Superman: Action Comics #1012 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Szymon Kudranski, Artist; Brad Anderson, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Action Comics has always been the more interesting of Bendis’ two Superman titles right now, delving into the underbelly of Metropolis and working with villains far more interesting than Rogol Zaar. It’s also been where the larger Leviathan plot has been set up, and now that this event is off and running the story shifts to showing what happens in Metropolis when Superman is out of town. Superman and Lois do feature in the story in one scene before he heads off to deal with the Leviathan crisis, and while the scene does drive home why they make such a good pair, it’s kind of another example of Bendis telling rather than showing. The rest of the issue, though, moves Robinson Goode back into the role as lead character as the mysterious reporter/criminal/deadly cloud supervillain continues to juggle the many balls she has in the air as she makes her move on Metropolis.
The crime scene in Metropolis hasn’t been this fleshed out since the early 90s when Intergang was one of Superman’s biggest villains, and the best part of the issue is when these scared gangsters display how they stay under Superman’s radar. Robinson bounces from one figure to another, interacting with Trish, random gangsters, and her boss in the underworld – even as her powers threaten to spiral out of control. The highlight of the issue is when she confronts a young woman named Rose Forest – who is also the unwilling host to the vigilante Thorn, who has been tearing apart Metropolis’ underbelly. Is Bendis’ Thorn just a slightly more unhinged Jessica Jones as a split personality? Yes. Do he and Szymon Kudranski do a good job delivering a tense noir atmosphere with a surprisingly brutal tone for a mainstream DC comic? Also yes. This is probably further from a regular Superman comic than any issue Bendis has done yet, but that’s what keeps it interesting.
Corrina: Look, as someone who has always enjoyed Lois and Clark as a couple, and considers them the iconic superhero couple, I’m glad DC has kept the super-marriage this time around.
But the potential of the super-marriage seems to be squandered over and over, not just by the creative teams since Bendis took over the Superman books but in the past as well.
I want them together but I also want them written well.
The scene Bendis writers for Lois & Clark at the beginning of this issue should be sweet, funny, and provide insight into the super-couple. But the banter comes off as mean, not fun, and the dialogue is textbook Bendis, meaning that it’s so stylized that it drives me nuts. Apparently, either you like his dialogue or don’t, and it’s clear to me now that I don’t. At all.
As for the rest, perhaps my annoyance at the beginning of the issue clouds the rest but there’s more of Bendis trademark dialogue, there’s an indication of corruption in the Metropolis PD (not a fan of that idea, can we have one city where the cops mostly try to do their jobs honestly?), and then the Rose/Thorn parts. The last time I can remember Rose appearing was when she was written by Gail Simone over in Birds of Prey, and there’s a vague memory of a miniseries. Rose/Thorn is essentially in character this issue but, again, the dialogue seems to tell when it could show. And I kept waiting for someone to randomly kill Rose/Thorn because that’s the way this story seems to roll. At least that didn’t happen. Yet.
As I’ve said, Bendis gonna Bendis.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.