Review – Superman: Action Comics #1005: Metropolis Underbelly

Comic Books DC This Week
Action Comics #1005 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Superman: Action Comics #1005 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Ryan Sook, Artist; Brad Anderson, Colorist


Ray – 8.5/10

Corrina: Bendis Finally Writing a Noir Comic

Ray: Bendis’ Action Comics run reaches the end of its first major arc with a story that sets up the new criminal scene in Metropolis and unmasks his first big villain – but readers may get flashbacks to past reveals like Hush in just how expected it turns out to be. This title is still definitely the more effective of Bendis’ books, turning Metropolis into an old-fashioned noir-influenced city with a crime scene that exists quietly under Superman’s nose. And Superman isn’t the only crimefighter in Metropolis, either – the opening segment has a hapless schlub trying to sell a crime boss named Gummy a Dial H for Hero dial – a concept Bendis and Sam Humphries will be exploring in Wonder Comics soon. The dial doesn’t really work, but that doesn’t stop the Question from busting in and proving that the only power he needs to dial for is F for Fist. It’s great to see the original creepy Question back in action, and Bendis is in his element writing a classic DC noir character.

At the Daily Planet, Robinson Goode is fitting into her new role at the planet, helping Clark with one of his stories and digging into his reunion from Lois. Lois is unfortunately absent from this story, dealing with her own missions. Bendis writes the Super-family well, but the problem is he doesn’t seem to want to. Melody Moore, the fire chief, returns as she brings Clark into her investigation with Superman. But the meat of the issue is set at the mysterious Fleischer District, where the gangsters of Metropolis are meeting to discuss their next move as their empire falls apart. Bendis seems interested in peeling back the nice veneer of Metropolis, between his look into the organized crime scene and the reveal that the new leadership of the city may not be friendly towards superheroes anymore. A brief fight between Superman and Red Cloud leads to the villains’ reveal, but this was largely a mystery with only one suspect. Overall, this series remains strong and Bendis’ Metropolis is much more interesting than his Krypton.

Superman vs. Red Cloud. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: Metropolis’ underbelly is interesting because it returns Bendis to what he does well: superhero noir. The problem is that he’s not writing superhero noir, he’s writing a Superman book. That means that everything that happens in this issue with the criminal underbelly is interesting but the story has so far not connected to Superman, it’s main character, in any meaningful way.

The way to connect Clark or Lois to the criminal underbelly is to have either or both of them be investigating it. Instead, the Underworld part of the story is out on its own, with Clark being mostly unaware until he’s confronted with the proof. I have no idea why, if Bendis wanted to tell this kind of story, that he wrote out the Superman Family character (Lois) best suited to be part of this type of story. Investigating and uncovering corruption is what she does.

There is a glimpse of the Question (cool, but it’s a cameo), the insertion of a Hero dial (also cool but not much happens with it), and a brand new Bendis character revealed as an out-and-out killer.

I never liked this character much, especially since she was not written well, but to introduce a new character of color, and then make her a murderer seems problematic, especially given the lack of diversity overall in the Superman Family.

If DC moved Bendis to a Question book, I’d find that interesting. He would probably write a terrific Question. (Of course, why doesn’t the Question let Superman or Batman know what’s what? There’s the Question…)

But the past year has proven that Bendis is an ill-fit on the Superman titles.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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