Reporter Clark Kent and editor Perry White are discussing the storm that’s hit the Metropolis underworld.
A little later, he’s called into Perry’s office, where new Daily Planet gossip columnist Trish Q shows Clark a photograph of his wife, Lois, looking furtive with Lex Luthor. Trish wants to run the image and is after a comment from Clark.
Flashback to the previous night, after Superman had learned Lois was back on Earth, her space trip with son Jon and the man claiming to be Jor-El apparently over. Clark has questions. The big one, is Jon OK?
After a, shall we say, spot of dancing on the ceiling, Lois makes it clear she wants their status quo to change.
Frustratingly, we don’t learn what she has in mind, but given she tells Clark she threatened Lex Luthor with her husband, and she and Superman were photographed kissing by numerous people at a Chicago fairground, I’m thinking she wants to go public as Mrs Superman.
But what will that mean for Clark’s secret identity? To be continued.
I admit, I was hoping for a real insight into what happened with Jon on his summer vacation, and why Lois is OK to leave him with Jor-El/‘Jor-El’, but hey, this is a never-ending battle we’re fighting. And there’s so much wonderful stuff in writer Brian Michael Bendis’ script that I’m too busy grinning to care. From Perry’s terrific takedown of Trish Q to a heartwarming moment of compassion from Superman, this is a story to treasure. Bendis’s reverence for the Triangle Era of Superman comics is ever more evident, and the one big action moment – a spread involving the bad folk of Iron Heights prison – isn’t a token gesture towards this book’s title, it feeds right into Lois’s hopes for a new status quo.
So, who is the Red Cloud? Publicity says it’s going to be a big deal. It’s not going to be Red Tornado, Perry’s just a tad obsessed… remember last issue’s opening page showing he’d pitched a series to the DCU version of DC Comics? I’m now taking that as canon!
It’s not going to be Lois, despite the New 52 Earth 2 series inflicting that identity onto its version of her.
But could it be Jimmy? He’s been falling asleep a lot lately, has one of his regular wacky transformations made him a mob killer? The Ginger Cloud?
Let’s hope not, that would be a stain on Mr Action it would be hard to erase.
Lois is rightly perturbed that a salacious take on Lex’s visit makes it into the Planet’s online edition; we know Perry wasn’t going for that, but Lois doesn’t. Knowing the separation between print and online editions in newspaper – It’s pretty much seasoned hacks on the one side, inexperienced kids who just want page impressions on the other – I’m not surprised.
I do have one little complaint, stemming from this panel.
Just, no, Mr Clark Wordsmith Kent… if you’re trying slang on for size, stop it now.
The art is spectacular. Penciller Ryan Sook produces nuanced facial expressions and his body language is second to none – just look at these two panels of husband and wife business.
And let’s take another gander at that silent panel of Lois.
Mischief, intelligence, love – it’s all there.
Inker Wade Von Grawbadger brings the quality which helps make regular partner Stuart Immonen’s work look so great, a confident, liquid line. Longtime Action Comics colourist Brad Anderson adds to the visual appeal of this comic with vibrant tones, suited to match locale and mood.
And the letters of Josh Reed are as sharp as you could wish for.
Steve Rude’s cover is spectacular, I’m a sucker for Superman in the natural world and this sweetly conceived, stylishly executed image is an instant classic – DC should have it transferred onto a boardroom wall or something. Or a mug, for me.
The variant by Francis Manapul is also pretty gorgeous, and a more obvious pic for this issue’s main image, being a moment from the story. As a digital reader, I get both, so it’s ‘winner winner chicken dinner’.
Have I said I wished this series were still fortnightly? Yep, I have. And I’m saying it again. Anyone else?