Superman: Action Comics #1016 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Szymon Kudranski, Artist; Brad Anderson, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Every writer has their tells, and Bendis’ tells are more noticeable than most – if you see a bunch of characters standing around discussing the events that just happened, it’s probably a Bendis book.
The good news is, despite a few too many scenes like this, Superman: Action Comics #1016 is another good issue in what remains the most entertaining arc on this title since the Leviathan plot began and it’s mostly due to the addition of Naomi to the story. Her series may be on hold, but Bendis has nicely picked up where he and Walker left off by having her team up with Superman and Batman to take on the Red Cloud. When the issue starts, she’s still at the Fortress of Solitude as Superman flies off to fight the villain, but in a series of double-paged spreads we see just how easily the upgraded Robinson Goode is manhandling Superman. It’s not clear how Luthor made her this powerful, but my first guess is magic – she’s coming off as demonic more than anything.
The art by Szymon Kudranski is the best of his run so far – Kudranski typically worked on darker comics, but paired with Brad Anderson’s colors, his style comes closer to the noir action of previous artist Steve Epting. The plot doesn’t advance too much, as Red Cloud escapes and Madame Leone prepares to make a big move against Metropolis.
However, the scenes that really stand out are the interactions between Superman, Batman, and Naomi. It’s been a while since we saw Superman in a mentor role at length, and the addition of Naomi to this arc let Bendis show off Superman’s kinder, more compassionate side after many arcs where he’s up against world-destroying menaces. The scenes with Naomi’s mother and Batman also stood out – Bendis has a great handle on a Batman who is dark but never too dark. Naomi’s headed to Young Justice next, and so far she seems to add a great new dynamic to any book she arrives in.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.