Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Patrick Gleason
Colors: Alejandro Sanchez
Letterer: Josh Reed
What They Say:
A bold new era of the adventures of the Man of Steel continues as bodies fall from the sky and buildings burn around the City of Tomorrow. Even Superman must wonder how well he knows the city he protects as an unknown criminal element begins to rise throughout Metropolis.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
After reading the miniseries that was put out that lead into Bendis’ run on both Superman and Action Comics, I was definitely curious but figured I’d trade-wait for it. But with the books now showing up on the DC Universe service, I find myself able to do just the year-delayed approach to it and I’m more than fine with it. Bendis is firing on all cylinders for me on the Superman book but Action Comics feels a little off still in this issue, as it hasn’t quite grounded itself yet and is moving in a few different ways. What does help is that Patrick Gleason’s artwork looks fantastic, especially his kind of shoulder-heavy gruff Clark Kent that we get in a few panels. There’s a lot to like with his take on Metropolis in general and the cast as a whole so there’s plenty to enjoy going through the book.
The main premise that this one is following is figuring out what’s going on with the whole Superman doing bad things gig. We know it’s not the real Superman starting fires and with this issue we also know he’s not dropping low-level criminals from the sky to splat on the ground. Goode is reporting that based on multiple eyewitness reports but Perry White isn’t going to report it since there’s footage of Superman in Seattle with the Justice League. Of course, the timing of having Clark come in just after that is awkward, but he does travel fast. There’s some good stuff here in White trying to push Goode toward being more of a journalist but his having Clark shadow her with a second view to investigate has Clark uncertain. Discovering that Perry used to have Lois do that to him is a nice little blow though and you can totally see Perry doing just that.
What we get beyond that is a little convoluted, such as the Guardian going after Boss Moxie for faking the Superman stuff but himself getting beaten to a pulp and hospitalized by the Red Cloud. That has Maggie Sawyer starting to put pieces together but she’s got a long way to go. More interesting is the time we spend with Goode as she meets her criminal underworld contact about what she needs to ensure her cover more as a reporter with some kryptonite from the mysterious benefactor running things. Goode’s being brought in to deal with a number of issues in Metropolis and provide cover for this group is an interesting angle and she’s certainly looking to do a good job with it. I love the artwork in these scenes but part of it just had me wanting to go back and re-read the last issue again to see what I missed more than anything else.
Action Comics obviously has plenty of potential with what it can explore in Clark’s life and its focus on Metropolis and all that goes on in there. Bendis has some good pieces in play but with me just dropping in with the last issue over a year ago, stepping into this one just didn’t connect as well as I’d have liked. The Lois subplot has me feeling weird about it based on how she left, Perry’s grumpiness tracks well for me, and Clark handling things in the bar as he does the hard work of a journalist is spot on and delightful to watch – as was his going into space to smash an asteroid to deal with some of his frustration. Patrick Gleason has some great looking stuff throughout here but his takes on Goode and Clark are definitely my favorites throughout. I’m looking forward to seeing more, but the Superman book is where I’m really excited for the moment.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: DC Comics via DC Universe
Release Date: August 22nd, 2018