Action Comics #1024 heralds the arrival of the third chapter in The House of Kent story-arc brought to us by the legendary creative team of Brian Micheal Bendis, John Romita Jr, Klaus Janson and Brad Anderson.
Brian Micheal Bendis has certainly pushed Superman to his limits in recent months both mentally as well as physically. Well, in this very issue Superman receives an emotional punch to the gut that will raise the stakes between himself and Miss Leone exponentially.
The main cover for this issue avoids that heart pounding moment in favor of chronicling Clark’s continued infiltration of Metropolis’ underworld. This cover certainly continues the theme of Clark revealing his secret to the world, not to mention the public’s response to the newly established status quo. The cover text doesn’t exactly make the most sense in the world, but it certainly captures the imagination.
The variant cover is created by Lucio Parillo and is a gorgeous pin up piece. There is a real European flavour to this cover, which I absolutely adore. I love to see artists from around the globe interpret these characters utilizing traditional methods. Superman looks majestic as he takes flight in this piece. I love how his cape billows around him.
The issue begins with Superman under surveillance by Miss Leone who authorises The Red Cloud to make her move against The House of Kent. In previous issues Superman has always been able to thwart The Red Cloud’s attempts at harming the ones closest to him. Sadly that’s not the case in this issue as Superman’s greatest fear comes to fruition – he’s not there in time to save someone important to him.
John Romita Jr captures every emotion during these harrowing scenes as Superman races to save a life. Remember when Superman discovers Lois in her car during the San Andreas Fault scene from Superman: The Movie? Well John Romita Jr captures that exact same energy here. My heart was pounding every step of the way as Superman erupted with emotion. This sequence of events was just so powerful. The heartbreak and sorrow radiating from The Man of Steel is truly palpable.
While this is taking place, the FBI are in the midst of seizing control of The Daily Planet building after it was revealed that it was being controlled by Miss Leone head of Metropolis’ invisible mafia. I thoroughly enjoyed this sequence of events because it really grounded the ramifications of Miss Leone transgressions and created a realistic scenario that now needs to be resolved. Perry and the rest of his employees are going to have their hands full for quite some time and that only adds layers to the world that Bendis is cultivating.
Speaking of cultivating, The House of Kent appears to be at full strength and laser focused after the tragic event that occurred earlier on. I’m not sure if Miss Leone truly understands what she has done now that The House of El are in full force and actively looking for her whereabouts. Its a joy to see the most powerful beings on the planet united and focused on a target who now thoroughly deserves everything she gets, especially after the loss Superman suffered earlier on.
The issue comes to an end with the kind of Superman that Batman is fearful of, determined and down right angry. You can just feel that something big is on the horizon. The end game is fast approaching and one side is going to be left hurting in more ways than one.
Action Comics #1024 certainly features its fair share of jovial moments thanks to Brainiac-5, Jonathan and Connor’s light hearted dialogue. However, this issue becomes deadly serious in a hurry and that intensity stays with us throughout. Miss Leone has raised the stakes to a whole new level and even though The Red Cloud scarcely features in this issue, her deeds are most certainly felt. The ramifications of which I’m sure will be felt for some time to come.
Interior artist John Romita Jr has done a good job in this issue. Our beloved heroes facial expressions and posture speak volumes. Superman has been pushed to the limit once again and doesn’t have but a second to grieve. This is evident in the way he is presented as he goes from one mission to the next. Inker Klaus Janson and colourist Brad Anderson compliment each others work perfectly, so add depth and atmosphere to every page. You can almost feel the chill in the air when The House of El soar through the sky.
Bendis has truly cultivated a rivalry for the ages. Miss Leone is certainly not Lex Luthor ‘Light’. She is a fierce predator in her own right who controls her envionment with ease and precision. She is a master tactician who has the guts to press the kill switch when the need arises without so much as batting an eyelid. With that said I am very excited to see what happens in the next issue!