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Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: Yanick Paquette / DC Comics

Action Comics #1003 continues Superman’s local, Metropolis-centered crisis by exploring some elusive criminal dealings. While his self-titled book demands supersonic rescues and a fair amount of punching, Action Comics is a more subtle book. Between the two, it’s really everything we could want from a couple of Superman books.

This book opens with Robinson Goode, a new reporter for the Daily Planet. She’s focused on the murder of a crime boss, a string of fires and their connection to the Man of Steel. Goode finds herself tracking down a very dangerous piece of the Superman lore. When Kent discovers this the hard way, he relies on a close friend and ally who may or may not dress up like a bat. In the meantime, mystery still surrounds the sudden disappearance of Lois Lane. The audience is treated to some progress on that front, but we’re left with more questions than answers by the end.

Brian Michael Bendis is finding his stride with these characters. It’s hard to tell whether he’s getting more used to the voices he’s trying to capture, or whether we’re just getting accustomed to the tone set by his work. Either possibility speaks on his skill as a writer. The most entertaining dialogue came from his scenes with Batman. Superman and Batman are probably (definitely) my favorite superhero team up. If this book is a peek at a possible relaunch of Batman/Superman, I am all the way for it. Bendis has a characteristic humor that is fun to read for Batman, without turning him into a Spider-Man or Nightwing-level quip machine.

The other creative talents on this book — led by Yanick Paquette — shine just as bright, especially through a handful of DC Easter eggs (half of which I probably would’ve missed if not for years listening to 40+ year-old comic fans). Otherwise, references like “Sugar and Spike” would be lost on me. My favorite pages would have to be Clark’s episode. Feeling weak and sick, the panels are warped to simulate the imbalance the character experiences. I really appreciate the medium being played with like that, and continue to anticipate the next issue this team puts together.

8 “Friendship Necklaces” out of 10

Reading Action Comics? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.

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