REVIEW: Action Comics #1011

Action Comics #1011 is upon us and I find myself counting down the days to the release of this title every single month. Brian Bendis and Steve Epting are building something truly special with implications that I’m sure will effect the DC Universe for some time. Before we dive into this issue, lets take a look at the covers.

Interior artist Steve Epting has created a very metaphorical cover, as we witness Superman single-handedly taking on the weight of Leviathan. It rests upon his shoulders in the form of an imposing amount of concrete with the word Leviathan etched into it, it is epic. Seeing Superman almost brought to his knees is incredibly sobering and shows just how big a threat Leviathan is perceived to be. This is a very thought provoking cover that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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Superstar artist Francis Manapul has created yet another fantastic variant cover for this series. This cover is very much the positive aspect of what is being depicted on the regular cover. In my opinion, Francis Manapul’s cover shows Superman pushing through the pain and confidently rising the weight of Leviathan off of his shoulders and taking it into his stride. Lois and especially Jimmy’s facial expressions add a real sense of awe in the face of Superman’s extraordinary feat of physical strength and intestinal fortitude displayed. The colouring on this cover is just gorgeous. I love the contrast between the startlingly bright background and the purples that depict Lois and Jimmy in the shadow of the weight lifted above Clark’s head.

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Action Comics #1011 opens up with a bang as Maggie Sawyer leads a task force set to apprehend Kate Spencer. Kate Spencer of course was the mysterious ‘Lawyer’ questioning Director Bones after the destruction of DEO headquarters. These opening pages are incredible, featuring very hard hitting combat reminiscent to that of the film – The Raid. The combat is brutal, violent and captures a very tangible ‘whatever it takes’ mentality from the target who’s true identity is finally revealed. Seeing such grounded combat only adds to the realistic, gritty tone of this story arc. Seeing Maggie Sawyer again is an absolute treat for me. Maggie is an honest cop who has been all over the DC Universe not only working for the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit but GCPD too.

As the issue moves on we find ourselves back in London moments after Superman’s explosive encounter with an agent of Leviathan. We find Superman frantically searching for Lois who has disappeared during all the confusion, however of course Lois being Lois finds herself gaining yet more Intel that could bring down one of DC Comics’ most infamous organisations. This whole scene is just typical, quintessential Lois Lane. I love how the character just takes everything in her stride, the most chaotic of circumstances and Lois still manages to maintain a level head and finds herself with the scoop of the century.

Facial expressions play a big part during these exchanges as the characters involved namely Lois and Spyral operative – Tiger – are making bold decisions that could change their lives forever. Tiger has some incredible dialogue in this issue. I thoroughly enjoyed the character especially his intensity and dramatic way of delivering lines. Tiger delivers a specific line to Lois that is just so epic and really compounds the fact that times are changing, and that there is most definitely a changing of the guard a foot. You really do get a sense that this story-line is changing the status quo of the DC Universe.

So far this issue has been very intense, and its actually a welcome respite when we find a moment of levity – when Lois informs Perry of what she has discovered. It’s classic Perry and Lois at its best. It’s very subtle yet very much welcomed. Once Clark and Lois get their Intel verified, its back to the Fortress of Solitude and a recuperated Jimmy Olsen. Now it has to be said from this moment on the issue certainly starts to build momentum in a number of ways. Firstly, Lois, Clark and Jimmy not only discuss the whereabouts of a now AWOL Amanda Waller who is even more of a threat than before, but a theory Clark has regarding the energy emitting agent of Leviathan he encountered back in London. As this is going on, DC start to pepper in ‘Event Leviathan’ promo pages with different messages on each of them. This definitely feels coordinated and is meant to tie in with the conversation at hand between Lois and Clark. The fact that an agent of Leviathan who has infiltrated the hospital room of Jim Harper AKA Guardian with a similar message only compounds the gravity, and overwhelming magnitude of the situation at hand.

As the issue comes to an end, we close out on a montage page with many of the key players present in their current predicaments with Lois, Clark and Jimmy at the heart asking all of the questions the reader wants to know. We learn from this page that these events will be continued within the pages of the Event Leviathan series by Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev in June.

One of my favourite segments in the issue is when Jim Harper AKA Guardian is visited by a member of Leviathan. Again, this really highlights the reach Leviathan possess. It’s scary really just how little we know about them, if anything at all. The dialogue used in this exchange by the Leviathan agent is very confident and assured. Leviathan whole-heartedly believe what they are putting into motion is right, however I have interpreted that ‘they’ are grateful to the heroes and what they have tried to accomplish.

It has to be said, I thought this issue was absolutely fantastic and really built up tension and suspense. I loved how DC Comics used the ‘ Event Leviathan’ promo pages hand in hand with the actual story to build up the mystery surrounding Leviathan. The fact that the message changes on each of these promos really is genius. As the story is being picked up in Event Leviathan #1 in June, what will be taking place within the pages of Action Next?

Action Comics #1011 is filled with exposition but never feels slow or hard going. My interest throughout this issue was always piqued as the issue flowed freely. It had everything – action, mystery and intrigue. Action Comics #1011 very much felt like the end of the opening chapter. This was the inciting incident as it were. Brian Bendis and Steve Epting have maneuvered all the relevant players into position ready for the next chapter.

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