Action Comics #1010 // Review
Lois and Clark go undercover in Action Comics #1010, by writer Brian Michael Bendis, artist Steve Epting, colorist Brad Anderson, and letterer Josh Reed. Leviathan makes a few more moves in this issue, but there’s something about the whole thing that feels… light.
DEO Director Bones is debriefed by Kate Spencer, but quickly realize something is awry. “Kate” isn’t who she appears to be and she leaves him having what seems to be a heart attack. Clark and Lois make their way to London as Amanda Waller and Jimmy Olson snipe at each other in the Fortress of Solitude. Back in London, Clark and Lois meet Tiger, an agent of Spyral, and try to find out what’s going on before one of Leviathan’s monsters attacks. Superman takes care of it and comes back to find Tiger and Lois gone.
This comic is actually an entertaining book, but it feels short and light. There’s a decent amount of events happening in it, but none of them feel like they have any weight. It’s bizarre. It doesn’t help that the tone goes from deadly serious in the beginning with Director Bones and “Kate” and then gets super lighthearted with Clark and Lois having a Peter Pan moment in London. Tonally, the book is all over the place, really. At one point, there’s a full page spread alluding to the mission that Clark and Lois created their agents of Spyral identities for, and it’s a cool moment, but it doesn’t really fit the tone that this story has been setting up. It feels like for every serious moment in this book, there’s another downplays it and takes away from what’s happening on the page.
The fact of the matter is a lot of things happen in this issue to sell the Leviathan storyline, from Bones being taken out to the disappearance of Lois and Tiger to Superman tackling one of Leviathan’s exploding monsters. It moves the plot forward and even the tonally awkward moments are fun, but when it’s all added together, it’s not the sum of its parts. It’s all empty calories.
Steve Epting’s art is the best it’s been so far. His line work is strong and sure, with little of the detail deficiencies that plagued it in earlier issues. The significant action setpiece of the chapter - Superman confronting the monster- is a series of wonder two page spreads. Throughout the issue, Brad Anderson uses shadows a lot to give things a more brooding feel but also lightens things up when it’s needed.
Action Comics #1010 is a strange beast. It’s tonally all over the place, but it’s still a crucial issue with a lot happening. The way it jarringly shifts from deadly serious to light-hearted hurts it a lot. It feels like Bendis couldn’t decide what he wanted the book to be, so he kept changing it around, maybe hoping that the lighter moments would make up for the darker ones. While the lighter moments are entertaining, they feel almost like an affectation, and that takes away from the book. The art team turns in some dynamite work, though, and that helps a lot. All in all, this would be a better comic if Bendis could pick a tone and stick to it. As it is, this one never feels as important as it should.