Action Comics #1014 is here and after the events of the last issue I have been eagerly awaiting the ramifications of The Red Mist’s upgrade – thanks to Lex Luthor.
Well, the wait is over instantaneously as the cover showcases a confident Red Mist attacking Superman. The cover text introduces her brand new alias. This cover is created by Brandon Peterson, and really delivers a horror feel as Robson Goode’s alter ego appears more like a demon as she wraps herself around a prone Man of Steel. Superman’s facial expression is that of pure terror, which only adds to the horror.
Artist Ben Oliver has created an absolutely incredible, awe-inspiring piece for the variant cover. I love how Ben Oliver’s art style is totally realistic. The vertical lines in the foreground really add a sense of trajectory and impact. It feels as though Superman has just landed on the roof of The Planet. I love this piece and I wish I could have it framed and on my wall. It is truly epic and perfectly captures the majesty and grandeur of the Man of Steel.
I’m just going to go ahead and say it. This issue is an absolute joy to behold, so much so that I actually found it hard to put down. I loved every second of it, and that is entirely down to the thoroughly entertaining exchanges and dialogue between Perry White and Miss Leone. Not only is this issue filled with beautifully crafted interactions, but it also features a couple of incredible action sequences that makes the issue flow nicely with a consistent pace throughout.
Action Comics #1014 predominantly focuses on the conversations had between newly installed Daily Planet owner Miss Leone, Editor in chief Perry White and star reporter Clark Kent. Now the prospect of a dialogue heavy issue can be intimidating, but thanks to Bendis’ extraordinary character building and free flowing speech, the issue flows beautifully. The dialogue and exchanges featured feel totally natural and are delivered by rich and interesting characters.
At no point at all does this issue feel slow or bogged down. In fact I could have gone the whole issue with just these characters talking and interacting with one another. During this sequence, Miss Leone is presented in such a refined and elegant manner. It really does translate across that she wants the very best for The Daily Planet. She wants The Planet to not only succeed but to flourish and to thrive. This is yet another intriguing facet to Miss Leones’ character considering her more nefarious endeavors.
Perry is suitably stand-offish during the early exchanges of this encounter, however Miss Leone’s straight talking attitude and signature elegance soon prevails and wins the old school newspaperman over. Clark’s interactions with Leone are intriguing and indeed thought-provoking. It definitely felt to me like a subtler version of the old adage about the ‘unstoppable force’ and the ‘immovable object’. This conversation certainly felt like human chess to me and I absolutely loved it.
As I mentioned earlier, this issue features two magnificent action sequences. The first keeps the theme of uncovering ‘Leviathan’ very much in the readers consciousness, while the latter really does allow The Red Mist to take centre stage. The character of Robinson Goode and her alter ego have been a little hit and miss for me. There hasn’t been to much to latch onto in terms of backstory and motivation, which is still very much the case. However Robinson’s recent interactions with Miss Leone have certainly added new dimensions to her human persona. Well, after the last issue the same can now be said of her alter ego, thanks to her encounter with Lex Luthor.
Artist Szymon Kudranski really delivers in this issue. Illustrating a dialogue heavy issue such as this must be a challenge, especially keeping each panel fresh and interesting. Well, Szymon Kudranski gets it so right. “A facial expression is worth a thousand words”, so the saying goes. Well that’s definitely the case in this issue as our characters exude their thoughts and feelings via facial expressions. ‘Eyes’ play a key roll in conveying emotions in this issue and I’m so pleased Bendis allows the artists’ work to speak for itself in these instances. Szymon Kudranski’s art style in this issue is extremely realistic and grounded. This certainly lends itself to the overall tone and realistic approach utilized in the issue, and it really works.
This series really has me on tenterhooks! The cliffhangers are unbearable! And with the introduction of a new character at the very end, I am really excited to see where this goes!
Haven’t got your issue yet? You can order your copy of the standard cover by Brandon Peterson here (US), or here (UK). If it’s the variant cover by Ben Oliver that you want, you can get your copy here.