Blast From The Past Review: Action Comics #8

Action Comics #8 Review

Cover Artist: Fred Guardineer
Writer: Jerry Siegel
Artwork: Jo Shuster 

The storyline starts with an intense court battle between a mother, a son and a bunch of gang members. As the rest of the gang watch for the outcome of the trial, Clark overhears them plotting against an unknown character named Gimpy, in what seems to be a team up against him. As the gang pay Gimpy a visit, it unravels that he’d promised them protection against the police, but when it came to it, he let them down. As a distraction Gimpy offers them another job which when and IF pulled off, their reward would be worth the troubles they’ve had. Little do they know that he is “pulling a fast one” on them, as Superman overhears his sly plan to tip off the police. He then rushes to save the young gangsters from the police, but also themselves, as he lets them fight it out between themselves. Once they reach a conclusion, they open-up to Superman as to what got them in the unfortunate situations that they are in, and he decides to take action. During his resolution he finds himself working around troops who continuously try to stop him, of course, unsuccessfully.

Superman seems a little corrupt here and not as strict with the ‘good and bad’ as he is in today’s comics. He decides to step in when the gangsters’ mother pleas his innocence in the case, although it is clear that he is a criminal. It seems odd to me that this story is about Superman saving gang members from a prison sentence, although he does deliver justice to Gimpy – the rat of the gang. In a way it is nice to see as Superman sticks up for the young generation and pry’s them from their corrupt lives, however they are criminals and even when their leader has been sent to jail, they continue to take on illegal jobs. I won’t give away too much but when Superman takes action, he is doing it for the town, not just the boys, which will put out criminality within the town completely.

Although he sticks up for the bad guys, and goes against the police in this story, Superman’s actions are for good and he clearly sees that theboys within the gang have a bit of goodness inside them. It also shows that you can redeem yourself regardless of the mistakes that you have previously made, which is great advice from the writers, and great to see the message delivered through such a powerful character. Youngsters becoming criminals to get-by would have been common back then, so it seems that Superman is marketed to relate to those who aren’t as lucky asothers. In addition to this, it also shows that although times have changed, the same issues are still relevant.

Even more so, the artwork seems to have taken a step back, although the story seems to have evolved in length and it covers more than one narrative. There are scenes where the sky is green, then the sky and the ground is orange, which is very bizarre and almost seems lazy. There is also a scene where Superman is carrying the gang through the air where only two of the four have bodies. Aside from the artwork, this is one of the first stories where you see Superman get caught up with the police in a bad way. But he also does show more remorse against criminals, showing that his character is not always one-sided. Overall the story is thrilling, mysterious and light-hearted and it makes you think twice about Superman’s ‘simplistic’ and ‘boring’ morality!

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