Superman: Action Comics #1001 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Patrick Gleason, Artist; Alejandro Sanchez, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: We’ve gotten an advance look at Brian Michael Bendis’ vision for Superman over a miniseries and a launch issue in Superman #1, but it feels like Action Comics #1001 is by far the purest look at who his Superman is – and it’s also by far the best issue that Bendis has written since his arrival at DC. Alternatively suspenseful and very human, this issue puts the cosmic adventures on the back burner and focuses on Metropolis. The issue opens with a very funny segment as Superman foils a trio of heavily armed robbers, playing on just how little Superman has to fear from most of the people he apprehends and how pointless most of their attempts are. At the Daily Planet, things are as dysfunctional as ever. Perry’s trying to keep the Planet afloat, Robinson Goode and gossip columnist Trish are trying to get to the bottom of Lois’ absence – with Trish having a hilarious theory – and the mysterious fires are dominating the conversations. As we know, Man of Steel ended with Superman being accused of starting the fires by a little boy who came forward.
The resolution to this plot is a bit anticlimatic, as it turns out that the little boy simply lied – a mysterious bald man bribed him to finger Superman. I liked seeing how Superman dealt with the kid – scaring him straight without traumatizing him or putting him into the system. This issue had the flair of Dan Jurgens’ classic run, making Metropolis feel like a living city where Superman is just one player. I think a lot of people were worried about seeing Melody Moore pushed as a potential love interest for Superman, but that’s thankfully not the case. She’s a colleague, and one who isn’t afraid to push Superman when she needs to. Bendis manages to work a lot more humor into this issue, unlike the overly grim proceedings with Rogol Zaar. That doesn’t always work – a page where Superman looks at suspects has so many in-jokes that it feels less like a subtle gag and more like a distraction – but this issue feels a lot more like Bendis on Ultimate Spider-Man than any of his Marvel work has in a while. Patrick Gleason back on art is great – he’s a perfect fit for the Man of Steel. I’m not sure about its sister title yet, but this first issue has me more sold on Bendis as Superman writer than I have been so far.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.