true stand out in this book, not enough to save it from its weak tale though.
Cape of Hope gives us an deeper look into the relationship between Clark Kent and notable sidekick Jimmy Olsen. Their relationship, while well known about, doesn’t really get much attention in recent years. In a simpler time when metropolis isn’t constantly being attacked by criminals, Cape of Hope provides the perfect platform for them to develop their relationship – leaving me wanting more. While Lois and Clark didn’t really have any contact in this book, Clark did address the reason why he is drawn to Lois which serves as a strong foundation for the development of their relationship in the future.
Unfortunately, it was the primary arc revolving around his cape that really disappointed. I get how significant and iconic his cape is, especially with the “abilities” that it possesses – which was address earlier in the series. However, it just left me wondering the point of the story. As nice as it is to see the boys use the cape to escape their drunk father, Morrison explicitly suggested that the cape is what makes Superman strong, which we all know isn’t the case. I do understand that it was from the boy’s point of view but it somehow undermines the character from my perspective, not a particularly big issue though.
I do have to give the issue some credit though, however boring the plot is, it manages to deliver a consistent pace and a rather cohesive story, like all of Morrison’s preview work. That said, I’m not a huge fan of the coloring/texturing for this book. In many ways it resembles the Batwing series, but this blend of colors and visual style worked for that series because of the different setting and the darker nature of the arcs. For a series that focuses on hope and optimism, the artwork seems to be going in the opposite direction and inadvertently making Clark and look rather old.
As great as the earlier arcs have been, Cape of Hope delivered an unsatisfying and forgettable prequel to the series.