Who is The Red Cloud? Action Comics #1005 promises the answers we seek but before the mystery is unraveled lets check out the covers.
Interior artist Ryan Sook has created a very ominous looking cover as the Man of Steel is surrounded by The Red Cloud. This cover see’s Superman full of intensity and that is a scary prospect, but also a little reminder of just how dangerous Superman can be and personally speaking, I love that side of Superman.
The variant cover for this issue is by Francis Manapul and captures all the yuletide spirit of the season. The children and Superman delivering the gifts really captures a sense of joy and wonderment only the Christmas period can provide, and great timing too!
Action Comics #1005 begins in real hard boiled crime noir fashion, the same way all great crime noir stories begin, in a darkly lit bar in a shady part of town full of nefarious ne’er-do-well’s with bad intentions on their mind. The reader finds themselves witness to a meet between mafioso’ as an object of immense power is up for grabs or at least that’s what the seller wants them to believe. This shady deal is abruptly halted with the intervention of The Question in a very violent fashion.
This whole scene was totally absorbing and very compelling from start to finish. I loved the use of The Question for this sequence as the character really captures the essence and sensibilities of crime noir storytelling. Now it has to be said that for some The Question maybe an unfamiliar face, but I feel he was used in a way very reminiscent to that of Rorsach from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons Watchmen Series. The character carries himself in very similar fashion, full of intensity with a penchant for violence. The events that have just taken place are further explored over the next few pages as the reason behind the sale of such an exotic item comes to light and ties directly into just how Metropolis newest villain is perceived by the underworld.
The dense storytelling continues as the focus is shifted from the underworld to the Daily planet, as we see Clark converse with colleague Robinson Goode, and then with one of my favourite new characters, Deputy Fire Chief Melody Moore. This character is instantly likable and I find myself routing for Melody more and more with each issue. Her tenacity and bravery is infectious while her courage and need to do right is very similar to that of Superman. These similarities are exactly why I thoroughly enjoyed her exchange with Clark, as it really highlights this perfectly as both search for the truth behind the fires plaguing Metropolis as well as potential cover up by the cities most powerful. I love this story-line as it feels very grounded and more street level compared to the Earth shattering events taking place over in the Superman title. With Brian Michael Bendis at the helm, all bases are covered on the Superman front.
Interior artist Ryan Sook is one of the most talented artists in the comic industry right now, and Brian Michael Bendis lets the artist’ work speak for itself as Sook really delivers the action in the confrontation between Superman and The Red Cloud. During this Bendis’ dialogue drops to a minimum in favour of the art and I must say this decision makes each remaining page all the more impactful.
This issue was extremely dense and character driven. Brian Michael Bendis really is fantastic at disposition and dialogue, flushing out more and more of each character especially Melody Moore. The artwork for Action Comics #1005 is simply breathtaking be it action or conversation. The final pages in this issue are very cinematic and really capture the power of Superman be it speed, strength or flight. Colourist Brad Anderson once again delivers masterfully as his colours add tone and emotion to every single page especially the opening sequence with The Question. This is hands down one of the best looking books on the shelves right now.
This issue features some big reveals and I’m curious to see what happens next in Action Comics. What will Melody and Clark uncover next? What exactly has brought The Question to Metropolis?