Superman: Action Comics #1018 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; John Romita Jr., Penciller; Klaus Janson, Inker; Brad Anderson, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: Following the chain of events in Bendis books can often be tricky, because he’s fond of non-narrative plots and jumping around. That’s definitely the case with Action Comics #1018, which takes place around the events in its sister title in Year of the Villain, and also incorporates several flashbacks. The framing device is a massive battle in Shuster Park with the Legion of Doom, and along the way Bendis catches up with several of his originals.
We finally get the origin of Red Cloud, as we see Robinson Goode as a reporter for a low-level paper who gets a little too close to something horrible going on in STAR Labs. When some corrupt scientists try to kill her, she winds up transformed – with bizarre results that she takes to a lot more easily than most would. I’m still not sure about her as a villain overall, but this is a decent origin story that gives her a better motivation and explains her willingness to turn her back on the law after what was done to her.
I thought the catch-up with Fire chief Melody Moore was stronger. She’s been mostly MIA since the first arc, investigating the arsons, but here she gets a major role as one of Clark’s confidantes. I always thought she was a great character, but I wish we had gotten to see more of her to make Clark’s decision to trust her with his secret pre-reveal fit more. The decision to have her run for Mayor to replace the corrupt incumbent makes me think Bendis is building her up to have a bigger role, and I think it’ll be interesting to have Superman finally have his Jim Gordon – the “Work friend” who works on the official side of the law.
The battle segments by John Romita Jr. looked great, but also didn’t add too much to the story. I don’t think the return of Leviathan, teaming up with the Legion of Doom, really excites me because I don’t think this wild-card of an espionage villain is likely to team up with world-destroying maniacs. The quiet moments are where this issue is best.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.