Action Comics #1024
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: John Romita Jr
Inker: Klaus Janson
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Action Comics has been all over the place since Bendis took over. While Superman’s self-titled book has been focused, Action Comics has flipped from style to style and story to story. Most notably was Action Comics’ love affair with the Leviathan storyline. However, the title has now shifted focus, again, and seems to be something with a clearer purpose. Conner Kent’s return has now come into the Superman Family. The only constant in this book, The Red Mist, is also lurking in the background here along with The Daily Planet’s major issues (pun intended).
The main focus here is The Daily Planet being under FBI investigation. The criminal organization responsible for The Red Mist has also been controlling The Daily Planet, which puts the organization in hot water. Superman and the two Superboys (Conner and Jon) arrive at Clark’s workplace to help smooth out the conflict. The Red Mist also pulls off her most evil deed yet, bringing things back from the start of Bendis’ Action Comics run. The story seems to be leading towards a final conflict between The Red Mist and the Superman Family.
This is part 3 of the arc, but it feels like the introduction to a brand new story. Conner Kent rejoining the family has already been settled, and Bendis is trying to wrap everything up (he is leaving the title soon). Bendis does a decent job tying his messy Action Comics run together in this single issue and making it feel like a whole. There is even a sly hint that Leviathan is done with and that entire fiasco will be dropped for the foreseeable future (thank goodness). The problem with this comic is it is simply not exciting enough. Sure there is a fairly major event, for this run, but overall it is just The Daily Bugle. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy exploring the side stories and characters of any given title, but this is played out. The Daily Bugle always seems to be under the influence of someone or something. The Red Mist’s criminal organization would have been interesting if Leviathan didn’t sidetrack it. Now it is like Bendis is trying to make us care about a thread that was not fully developed. It is another issue of Action Comics that is not that bad, but not that great either. A microcosm of Bendis’ entire run on Superman so far.
The art continues to disappoint. I just don’t think JRJR is meant for Superman. His quirky art style works with Spider-Man perfectly, but everything looks “off” on a Superman title. There is one exception where the quality swing in the exact opposite direction. It is almost as if you could tell where JRJR started having fun. There is a double-page spread at the end of the book that is one of the coolest drawings of the Superman Family yet. other than that it is a substandard issue in the art department.