Action Comics #1018 is here and what a wonderful issue it is. Brian Michael Bendis is joined once again by legendary artist John Romita Jr as the pair bring to us part two of their epic ‘Metropolis Doom’ story-arc.
John Romita Jr not only brings his considerable talents to the interior pages of Action Comics but contributes his skills to the main cover too. The main cover sees the Justice League line-up in a quintessential pose. This piece doesn’t entirely marry up to the overall feel of the issue, but does deliver a powerful image. I love how defiant The League looks. Superman looks very commanding as he takes centre stage.
I can’t begin to tell you how pleased I was to learn that Gabriele Dell’Otto would be creating the variant cover for this issue and believe me, I am not disappointed. Dell’Otto has created a very powerful piece that sees Superman showcase his strength and capacity for destruction. Being reminded of Superman’s full potential when unfettered is a scary sight, but a welcome reminder as we now enter into potential dangerous territory due to Superman relinquishing his secret identity.
Straight off the bat, I adore the way this issue is structured. Action Comics #1018 is very much carved up into clear, precise sections that chronicle a plethora of events that not only answer key questions from the past, but also build towards the future. All this occurs while making that all important connection with Superman #18 which I believe is crucial. The issue opens up with the now familiar sight of The Legion of Doom dominating The League inside of Shuster Park. This event is being chronicled in the most familiar of ways, via Tweet. This is very clever as it mirrors exactly how we discover and track events that occur in the real world.
As the issue progresses we travel back in time, six months in fact to the birth of one Action Comics biggest mysteries. This whole sequence is given the appropriate amount of time to breathe and evolve organically. For such a big mystery, I really believe we got a satisfying conclusion that leaves the door open for even more facets to be explored.
The artwork in this section is phenomenal. Epic displays of energy use and power dispersal make for a blockbuster sequence of events. This sensibility continues into the next section of the issue as we find ourselves back in Shuster Park amidst the conflict between The Legion and The League. By this point, the destruction engulfing Metropolis is catastrophic. Luthor’s power levels seem limitless as he holds his own against The Man of Steel. I love the dark symmetry between these arch-rivals.
So far, Lex has played little to no part in either Action Comics or Superman title during the Bendis era. The ease in which he is inserted back into the fold as it were is testament to how integral a component Lex is to Superman’s mythology. Not only do we bare witness to the further destruction of Metropolis at the hands of Luthor and his Legion, but to those willing to put their lives on the line in defense of it. This of course can mean only one thing – Deputy Fire Chief Melody Moore.
The sight of seeing Melody Moore in the thick of it rubbing shoulders with Superman amidst the chaos of it all is totally inspiring. This proves to be a masterful segue as we are transported two days back in time to a meeting between Melody Moore and Clark Kent which was set up in the previous issue. The exchange between these two staunchest of allies is the highlight of the issue in my opinion. The dialogue exquisitely touches upon the events that take place during Superman #18. Not only that, but the reader also bears witness as Melody Moore makes a monumental decision regarding her career that will hopefully impact the pages of Action Comics and Superman title for years to come. This conversation is totally honest and full of truth. The trust these two share is truly palpable.
As the issue comes to an end, Melody and Clark’s conversation is abruptly halted by the arrival of the Legion of Doom. Its here that we discover that we are now at the very beginning of our story, more specifically the conflict between The Legion and The League. Action Comics #1018 is an absolute masterpiece as we effortlessly skip back and forth through time learning important information at every turn. Bendis has crafted an intricate tapestry that houses a plethora of events that shape our characters indelibly.
Melody Moore and Robinson Goode in particular get real time to shine in this issue. The character development, specifically for these two newly created characters is superb. This will be the issue we look back on as a real turning point for both of them. I for one cannot wait to see what the future holds for these characters alongside the likes of Superman as he enters into a brand new era.
Haven’t picked up your issue of Action Comics #1018 yet? You can pick up the standard cover by John Romita Jr here (UK), or here (US). Or if you prefer the variant cover by Gabriele Dell’Otto you can pick that up here.