Review – Action Comics #1001 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artwork: Patrick Gleason
Colours: Brad Anderson & Alejandro Sanchez
Letters: Josh Reed
Release Date: 25th July 2018

Superman continues his investigation into who is setting the fires in Metropolis with Deputy Chief Moore discovering a far more sinister plot unravelling beneath the surface.  The Daily Planet is in trouble, a situation which is not exactly being helped by the loss of their best reporter, and more than a few people are eyeing Clark as the catalyst for her departure.

Brian Michael Bendis is really giving us the Superman fans have been clamouring for since his replacement with the younger, brasher version during Flashpoint.  We’re seeing a hero with godlike strength who is always composed and reliable. A hero who, even when the easiest thing to do would be to instil fear, chooses instead to turn a young person’s mistake into a learning moment.  This is the Superman that we remember, the man who promotes strength and conviction through his deeds and never feels cheesy for doing it.

The story itself builds a little more on some of the Planet’s extended cast.  As his co-workers become increasingly suspicious of Clark’s part in Lois’s disappearance we see them manoeuvre around him, trying to gather information and, just like that, his work place has become unsafe.  We’re also given a glimpse of a powerful new adversary with a dangerous new power set.

Patrick Gleason is back on art duties this issue and it’s a joy to see him bring Bendis’ version of the Man of Steel to life.  Being no stranger to Superman we are treated to some gorgeously illustrated pages of Superman posing in iconic fashion.  And whether it’s speaking to a citizen or soaring through the air, he truly looks majestic here.  We also get to see something that a lot of other artists don’t do, namely the difference between Superman and Clark.  As the Man of Steel we see him stand upright with a heroic pose but as Clark he hunches himself over, looking noticeably smaller and less intense as a result.

Brad Anderson and Alejandro Sanchez share duties on colours this issue and provide a consistently expressive and vibrant Metropolis.  The skies shine a deep blue and there is some expert use of light and shadow to really add depth to the visuals.  The panels featuring the newly uncovered threat almost feel like a different book as the colours change to reflect the darkness on the page, a suffocating and oppressive crimson red.

This latest chapter was as much about tying together some loose ends and wrapping up red herrings as it was about revealing the true threat to come, a fact which only reminds us that there is still a ways to go.  Clark is being attacked on multiple fronts and it is rare that we get to see him so vulnerable.

This issue is a little less action packed than previous chapters, but it doing a stellar job of adding lore and developing the world around Clark in truly a fascinating way.  The creative team are working well at giving us a balanced view of Metropolis and the issue certainly benefits from the return of the super talented Patrick Gleason.  It’s still too soon to predict just how this tale will unravel but with Bendis at the helm we can be sure it’ll be an interesting ride.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Dave MacPhail
Dave Tweets from @ShinKagato

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