REVIEW: Action Comics #1010

With Leviathan continuing to rain down destruction upon the DC Universe it has become clear that this looks like a job for…..Chaz and Andi – Agents of Spyral!? Well, before we dive into this issue of Action Comics lets check out the covers.

Interior artist Steve Epting has created a very James Bond inspired piece of art for the cover. This cover art really reminds me of the Bond movie ‘Live and Let Die and I absolutely love it. Seeing Superman operating in the world of espionage has felt very new and exciting to me, and this cover radiates espionage and clandestine affairs and I really like it. Even the colour of Superman’s suit looks darker than usual iterations. Maybe this is supposed to fit into the overall darker tone of this story arc, either way I love it.

Action Comics #1010 cover

The variant cover for this issue is created by Francis Manapul and to me is very art deco inspired, certainly with the birds soaring over the city. I love the subtle beams of light radiating around Superman, it is beautiful. This is another magnificent pin up piece by an artist who really understands the character and what works best for him.

action comics 1010 variant cover

Action Comics #1010 opens up with an interrogation of a very defiant Director Bones regarding the attack on DEO headquarters. This is a very agitated, passive-aggressive confrontation that deteriorates rapidly as an actual representative of Leviathan is in attendance. This is a very wise move for me as we have only felt Leviathan via their destructive acts of violence, which have been truly terrifying. But Leviathan using an actual agent on the ground infiltrating a heavily policed area adds so much to the fear and shows just how far can Leviathan’s reach be felt. Now that is a scary thought and so it should be.

I love the espionage aesthetic and noir tone used to create these scenes by artist Steve Epting. Even though we are well within the Superhero genre these scenes feel very realistic and grounded.  This is subtly accentuated via Director Bones portrayal in these scenes. Bones’ usual eccentric persona gives way to a character very much in pain. A character hurting and that hurt radiates off the page. Bones is raging, hurting and defiant all at once and fully believes that he has let down his people, people under his protection and that is just tragic. Up until now, Bones has been a character that I’ve had no real feelings towards, but in these pages I felt for this character.  I’m very much invested in where Director Bones goes from here certainly in terms of retribution against Leviathan.

Bones’ reaction is exactly what the opening of this book needed. This book is dealing with extreme acts of terror and for that terror to hit home, it needs to effect our characters. Effecting Bones seeming nonchalant persona may seem like a small thing, but moving the seemingly unmovable is a statement. Bones isn’t the only character effected. Seeing Amanda Waller completely change her ethics by looking to Superman for help was a massive blow to the character, and a huge statement regarding just how serious things have got. Waller going to Superman for help, this is the ultimate last resort.

As the issue moves foward we pick up the story in London England where Lois and Clark disguised as Chaz and Andi – Agents of Spyral look to infiltrate said organisation in the hopes of discovering more about Leviathan. Regarding Chaz and Andi, I wasn’t sure if Brian Micheal Bendis had newly created these aliases for Lois and Clark or if they were already established within Superman canon. I certainly wasn’t familiar with the concept, but very much welcomed the banter between them as the couples dialogue informed the reader of just how these aliases came to be. The addition of the traditional DC Comics title page featuring cast list and portraits was a very nice touch. These pages were common place and used for years within titles across the board. Not seen too often in recent years, this page definitely indicates to me that Chaz and Andi are a Brian Micheal Bendis creation.

These pages are just glorious to behold. I myself am a Londoner and seeing London as the backdrop for a Superman story is so exciting for me. I am so grateful for Artist Steve Epting’s realistic style. The detail the artist puts into the city is of such high quality. The iconic London skyline looks beautiful as the artist highlights monuments such as the London eye, The Shard and St Pauls Cathedral. Colourist Brad Anderson does the most magnificent job of bringing to London nightlife to life. The warmth of the light radiates out of the streets and makes the night sky glow. The twinkling of the lights in the office blocks adds so much detail to the pages.

As Lois and Clark’s liaison with their Spyral informant begins to boil over, the trio are interrupted by Leviathan and their chief architect of destruction. Superman meets this threat head on with explosive repercussions. These pages bring the issue to a close and in very cinematic fashion. Bendis allows the artwork to speak for itself as dialogue is absent from these pages. Bendis has a storied history of allowing his artists work to convey the story and the artwork really does that in this whole issue specifically during these last few pages. The speed and power of Superman are so pronounced during this epic encounter with Leviathan’s agent of destruction. Steve Epting once again captures the sheer force and magnitude of destructive powers that cultivates a feeling of both dread and awe all at once. The inclusion of ‘Kirby Crackle’ is a fine addition as this issue comes to a close as the mystery behind Leviathan continues.

This issue was absolutely magnificent and a pleasure to read. Bendis really is upping the stakes with each issue. Leviathan feel mysterious yet very dangerous. The fact that Amanda Waller has ran to Superman for aid and is essentially under his protection shows just how dangerous the world has become, and thanks to Steve Epting’s artwork, highly realistic. Brad Anderson only adds to that realism. Anderson’s colours add texture to every page. From the hue of the police sirens to the glow of a dimly lit room or night sky. The mood is so pronounced and adds to the tone of the story.

Bendis is crafting something truly special within the pages of Action Comics. I for one cannot wait to see what comes next.

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