Action Comics #1011 review

Boy, this is a packed issue. I’ve just checked the page count to see if it’s extra-sized, but no, it’s the standard-ish 22 sides you get in a $3.99 DC book these days. With a pacy script by Brian Michael Bendis that’s packed with intrigue and character, and sharply naturalistic art courtesy of illustrator Steve Epting and colourist Brad Anderson, I definitely got my money’s worth.

Leviathan Rising part 5 starts with a mini-adventure for the long-unseen vigilante Manhunter, as a joint Metropolis Special Crimes Unit and FBI task force invade the apartment of her alter-ego Kate Spencer, accusing her of being involved in the attacks on the world’s intelligence services and terror groups. This isn’t Kate’s first rodeo…

In London, Tiger, top agent of clandestine group Spyral, has something for an undercover Lois Lane.

Hoping to stand up the information, Superman and Lois seek out former Spyral agent the Huntress.

By the time they arrive at the Fortress of Solitude, houseguest Amanda Waller has gone.

And in Metropolis, a recently injured vigilante receives a visitor.

Manhunter. Tiger. Huntress. Guardian. All seamlessly woven into a story that’s getting bigger and more intriguing by the month. And I’ve not even mentioned a terrific bit of characterisation involving Jimmy Olsen after he, I assume, picks up on a slip of the tongue by Lois; a peek inside the mind of ace editor Perry White; and ongoing discussions about journalistic responsibility between Clark and Lois. Bendis has made Action Comics a fascinating mix of the street level and the fantastic, and I couldn’t be happier – he seems to have solid control of this story, it feels like the details are locked in and we just have to enjoy the ride. Every character Bendis touches, from Huntress with her understanding of Waller’s wiliness, to Manhunter and her, let’s say, complicated relationship with the law, shines. And they all look superb as interpreted by Epting, whether they’re in the shining Fortress or on the smoggy streets of London. Speaking of which, I love this bit of scenesetting.

I assume that’s the doing of Epting rather than always-excellent letterer Josh Reed. I just wish he’d carried on this approach through the issue, there’s something nicely cinematic about it.

Random nice touches include misnamed hack Robinson Goode still not getting how journalism works, and Lois, despite extensive experience as a passenger of ‘Superman Airlines’, needing a moment after being flown halfway across the globe at super speed.

Speaking of globes, is that a stylistic representation of the planet on the Leviathan creature’s chest? Probably not… whatever clues may be here, I’m likely missing; the chat with Guardian may contain something, but I got nothing! Anyone? There may be something around Lois’ typing in the Fortress being heard over the end of the Guardian scene… or it may simply be Bendis amusing himself with a filmic transition.

From Epting’s powerful cover (a homage to Jim Steranko’s iconic Hulk King-Size Special image?) to the final page tease for next month’s Event Leviathan Special, via the opening shot of Perry White’s desk detritus, this is a corker of a comic.

5 thoughts on “Action Comics #1011 review

  1. This is my favorite comic book right now… and with the Superman special coming up, and then 6 months of Event Leviathan (which I’m pretty sure this book will tie into), I’m gearing up for a great summer of comics. I honestly feel like going back and rereading all of Action so far just to check for clues.

    Leviathan’s words plus the “tak tak tak” of Lois typing can definitely (and I’m sure intentionally) suggest that Lois has been recruited. Which could mean a number of things. It could be that the information the Tiger gave her is what Leviathan wants her to have (even if true, and Huntress’s corroboration suggests it is). It could also mean that in the time that Clark lost track of Lois, she’s been replaced by an agent of Leviathan (which seems unlikely since she’s with Clark, who’d be even tougher to fool than the agent would realize). Most likely it’s just there to give us the hint of doubt.

    And yeah, I also loved that scene with Jimmy. And I loved that his photos all get uploaded to the cloud automatically, since he’s a seasoned war correspondent. (And also that as tactical as Waller is, she doesn’t think of everything, and let that slide.)

    And I loved Manhunter cuffing Maggie Sawyer. Great action scene to start things off with!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for those great thoughts, Rob. The idea of Lois as an agent of Leviathan hadn’t occurred to me, it’s certainly intriguing. Given her reputation in the DCU, which Bendis emphasises again here with Tiger’s reaction to her, she’d be quite the catch.

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  3. Love this issue.

    Pure mystery building. Great feel of the scope of this thing. As you say, Bendis rolling in Guardian and Huntress with such ease is impressive. I loved it all.

    I think the ‘globe’ isn’t the world but just a ball of swirling blue energywhich will expand, explode!

    Anyways, loved the LONDON as well, gives it a Mission Impossible feel.

    Great review.

    Like

  4. Manhunter was the first thing I tweeted for Bendis to do when he announced his move so I’m happy!

    Tho’ I’m wondering why no European or Asian organizations have been hit. New Superman featured at least three, maybe four between China and the Koreas…

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