Action Comics #1016
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Symon Kudranski
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
In general, Action comics has been mostly a prologue and companion piece to Event Leviathan. However, there have been some hints at other elements outside Leviathan that started in Brian Michael Bendis’ Action Comics that will most likely fuel stories going forward. The Red Cloud has been one of Superman’s newest villains that has been highlighted in the title. She is secretly Robinson Goode, a fellow Daily Planet employee, and is connected to a different secret criminal organization (outside the realm of Leviathan). The Red Cloud was recently given a power boost, thanks to Lex Luthor,
The story here is Superman vs Red Cloud, that is about it. However, it is more focused on how the media and populace sees Superman after the aftermath of a battle. Much of the story is told through “people on the street” and how they view Superman. Brain Michael Bendis’ creation Naomi also shows up here and is introduced to the Justice League as a whole. Batman is cautious about having her get too much into the thick of things, but is shown to trust her and her powers eventually.
I liked this issue. It was nice getting a different perspective on how the public views Superman, even if we have seen comics like this in the past. It is a nice way for Brian Michael Bendis to further explore his thesis on what makes Superman. It is not new to say that the writer can get a little wordy, and his style just works with the trappings of this particular story. The people on the street have a very clear view of Superman, and it is nice to see them full of hope and love for their icon. It also was a great way to show how dangerous The Red Cloud is and made her a much more menacing villain that she has been in the past. It was also nice to see Naomi cross over more outside her own title. Her interactions with Batman were well paced and written. Batman knows a thing or two about working with younger superheroes and it was believable in how he treated her. Out of the two Bendis Superman comics (Superman and Action Comics) I have always found Superman to have a clearer vision and Action Comics has been dragging for me. This week, Action Comics steps up its game and is a compelling read and worth picking up again.
Symon Kudranski was a great choice on art here. His style plays a bit more in realism than the normal exaggerated look in superhero comics. Since this is a story that mostly focuses on media coverage it hits harder this way. The layouts of the battles in the background and small panels of reactions (almost like TV in Dark Knight Returns or a small Youtube video window) pulls the pages together nicely. The battles between Superman and The Red Cloud actually seem dynamic and real, a hard feat when your hero is fighting what amounts to red smoke. When it moves away from the battle, the scenes with the Justice League are grounded nicely. Even with the change of tone the mood stays stable throughout.