Action Comics #1009 is finally here and after last months cliffhanger I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this issue.
Before we dive in, lets checkout the covers. Interior artist Steve Epting has created a really eye catching cover that really captures iconic elements within Superman lore that I just love. Of course I’m talking about the chest emblem reveal along with ricocheting bullets, classic elements that I can’t get enough of on a Superman cover. Steve Epting is great at marrying up covers within a run, however this cover as great as it is isn’t a true reflection of this issue at all. Even Amanda Waller’s proclamation on the cover doesn’t really reflect Amanda in the issue.
For the variant cover, Francis Manapul has created one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve ever seen. This cover just pops off the shelf and jumps into your hands. I love the dynamic pose married up with Superman’s heat vision. The blue of Superman’s suit really reminds me of Christopher Reeve’ s costume from Superman: The Movie which I just adore. This cover is absolutely gorgeous and would look great as a pin up piece on anyone’s wall. This cover really benefits from DC Comics initiative to minimise cover logos in an effort to accentuate the artwork.
Action Comics #1009 in my opinion is very much the calm before the storm. This issue is full of great character exchanges and exposition, however hardly features any action whatsoever, well with the exception of a right hook delivered by an irate Pulitzer Prize winner. Now If I had heard about the total lack of conflict in this issue before reading it, it may have been quite low down on my read list for the week, however thanks to Brian Micheal Bendis’s dynamic character interaction, Action Comics #1009 is a thoroughly entertaining issue that is hard to put down.
This issue takes place almost entirely within the Fortress of Solitude as Superman and Lois play host to Jimmy Olsen and more disturbingly an unconscious Amanda Waller. With ‘The Wall’ soon coming to, Amanda recounts how she fled the scene of the previous issues events, and described just why she came to the Man Of Steel while also losing one of her biggest trump cards in the process. This whole recap segment was totally absorbing, especially because we get to see just how resourceful and dangerous Amanda can be when her back is against the wall and all bets are off. As we return to the present, the animosity between Lois and Amanda is palpable. I love how Bendis writes both characters in this issue. Amanda is so calm and level headed, totally focusing on the problem at hand, while Lois is totally irate and becoming increasingly so probably due to Amanda’s level-headed mindset.
Amanda isn’t the only character with steely determination in this issue. After learning the name of the enemy ‘Leviathan’ and the true extent of what they are capable of, Superman takes up the investigation for himself. Clark’s interaction with Alfred in the Batcave is a highlight of the issue. I love how respectful Clark is towards Alfred when addressing him and how he recognises Alfred’s worth, and truly appreciates what the man does and has sacrificed . It really takes you back to that ‘respect your elders’ mentality I’m sure was instilled in Clark at an early age by Ma and Pa Kent.
Clark’s investigation into Leviathan leads him not only to Gotham but to the site of one of Leviathan’s previous attacks, that of D.E.O headquarters or whats left of it. Director Bones’ exchange with Superman is chilling, you can really feel the hurt and pain radiating off him, a character who shows very little in the way of emotion. The fact that someone can interpret our beloved heroes motives as something dark, twisted and corrupt is frightening. Its a reminder that everyone views things differently, and l love that Superman within the DC Universe is seen in so many different ways, after all an Alien with powers beyond measure will always be a divisive subject certainly among those in a seat of power.
As Clark returns to the Fortress of Solitude things get a little thin regarding another clandestine group operating within the DC Universe – Spyral and their potential ties to Leviathan. The leap our characters make in profiling Spyral as potentially being behind Leviathan is way too convenient for me and rather flimsy. None the less Lois and Clark believe this hunch to be too strong to look past, so begin to embark on a undercover mission like no other. Enter Andi and Chaz – Agents of Spyral !
Like I said this is a very strong issue let down perhaps only by its rather weak ending. The determining factor behind Spyral’s potential guilt is their secretive nature and the fact that their base of operation is abandoned. This is way too thin a leap for me and very unsubstantial. Mentioned earlier, Amanda Waller isn’t the only one being hosted at the Fortress of Solitude. Jimmy Olsen is also present at the Fortress throughout this whole issue and I must say he contributed very little. There really was no point in him featuring as he didn’t add anything which was slightly disappointing . While looking over a recovering General Sam Lane another of Leviathan’s targets, Superman runs into The Question who is also investigating Leviathan. I love the addition of The Question in this issue as the character really adds a crime noir, pulp sensibility to proceedings.
Brian Micheal Bendis who has come under some criticism recently for his portrayal of Lois got the character absolutely spot on in this issue. Lois is every bit the ferocious lioness simply protecting her pride from a dangerous predator who has strayed into her home. I love this version of Lois and she has definitely been missed by me. Since Bendis has taken over the helm on Superman and Action Comics I’ve really enjoyed the different facets of the character that we are getting to see. In the pages of Superman we witness a much more emotional side to the character while here in Action Comics specifically this issue we get a much more measured, almost more ‘matured’ side of Superman. I love how we see so many different facets to the character across these two wonderful titles.
Steve Epting’s artwork continues to get better and better. I really enjoy his more ‘mature’ take on the character which definitely marries up to the writers vision. I really love how Epting conveys Superman’s speed and movement. In this issue Superman does a lot of taking off, flying and landing which is executed flawlessly. The sense of movement is almost like watching a live action scene and at super speed which is no easy feat I imagine.
Although this issue wasn’t as fast paced and action packed as the others, it is still very enjoyable to learn and see the different sides of our beloved characters. Where will Levathian Rises go next?