Action Comics #1002 // Review
Action Comics #1002, by Brian Michael Bendis, Patrick Gleason, Alejandro Sanchez, and Josh Reed, begins with a man falling from the sky, and ends with a surprise that most readers probably couldn’t see coming. What happens in between is textbook Bendis, and that’s both good and bad.
A body falls from the sky and witnesses say Superman was the one who dropped it, even though he was out of town. One of the Planet’s new reporters, Robinson Goode, writes up the story, and Perry sets Clark to go more in depth on it, which leads him to a startling discovery. The Red Mist attacks one of Metropolis’s other vigilantes, and a mole on the Daily Planet staff is revealed. Cat Grant returns to town, and lets Clark in on a secret that leads to a huge surprise.
The art in this book is incredible. These last two issues of Action Comics are easily some of the best Patrick Gleason’s career. The linework is robust and detailed, and he captures the essence of each character very well in the context of each scene. His shrewd reporter Clark is a revelation. Few artists ever capture that side of Clark; usually, it’s either the big Midwestern “aww shucks” kind of guy or the moral heart of the Daily Planet. Clark has always been more than that, and Gleason captures it perfectly in just a few panels, using his expressions and the way he can blend in with any group to get information. It’s a wonderful example of an artist taking what’s in the script and making it come to life on the page. Alejandro Sanchez’s colors are lush when they need to be and understated in the right places. Together, the two of them work magic.
There are several reveals in this book, and they all feels like they’re happening too soon. Bendis drops the real culprit behind the Metropolis fires and why, gives readers more information on one of the new Planet reporters he just introduced, and a big reveal at the end that is very welcome, while also being very strange to include already. So far, Bendis’ Superman stories have been introducing a lot of solid story ideas, but paying them off this quickly makes it looks like he doesn’t have much faith in them to keep audiences hooked. It’s hard to second-guess a writer in the second issue of a story arc, but these are just strange things to reveal already. From here on in, Bendis can’t rely on big reveals to keep readers coming back and will have to hope his plots are strong enough to keep butts in the seats.
Thankfully, it’s still an interesting story. The whole concept of an invisible mob in Metropolis is novel. Bendis has always been great at street-level stuff, and this story has the potential to draw on a lot of that. The Daily Planet being the focus of the book also lends itself nicely to Bendis’ strengths, and allows readers to see a facet of Clark they haven’t gotten to see very much. Even though revealing it this early feels very anti-climatic, the reveal behind the Metropolis fires makes a lot of sense in the context of this story, and the big reveal at the end should work to assuage one of the big doubts readers have had about Bendis’ run.
This is a weird issue. It does away with a few of the mysteries in this storyline before they could be developed more. It’s entertaining, but Bendis makes some choices that are suspect for this arc’s longevity. Revealing so much already raises the fear that Bendis will pad this story with his special brand of the filler: a lot of boring talking. The big reveal at the end is nice and opens up a lot of possibilities, but this is a strange time for it. The art is the book’s saving grace. Gleason and Sanchez kill it and elevate the material to a level that it couldn’t reach on its own. This still an interesting story, but Bendis picked a strange time to lay down some of his cards.