It’s just another day in Metropolis. A hood is trying to sell his boss an object of power.
A mystery man intervenes.
And Clark Kent is mentoring new reporter Robinson Goode. The regular reader knows Goode is bad, in collusion with the city’s ‘Invisible Mafia’, whose secret weapon is the metahuman murderer Red Mist. And this month we finally learn just who can transform into a killer cloud.
I’m enjoying Brian Bendis’ Action Comics lots. He’s made sense of the Metropolis crime scene, explaining why Superman doesn’t have all the crooks locked up on Ryker’s Island. He’s brought street-level heroes like the Guardian, and now the Question back to Superman’s city. And best of all, we get lots of looks at life at the Daily Planet. Lois is still off the scene, hiding out in the sister Superman book, but she’s mentioned here.
Clark openly revealing that Lois is back to someone he barely knows? Is he setting a trap? Given Goode isn’t the coolest of customers, it’s hard to believe his super-senses haven’t revealed that she has something to hide. Whatever the case, I’m surprised he’d take his specs off in front of her.
Perry isn’t around this time, he’s no doubt in his office arguing with the publisher, or putting a reporter right about something, but Jimmy is present.
Knowing that Bendis’s new DC imprint Wonder Comics has a Dial H For Hero series coming, I’m intrigued to see a dial here. And while I’ve never been a massive Question fan, I’m happy to note this isn’t Renee Montoya, she’s far better as a tough cop.
Tough fire chief Melody Moore shows a more vulnerable side, as she tells Clark of an unsettling encounter with the mayor.
I’d be rattled too. It’s good to see Melody isn’t a cliched Claremontwoman, with no fear – this is Metropolis, career advancement is the least of her worries.
Now we know who Red Mist is, I’m hoping another riddle will be quickly resolved – who the ‘she’ is who runs the Invisible Mafia, someone so scary mobsters daren’t even utter her name. And I’m looking forward to finding out why Jimmy is constantly napping at work, and how he’s getting away with it.
Bendis’ dialogue zings throughout, with lines like ‘that stuff can end up biting you in the career’ – it’s much less mannered than his Marvel work, and his story is progressing nicely.
Ryan Sook is back on art and things look lovely, with great characters shots, dramatic compositions, loads of background detail and just one small storytelling problem – a ‘dial’s-eye view’ of the Question’s takedown of Miss Gummy is a tad confusing, as it seems the thing is interacting with the fight, which turns out not to be the case.
Sook does draw a Question to cherish, though, one well coloured by Brad Anderson, who does a sterling job throughout, with every scene having an intelligent, eye-catching lighting design. And would you look at Melody’s amazing dress? Smart lettering, too, courtesy of Josh Reed.
Sook’s cover, presumably self-coloured, is a stunner, while Francis Manapul gives us an early Christmas present with a gorgeous festive image.
All in all, this is another terrific issue. Anyone know if we’re getting an annual?