Action Comics #1012 // Review
The Invisible Mafia has big plans in Action Comics #1012, by writer Brian Michael Bendis, artist Szymon Kudranski, colorist Brad Anderson, and letterer Josh Reed. This issue takes the focus off of Superman and puts back on the Invisible Mafia, but it’s a mixed bag at best.
The bosses of the Invisible Mafia discuss Red Cloud’s defeat of Superman and what their next moves should be, including bringing a new drug called Apocalypse into Metropolis. Lois and Clark share a moment in the Fortress of Solitude before Clark speeds off as Superman. Back in Metropolis, Trish Q shows Robinson Goode pictures she has of Lois Lane kissing Superman and Goode gets a phone call from someone. She goes and meets Rose Forest, who explains to her how her split vigilante personality, Thorn, works before Thorn takes control and tells Goode about talking out a group of drug dealers and her belief in an invisible mafia pulling strings in the city. Goode takes this info the Mafia’s Queenpin, who confronts Thorn the next night and makes her an offer.
After the Event Leviathan set-up story arc, Bendis returns to the Invisible Mafia. Unfortunately, it sort of feels like that whole story has lost momentum. Sure, Red Cloud tussled with Superman and walked away, giving Robinson Goode some villain cred, but it’s been so long since that story that it’s kind of hard to care about. Bendis majorly interrupted the flow of the story by putting the Invisible Mafia on pause for five issues, and it affects this particular issue adversely because it makes them seem unimportant. If Bendis can put a significant plot like that entirely on hold for this long, it can happen again. It seemed very important six months ago. Now? Now, it’s just sort of there.
Adding Rose and Thorn to the whole thing is a fresh DC deep cut. Bendis has had a tendency to throw in semi-obscure DC characters to his stories in what seems like an effort to gain some cred with DC readers, but here, Rose and Thorn fit. Metropolis has very few dedicated street level vigilantes, and using Rose and Thorn in this way is perfect. It’s one of the sole bright spots of what is a kind of lackluster issue. However, the ending, with the Queenpin of the Invisible Mafia offering deal is a little much, and it’s not something Thorn would entertain in the slightest. At this point, readers can only wait and see what will happen.
Szymon Kudaranski takes over the art in this issue, and it looks great. His style is reminiscent of Lee Bermejo’s in certain places. His work is very detailed. He doesn’t get to draw Superman very much in this issue, and that’s a shame, because the few times he does, the character looks great. Brad Anderson’s colors really work very well with his pencils, complimenting them and adding to them.
Action Comics #1012 would have been a tremendous comic six months ago, but so much time has elapsed since readers saw the Invisible Mafia that they feel sort of insignificant. That is not a good look for what looks to be a big part of his plans for this book. The addition of Rose and Thorn is excellent, but Bendis looks like he’s ready to ignore things about a character to do what he wants with them to make his story work, a hallmark of his. Szymon Kudaranski’s art is excellent and buoys this lackluster issue is. The Invisible Mafia is an interesting concept, but Bendis abandoned it for so long that readers might not care as much as he does about them. As it is, this issue doesn’t feel very important, and that’s a bad look for the start of a new story arc.