Superman: Action Comics #1014 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Szymon Kudranski, Artist; Brad Anderson, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: While Superman is off in space in his other title, Bendis keeps the character close to Earth in this book. I feel like the entire Bendis Superman run is promising but always flawed – but both books are always flawed in different ways.
Action Comics is a compelling Metropolis crime book, but it never quite feels like a Superman book. This issue the focus largely shifts to Marisol Leone, the mysterious crime lord from Suicide Slum who has taken over the Daily Planet. After Action Comics #1014, I definitely like the character more. Bendis and Fraction are seeding her around the Superman family of titles, and she’s one of the more effective criminal masterminds I’ve seen. She understands that making powerful friends is better than making enemies, and the way she puts her silver tongue to work this issue to win over Perry White and Clark – whether she knows he’s Superman or not – makes me think she’ll be hard to unseat from the top of the Metropolis power heap.
Leviathan is mentioned several times in this issue, as Leone is determined to find out the mysterious villain’s identity, but that whole plot seems so disconnected even from Bendis’ fellow titles. A subplot where Superman fights a monster and realizes that STAR Labs is the one powerhouse untouched by Leviathan proves Szymon Kudranski can do some great monsters, but there’s one big problem in this issue – and that’s Robinson Goode.
The other new villain along with Leone who has dominated the title, I’ve never felt like Goode’s been given any layers. She’s capable of putting on a convincing face, but as soon as she slips into Red Cloud mode, she has all the personality of a 90s mook villain. Now upgraded by Lex Luthor, she’s able to easily handle Thorn but does nothing to make me want to learn more about her yet. The entire thing is a compelling noir title with great stuff at the Daily Planet, but the many subplots don’t quite come together.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.