Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: Patrick Gleason / DC Comics
There isn’t too much action in Action Comics 1002 this week. Let me rephrase: Superman didn’t punch one super villain, stop one natural disaster, nor did he swoop in at the last minute to save a falling citizen. Far from a criticism, this might have been the most interesting issue of Action Comics since it was given to the indomitable Brian Michael Bendis.
The issue starts with a level of meta that very much teeters between clever and annoying. The intro page shows Clark Kent’s computer littered with sticky notes running the gamut of Superman references. “Return Bruce’s wedding gift” and “Jim Lee called” are two out of the notes that range from chucklingly clever to a “too soon” sentiment. Mission accomplished, I read every last one and had a grin on my face by the end.
In the meat of the story a low-level gangster named “Yogurt” falls from the sky, supposedly dropped by Superman (I’ll allow the reader to access the likelihood of that being the actual event). The book focuses on Clark Kent actually being given the assignment to double check the case his fellow reporter, Ms. Goode. At the same time, a vigilante known as “The Guardian” (Apparently a character since the 40’s, but new to me) is hospitalized during some routine justice by a mysterious villain. The book ends with Superman finding a very unsuspected character lurking about Metropolis.
Action Comics is pretty cleverly being treated as the “Detective Comics” of Superman’s world, more focused on the reporting by Clark Kent at the Daily Planet and the goings-on in Metropolis. For a reader used to seeing Superman punch people and things regularly, it is a welcome departure. Bendis definitely cuts loose in this comic. He lets the (admittedly cringe-y at times) clever quips fly, and plays with a couple of obscure characters from Superman’s history. I foresee this being the polarizing issue that separates readers who dig Bendis’ style with those who don’t. That being said, the story is being taken in an interesting, compelling direction.
Art-wise, I have nothing but good things to say about Patrick Gleason. Between the action shots and the dramatic facial close-ups, his visual storytelling ability is showcased expertly in this book. All due props to the rest of the creative team, because the shadowing and colors were on point.
Admittedly I am biased towards Bendis’ style, so I enjoyed this book immensely. Counter-balanced with the cosmic-level action of the “Superman” title, “Action Comics” has a more reserved, subtle plot. It’s a welcome change of pace for a powerhouse like Clark Kent.
9 “Blonde Wigs” out of 10
Reading Action Comics? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.