Superman: Action Comics #1009 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Steve Epting, Artist; Brad Anderson, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: It continues to be a tale of two books for the Bendis Superman line. While Superman has been a puzzle full of massive status quo shifts that don’t really work, Action Comics has taken on the tone of a compelling suspense thriller. It all leads up to the upcoming Event Leviathan, DC’s big summer event – and the pieces are falling into place as all of DC’s covert ops organizations have come under attack by Leviathan, leading Amanda Waller to show up at Clark and Lois’ apartment and reveal she knows Clark’s secret identity. She wakes up in the new Fortress of Solitude, and to say the Couple of Steel isn’t pleased would be putting it lightly. Lois in particularly wastes no time in unloading on Waller, although there were still a few glitches with her characterization. Since when does Lois have a Bronx accent and say things like “Ya did!”? And since when would she so much as flinch when punching Waller in the jaw? Her father probably put her through boxing lessons.
Steve Epting is an artist best known for spy thrillers like Velvet and Captain America, so he seems an odd fit for Superman. However, as he flashes back and forth between the present day and the events of Leviathan’s attack, it works. The polished sheen of his art works well with both the lighter and darker segments. The issue answers the question of Sam Lane’s fate, revealing he’s alive in the hospital – and being watched over by the mysterious Question. One of my hesitations about this run remains that Bendis seems more comfortable writing almost everyone but the core Superman characters. His Question and Waller are top-notch, perfectly capturing the barely bottled insanity of the former and the ruthless pragmatism (but not evil) of the latter. His Superman and Lois still have a few issues, but the end of issue twist – revealing a plot device straight out of the Silver Age – won me over. Unlike the other title, this book is creating a story I’m excited to follow – but I’m still not sure it’s a Superman story.
Corrina: Why is Bendis writing Superman and Action Comics and trying to shoehorn in stories that don’t fit, with a lot of bad characterization on top of that, from Lois to Perry White, when he could obviously be writing a fine Question or Suicide Squad series?
I ask that because everything to do with the Question and his pursuit and his agenda has been interesting. Everything to do with Lois has been awful. Yes, I know she slugs Waller in this issue but I’m not sure that’s what she’d do. Lois would be more likely to pull out her own investigative knowledge of what Waller has done and give her a verbal smackdown that would have Waller off-balance. Physically hitting Waller seems….such an easy narrative choice. :sigh:
And this is a side point to the issue, but this storyline seems a confirmation that we will not see the Renee Montoya Question anytime soon, if ever again. Given the cancellation of DC Bombshells, Batwoman, the departure of Batwoman from Detective Comics, and the death? of Poison Ivy in Heroes in Crisis, it’s been a bad year or so for DC’s LGBTQ+ characters.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.