On any other day, Action Comics #1021 could easily have been part of a huge summer crossover event. All the major players are present from both sides of the moral compass. This includes the team of Young Justice who find themselves front and centre on the cover alongside none other than Superman.
The main cover for this issue is by interior artist John Romita Jr who has created a very heroic looking piece that features Young Justice taking flight with Superman in the lead. Straight off the bat, this is a really fun piece. Superman’s intensity certainly matches the severity of the situation at hand, this is matched by the returning Conner Kent who looks better than ever especially now he is reunited with his classic 90’s attire. I’m not entirely sure how Jinny Hex, Impulse and Drake are keeping up considering none of these characters can fly certainly to my knowledge anyway, but that all adds to the fun and charm.
The variant cover is created by Lucio Parillo. Lucio Parillo’s art style for this cover instantly reminds me of the legendary works created by Greg and Tim Hildebrandt. This cover is much more in alignment with the fantasy genre as opposed to traditional comics. This is an all round treat for me. I love to see different art styles utilized to depict our beloved characters, this way you are guaranteed to experience the familiar with an entirely new twist. This is certainly represented on this cover as Superman effortlessly repels an adversaries bullets. I am totally in love with this cover.
The battle of Shuster Park appears to be at an end as our heroes are seemingly defeated, all while Leviathan Island hangs perilously above Metropolis. This whole sequence of events takes up the majority of the issue and I for one was gripped from start to finish. I recently waxed lyrical about Bendis’ aptitude for allowing sequences and set pieces alike to evolve and play out unencumbered.
These pages certainly benefit from this format as our heroes and villains converse. This is certainly the case for Superman and Lex, as these two arch rivals engage in a very heated exchange. Lex in his now familiar ‘apex’ form is so much more cruel and arrogant than ever before. The disdain that radiates off of Lex in waves is palpable as it is aimed seemingly to all those around him, specifically Superman. In regards to this volatile exchange, John Romita Jr’s artwork really conveys Superman’s heightened state of emotion. This truly is Superman at the end of his tether. Witnessing Superman in this state while succumbing to one of Luthor’s minions is truly harrowing.
This issue isn’t all about heated exchanges as Young Justice, specifically Superboy AKA Connor Kent heroically takes the fight to Lex one last time. Seeing Young Justice back and at the heart of The DC Universe is a total delight. I’ve been a fan of these characters ever since they debuted as Teen Titans back in 2003 written by Geoff Johns. Conner Kent has always been a popular and integral part of the Superman family who was sorely missed during most of DC Comics ‘Rebirth’ era. Seeing Conner fight tooth and nail in the name of Superman is awe-inspiring. I cannot wait to see these two converse further in the issues to come.
The human condition is truly at the heart of this issue as growth, emotion, aspiration, conflict and mortality are all on display and indeed challenged on more than one occasion. This issue truly showcases the good in all of us however far we may have strayed off of the righteous path. The adage ‘Every villain is a hero of his or her own story’ is often used in the superhero / comic genre. Well, this theme is certainly illustrated in this issue when its concerning Mark Shaw AKA Leviathan.
Leviathan believes whole-heartedly that he is the hero of this story. Leviathan’s actions towards both The Legion and The League are intriguing to say the least. There is a real pious tone to Leviathan’s speech. This is a natural born leader who delivers every sentence with unyielding conviction. It will be interesting to see just who exactly will start to see things from Leviathan’s point of view as time goes on.
Leviathan or Mark Shaw, however you wish to address him is an extremely complex and layered individual. I am honestly captivated every time this character makes an appearance. I always love to hear what he has to say. This is thanks to Bendis and the captivating dialogue he writes for the character.
The issue comes to a close in a very natural and organic manner. Some characters in this issue have certainly drawn their line in the sand, while others have showcased all new facets to their personality that I cannot wait to see further develop. Action Comics #1021 is a real dialogue tour de force in my opinion. For much of this issue it’s the eye of the storm. The calm in between catastrophe. This is where our beloved heroes and villains express themselves.
The dialogue in this issue is amazing. Everyone displays their true colours however pushed to the limit they find themselves. Bendis is constantly pushing our characters and allowing them to react and develop naturally. John Romita Jr artwork is at it’s very best in this issue. Be it the characters themselves or their environments, Action Comics #1021 is full of detail that took me right back to the his run on Spiderman, which is still some of his most acclaimed work to date.
Action Comics #1021 is a superb read and perfect ending to this story-arc. Having Bendis team up with John Romita Jr on this run has really added prestige to a story-arc that was worthy of being a company wide crossover event. Well done to all at DC Comics for keeping this as intimate and personal as it was while keeping the stakes as high as possible. I for one cannot wait to see what Bendis and co has in store for us next.
Haven’t picked up your issue of Action Comics #1021 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 Lucio Parillo, you can pick that up here.
Alternatively, due to the current crazy climate, you should be supporting your local comic shop as much as you can. Check out www.comicshoplocator.com to find your nearest store, they may even deliver!