Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Action Comics #1024 Review

Hug it Out

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson, Brad Anderson, and Dave Sharpe
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 25, 2020

After Eric was so helpful in reviewing the last issue of Action Comics for me, I am back!  Superman is ready to kick some butt, but Leone and the Invisible Mafia have prepared for this and will make this a massive fight for all the marbles.  With Jon, Connor and everyone else joining in, is it a fight for the ages?  Let's find out...

We start with a character informing Leone that Superman means business now and is actively looking for the Invisible Mafia.  Bendis pulls a trick out of his Man of Steel mini-series and has Supes look where he can't see, ie, anything lead-lined.  I thought it was smart a couple of years ago, but having Superman go back to it now makes him seem lazy or forgetful.  He is also pissed off, though, and that I don't mind seeing at all!

While this is going on, Cameron Chase and the FBI have raided the Daily Planet and, for some reason, blame Lois for Leone owning it.  It seems that goes against the "Don't Make Mistakes" policy the FBI has for Superman.  I don't quite get that since it was Lois' article that exposed it all in the first place.   We also get back to Melody Moore.  You know, the firefighter who Superman endorsed for Mayor of Metropolis.  Yea, it's been a while since we saw her, and it might be long until we see her again.

Since this is a Bendis book, we get a ton of word balloons, and a vast majority are either jokes or little asides that Bendis keeps using to "subtlety" try to convince the reader he is a Superman expert.  If he could calm down with that nonsense, this issue could have been something special.  It's still good enough; it just takes more of an effort to get through than it should.

Going back to the beginning of his time on Superman, Bendis showed an emotional Superman (he had him punching asteroids), and the best part of this issue dips back into that well.  Superman can't save everyone, but when someone close to him dies, it still hurts, whether or not he can stop a speeding bullet every day and night.  Bendis uses the moment to show that he has family and friends that will always be there for him, and now they are ready to rumble.  The issue continues and then ends with Leone realizing that the time is now to finish her fight, and #TeamSuperman is ready. 

As I said, this issue taps into a couple of things I liked from earlier in Bendis' Superman run, and if you can wade through the Bendis-speak, you might agree.  He wants to give readers jokes and wink winks at continuity (a lot of which he himself fucked up), and leaves some big things on the table.  Kara is more concerned with an invitation to the Legion she knew nothing about than finding out what a young Brainiac is doing and blows off Conner being a clone, even though that is something she usually has an issue with. Plus, while Superman is having an emotional time trying to find his friend's killers, Conner is joking about people going to the bathroom!  On top of all that, this is a setup issue that gets Superman angry as hell, but not much else.  Still, it was one of the better issues from Bendis in a while.

John Romita Jr's art was a mixed bag.  Some pages looked good, but his main character look awful... what's with the punk rock look of Melody Moore, by the way?!?!.  I still don't like his faces (what's with everyone looking like they have whiskers?  Are they trying out for Cats?), but there were some cool panels, and I didn't wince at every page, just most of them!  I know that doesn't sound like a compliment, but there you go...

Bits and Pieces:

Action Comics #1024 is good when Brian Michael Bendis stops joking around and gets emotional with Superman.  The issue gets bogged down with the usual deluge of word balloons, but Bendis is setting up a Superman that is mad as hell, and I want to be around when he can't take it anymore. 

**After Rereading this issue and talking to Eric on our Patreon Spotlight, I ended up lowering my score a bit, because the bullshit in this issue does outweigh the good.  I still think that Bendis does a good job with Superman and his emotions, but to use Melody Moore, a character we barely have seen over a year's worth of issues, does lessen it.  Plus, Bendis' dialogue is awful!!!!


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