This weeks comics are finally here. New Comic Book Day has geeks worldwide excited to pick up and read the latest comic books, myself included. In a new feature on my blog, I will be briefly reviewing the comic books that I pick up, and sharing my thoughts on the issue, it’s artwork and the book overall. Welcome to the first installment.
This week, I picked up two comic books (I know, amateur numbers for some comic collectors and readers). The first, Action Comics #1003 by Brian Bendis, and the second, the highly anticipated Heroes In Crisis #1, by Tom King.
Action Comics #1003
Let’s start with the covers – including it’s variants. Firstly, the standard cover is dramatic as anything and although it does emphasize the actual story of the issue, it is spectacular. The colouring really adds to the dramatic effect, as does the shadowing.
Then in addition to this great cover, there are two variant’s. The one on the left is by Francis Manapul, and the one on the right by David Mack. On Manapul’s cover, I love the use of the classic suits both shown on Superman and Batman. As for David Mack’s cover, WOW. Each week, I look forward to seeing his work up close. Every week he has provided absolutely beautiful covers which feature our beloved Man of Steel in the most perfect way. I love the water-colour and colour splash effect, and although the colours aren’t exactly bold, the shading really makes up for it. I look forward to seeing what else David Mack brings to these covers.
As for the story, it just leaves us with more questions rather than answers. Bendis is very good at creating cliffhangers and plot twists, and that has shown in his writing throughout the Man Of Steel mini-series and his run on Action Comics and Superman so far. Ms Goode finally gets her hands on some Kryptonite and without thinking shoves it in her purse and takes it to her workplace – The Daily Planet. Of course, Clark falls sick as he reacts to the fatal weapon being close-by and using his x-ray vision sees the rock in her handbag. He calls a friend for help – Batman, who “mugs” Ms Goode (her words) and takes the Kryptonite away from her. She thinks there must be a leak who snitched on her to Batman, and heads back to the bar she got it from. As things heat up, the mysterious red cloud appears and immediately kills Candy, her supplier, as Superman arrives before it got to Ms Goode.
Now, I have so many questions… what does Ms Goode want with Kryptonite? Why hasn’t Superman or Batman confronted her about it? What history does Candy have with Superman that she knows what words he listens out for? Ms Goode is a very complex character and she is a scarily good actress too… did you see her face change whilst she was hugging Superman? That wasn’t fear, that was manipulation and deceit – What is she planning?
The final cliffhanger (I’m getting used to them), is Lex Luthor turning up on Lois’ doorstep! As she answers, she asks “how did you find me?”. How did he find her?! What does he want with Lois? I guess we will have to wait until next time to find out.
The artwork is cartoonistic, but is sometimes quite dark in colour in certain areas , but I think that matches the storyline well. Overall the story is a good stepping stone to unveiling the upcoming plot, but it just leaves us asking more questions than solving them. There is good character development as Ms Goode becomes even more complex every time we read about her. Superman is his classic self, even after knowing that she had obtained Kryptonite for whatever reason, he doesn’t ask, just treats her with respect and care – just as Superman would. It is too easy to admire him for that, I certainly wouldn’t be ignoring the issue and I would probably throw a little shade.
Three words… OH MY GOD!
First lets talk about the cover by Clay Mann… I only got myself the standard cover, and even that is stunning. It’s deep, extremely detailed and perfectly toned. I have heard a lot of people ask why DC included the heroes on the cover mourning, when they are the ones who were killed. Well, I think they did it so nobody could guess who it was going to be, to keep the mystery alive. A simple, yet clever tactic, although it would have been good for people to guess and speculate prior to reading it who it could have been.
For a first issue, it was a fantastic read! I have never read anything so quickly, I was just eager to find out more and get some answers! It’s really well written and the story-telling is stellar. I love the use of the confessional tapes, it’s a really nice touch!
I just want to know more! Although it seems there are so many deaths already, and no explanation at all. Not only are there multiple deaths of lesser known charcters, but there is one huge character death! Who would have done this!? Here are a list of confirmed deaths so far; Hotspot, Blue Jay, Lagoon Boy, Citizen Steel, Arsenal and THE FLASH! But this is just a scratch on the surface, I am positive more deaths will be revealed as the story progresses. Why do I think this? Well, look at the number of corpses outside the Sanctuary!
Like Action Comics, I have so many questions! What do we know about The Sanctuary? Was it the Kryptonian Robot? Could it have been corrupted? Just so many possibilities at this stage, I need to know more. We know that Booster Gold saw this coming, and that Harley Quinn is really annoyed about something, but what? Now it’s time for the trinity to use their detective skills to stop the person behind it.
I love the story because it’s different to what I’ve been reading recently. It also makes our heroes that little bit more human. And it’s a great idea, especially with the awareness of mental health and seeking help increasing, I feel like this is a great through and nod to that – although, it doesn’t go to plan! The idea of the world’s finest superheroes needed to seek help in a sanctuary which helps them deal with the things they have seen and problems they have, I think it’s brilliant. Even Superheroes go through shit, and need others to help deal with it.
The artwork is on another level. It’s so realistic in style and colouring, and it perfectly goes with the tone of the issue. I think if it was more cartoonistic, it would really spoil it, especially for such a serious and grounded issue/story. My favourite page is the one where the holy trinity (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman) are communicating with each other when Superman first sees the carnage. It is beautiful, and that standard of artwork continues throughout.
Overall, this is a perfect first issue, and I cannot wait to read more about it! It’s a different take and gritty story for the heroes, especially Superman, but it’s really refreshing to read. Bravo Mr King, I am hooked already!