Jun 14, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 840: Action Comics #553, March 1984


This has been a very strange adventure (pun intended), in that there's very little action. A lot of this story has been people talking to one another about action, or about the problem facing the team and Superman, but the actual steps taken to stop the problem happen in literally 2-3 pages of this second issue.

And not much is really revealed or solved, aside from Superman no longer spreading prehistoric seeds across Metropolis.

In terms of Animal Man's development, we're beginning to see the limitations of his power set - in order to be useful, he's really only good if he's around animals that might have useful powers. Though "usefulness" is an aspect of the powers that is fully explored in his series, it's not really delved into here. Buddy is sent back to Brazil, where he by some random chance has seen a jaguar (and anyone who's walked around forests full of wild animals knows just how often you happen upon one by chance), and so can use those powers to defeat the government officials guarding the mysterious temple. The expansions his powers undergo in his eponymous series, from sensing animals around him to tapping into the morphogenetic field exponentially raise the level of his powers, making him into a remarkably powerful character in the end. And perhaps it's this overcoming of the limitations of his powers that finally allows Animal Man the shot at having his own series. Indeed, much of the early part of Morrison's run is about Animal Man discovering the true extent of his powers.

But we'll get there eventually. The end of today's story leaves the audience with the possibility of Superman not having survived his encounter at the beginning of time. We might take a quick detour into the next issue of Action Comics, just to see what happens, and then we'll pick up with Animal Man again in DC Comics Presents.

To be continued.

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