Superman: Action Comics #1003 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Yanick Paquette, Artist; Nathan Fairbairn, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: It’s been a tale of two titles for Brian Michael Bendis’ Superman so far, with Superman being an over-the-top action-packed thrill ride that never quite clicks while Action Comics is an intimate suspense book that’s doing some fascinating things with Metropolis. Last issue revealed that Lois Lane was still in Metropolis, in disguise, and this issue we find out…very little. Whatever happened between her and Superman last issue is staying between them, but Clark doesn’t seem to be in a great move.
Rather, this issue focuses on the new character of Robinson Goode, the ambitious new reporter with plans to take over the Daily Planet. She’s more than willing to break ethical rules to get her story, and that leads her to a seedy underground criminal scene. There, she obtains a rare sample of Kryptonite as insurance for whatever her plans are involving Superman. I’m not quite sure if she’s evil or not yet, but I do know that I’m curious to find out. The character’s a bit of a hard sell, but she’s working in a way that Rogol Zaar did not.
However, the way things play out from there is unexpected and surprisingly funny. Robinson brings her secret quarry back to the Daily Planet to try to sell Perry White on her latest plans – just as Clark arrives at work, and it turns out that the protective lining of the Kryptonite case isn’t as strong as expected. Clark immediately begins feeling sick and eventually collapses, with no one knowing exactly what’s wrong with him. Robinson is busy arguing with Perry while Clark is collapsing, and it’s only because she’s done that she leaves the newsroom and stops him from being fatally poisoned.
This is probably the closest Clark’s come to death in a long time, and it’s almost a complete accident. And Bendis manages to wring every moment of tension out of it. It’s easily the best few pages Bendis has written in his time on Superman, and the follow-up involving Robinson Goode meeting Batman is almost as good. The cliffhanger involving Lois getting a visit from Luthor is intriguing, but I want this Lois Lane subplot to be resolved soon rather than leaving us dangling. This book is definitely improving a lot issue by issue.
Corrina: I see, despite my time off, that the Lois Lane subplot is still ongoing, with Lois maybe getting a panel or a line here and there. I thought I missed an issue where Clark and Lois actually talked but, nope, it seems like Bendis skipped what would have been a natural progression in the story to keep the reader in suspense. The plan must be to later reveal all, I suppose. What kept them apart? Who knows. Bored now.
Maybe the point of the whole thing is to make readers bored by Lois Lane? That would be just plain sad.
The rest of the issue is better than before I took my break, especially because I love the Daily Planet cast. I still think the story isn’t accurate about how newspapers work but it’s nice to see his co-workers rally around Clark as he goes down. However, how Robinson obtains the Kryptonite is confusing–can I just walk into a bar and find the right person and boom, Kryptonite? And I couldn’t help thinking that Robinson would realize exactly why Clark is sick. It seems so obvious that there’s practically a blinking neon green light over him.
So, yeah, this isn’t horrible. But neither is it particularly good.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.