There’s mystery and intrigue as Brian Michael Bendis continues his Superman work…
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis / art by: Szymon Kudranski / colours by: Brad Anderson
What’s it about?
As Superman faces the threat of Leviathan’s attacks, Daily Planet reporter Robinson Goode investigates the rise in criminal activity in Metropolis…
Following the recent launch of the Event Leviathan mini-series, Brian Michael Bendis continues his Superman run with the latest issue of Action Comics. Building on the previous arc, “Leviathan Rising” and the ‘Invisible Mafia’ storyline, Action Comics #1012 is a slow but interesting read – it’s lack of action (ironically there’s much more of that in the main Superman book, also written by Bendis) made up for with some intriguing character work. Despite the comic’s cover, there’s actually not a lot of Superman – or Clark – in this issue, which makes sense given he’s busy with what’s going on in Superman and Event Leviathan. Bendis does however provide some enjoyable moments between Clark and Lois in the Fortress of Solitude, where there’s some sweet and playful dialogue as the couple discuss their first meeting before Clark speeds off to deal with a crisis or two.
The bulk of Action Comics #1012 focuses on the Daily Planet’s newest reporter, Robinson Goode a.k.a. Superman’s new adversary known as the Red Cloud – who seems to be having trouble controlling her ‘red mist’ powers (as her ambiguous secret meetings with the Invisible Mafia’s ‘Queenpin’ continue). Bendis gives Goode an appropriately snarky quality and her often dismissive attitude towards her colleagues, specifically Trish, adds to that although there’s a little bit of fun as the pair ponder over a photograph of Lois Lane locked in an embrace with Superman…a moment that could have consequences? Shifting the narrative forward, Goode meets with Rose Forest who reveals that she has been fighting the underground criminals of Metropolis as the meta-vigilante ‘Thorn’ and believes that there’s a conspiracy within the city’s police that’s linked to the increasing Metropolis crime-wave. This is where the story begins to get interesting and more so as it builds ties to Event Leviathan – that series can be enjoyed separately, but Action Comics also functions as a companion piece whilst still fleshing out its own ongoing story arcs.
Part of what works well with Action Comics is that Brian Bendis brings a more grounded, street-level quality to the book (saving the epic scale and spectacle for Superman) with a tighter focus on characters such as Robinson Goode, the Daily Planet and an investigative angle that’s all in evidence here and whilst there is less of Superman, his presence is still felt throughout the story.
Szymon Kudranski’s art is rather excellent – there are a couple of odd facial expressions but it’s generally strong and full of detail, with an extra grittiness employed in the brutal sequences depicting Thorn’s violent encounters with Metropolis gangsters. Colours by Brad Anderson are especially effective in the contrast between the darker, more sinister moments and the brighter, clearer scenes elsewhere.
The bottom line: A slow yet intriguing issue of Action Comics with which writer Brian Michael Bendis continues to build a solid run for the Man of Steel whilst neatly tying into Event Leviathan.
Action Comics #1012 is published by DC and is available in print and digital formats now.
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