Superman: Action Comics #1002 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Patrick Gleason, Artist; Alejandro Sanchez, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: This is a comic that’s definitely the better of the two Superman books at the moment, but it’s also suffering from a combination of Bendis’ style and the scheduling. We’ve gone from four Superman books a month to two, and while both are written by the same person they’re following very different narratives. Combined with Bendis’ decompressed writing style, you’re often left wanting more. That’s definitely the case with this issue, which features some very compelling scenes but ends just as we get to the moment we want and leaves us hanging for another month. The issue opens with Clark finding out that Lois is back in Metropolis and apparently writing a tell-all book about Superman. She hasn’t contacted Clark and he has no idea why. Making things worse, a low-level criminal has just been dropped to his death in Metropolis and all the eyewitnesses are saying Superman did it. Superman knows he’s innocent, but he also knows that this is the second time he’s been framed for a crime in weeks – and new reporter Robinson Goode is doing everything she can to make the public distrust him.
Perry, not trusting Robinson, sends Clark out to do his own research on the story. That sends Clark into the underworld of Metropolis, so Bendis gets to show off some of his noir skills. This is definitely the darker book compared to the action-packed Superman, and old villains like Boss Moxie drop by for brief and brutal cameos. This new villain, Red Cloud, is terrifying – I did not know that Gleason’s art could be as realistic and gothic as it is here. I was less sure about the appearance of the Guardian, who almost seems like a new character completely distanced from his last few appearances. He’s basically a slightly unhinged ex-cop vigilante. I am overall far more impressed by how Bendis shows Superman using his powers in this book than in Superman – in Metropolis, Superman is keenly aware of how dangerous he can be, and the silent scene where Superman flies into space to get his rage out on some asteroids is the issue’s best. Then Superman finds Lois, in a blonde wig for some reason, and the issue ends as they’re about to confront each other. This issue’s right on the verge of greatness, but the pacing still needs a little work given the new schedule.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.