Superman: Action Comics #1006 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Ryan Sook, Artist; Brad Anderson, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Stumbling Forward
Ray: The most exciting moment of this issue comes in the recap page, as Bendis teases a potential Lois Lane title by Greg Rucka. That would certainly be a good thing, as the character certainly isn’t getting the page time she needs here or being used well elsewhere. She’s once again absent from this overall compelling issue, only mentioned by other characters who use her absence to unnerve Clark. It’s good to see Clark back in his element as an investigator here, as he’s on the trail of the conspiracy that blamed Superman for the mysterious fires. He attempts to confront the Mayor of Metropolis as the issue begins, but the oily politician is able to slip away. The title makes good use of Superman’s powers in this issue, showing how his super-hearing allows him to investigate even when he’s nowhere near the scene. Clark casually letting his identity slip out to a random boy stretched belief, though – if he can track sound so well, wouldn’t he know the alley wasn’t unoccupied?
The last issue saw Red Cloud come very close to killing Superman, and the now-revealed Robinson Goode isn’t finished yet. As soon as the Mayor figures out Melody Moore is responsible for the leaks to Clark, he immediately sends the mob’s most powerful assassin after the ethical fire chief. This sets up a second round between Superman and Red Cloud, which goes significantly better for Superman. Ryan Sook’s take on Red Cloud is fascinating, but the two versions of Goode’s character don’t quite match up for me. She’s a cunning, strategic foe as herself, but she seems to slip into a vicious maniac as soon as she transforms. I’m still not sure who she is as a villain. The ending of the issue reveals the mysterious new mob boss she works for, a woman named Leone who seems to be the puppetmaster of Metropolis’ crime scene. Intriguing, but this is the second evil black woman Bendis has introduced in this run so far, which is a bit weird. Still the better of the two Superman titles at the moment, but the run as a whole feels unfocused.
Corrina: All of the women Bendis has introduced are either evil or, in Melody’s case, a probable upcoming victim. And I can still never stop thinking “this Metropolis underbelly stuff investigating is WHAT LOIS LANE DOES.” And, yet, nope, she’s still sidelined for no reason that I can see. Maybe because of the upcoming title but that doesn’t mean she can’t have a role in the meantime other than having weird conversations with Clark about why she didn’t tell him she was back, which bugs me every time I read this title.
As for the plot, it’s true Goode seems to make no sense, as she’s supposed to be an investigator but we never see her truly clueing into anything. Perry seems overly-bombastic, stuck in a Silver Age portrayal of J. Jonah Jameson-lite, we have the weird tease on Goode’s computer of a public love triangle of Superman-Lois-Clark, which either is a homage or just a random Easter egg. Even weirder is Jimmy’s supposed tryst with Talia Al Ghul, which might be something of a Bendis joke but, on the other hand, given the messages written as Talia calling Jimmy that are scattered in one panel, maybe not.
I do like Clark using his super-hearing on the Mayor but the whole exchange before that feels so odd.
I guess part of my problem is Bendis’ trademark slooow pacing, as this whole underbelly story has taken forever to develop.
I would look forward to that Rucka Lois Lane book except I think we’re getting there by either temporarily suspending the marriage or, just as bad, by making Lois one of the bad guys, so to speak, of Heroes in Crisis. (See the review of Heroes in Crisis #4 for that development.)
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.