Every page a little pleasure. That seems to be Brian Michael Bendis’ motto for Action Comics. We get the ongoing big story (Leviathan) and the company crossover interruptions (Year of the Villain), but along the way are gems of dialogue and detail.
The first scene in this week’s issue, courtesy of the Year of the Villain event, sees Invisible Mafia boss Ms Leone holo-visited by the naffly named Apex Predator Lex Luthor. He makes her an offer she can refuse.
At the Daily Planet, Perry White wants to know how Robinson Goode is getting such, no pun intended, good material on Leviathan.
Goode, secretly the mob enforcer Red Cloud, reveals her source is the dual personality victim Rose Forrest aka street vigilante Thorn. Having turned down an offer to join Leviathan, she’s been targeted by their operatives and decided to fight back.
Superman makes the scene.
Later, after finishing her tale, Goode flees Perry’s office as, for at least the second time, her powers begin to manifest without her willing them to do so. Soon, we see that her origin is connected to an old Superman foe…
Such are the bare bones of another very immersive issue; the meat comes when you add in the little details – Perry’s reasons for questioning Goode; Mama Leone refusing to cowtow to Lex; a hint that she has access to magic; Thorn being so rattled by Leviathan that she eschews her usual prickly weapons for ruddy great guns; Superman’s concern for the captured Leviathan agent and tenderness towards the damaged Rose/Thorn; Lex’s evil version of Amazon drones. And so on.
If you’re following Dr Anj’s Leviathan Theory there’s a visual that nods towards his notion that Blue Beetle is running the show. What’s more, the respect shown to Superman by the Leviathan lackey, and unwillingness to fight him, demonstrates either sensible self-preservation (which never happens) or that Leviathan really Is a good guy with a dubious plan, someone who doesn’t wish to cross people ‘professional colleagues’.
Ah yes, the visuals. Szymon Kudranski is back again, producing page after page of detailed, nuanced art. Take a look, for example, at the way the Daily Planet is introduced, above.
There was one point at which I couldn’t work out the storytelling but that could be just me.
There seems to be a moment missing from this three-panel sequence, a point at which the lackey becomes aware of Thorn before stunning her – a medium or distance shot to show the relationship between them would help. Whatever the case, I wouldn’t swap in another artist. Kudranski, with colourist Brad Anderson and letterer Dave Sharpe – seriously, the display fonts for sound effects and exclamations are terrific – provides a feast for the eye. Tellingly, he doesn’t stint on detail, giving us the likes of a Superman bobble head at the Daily Planet, and Ms Leone’s super-real apartment building.
This issue’s typically clever recap page is a digital Daily Planet, full of fun detail – my favourite thing is the application ‘SIEGELmail’. Want.
I like the cover by Naomi artist Jamal Campbell, it’s so delightfully traditional in conception, and well executed.
All in all, this is another home run of an issue. It does, though, beg a very important question – if Superman is Thorn’s third-favourite hero, who’s her first?
7 thoughts on “Action Comics #1013 review”
As soon as I finished this issue I came right here to comment but I beat you. Thank goodness I didn’t forget!
What occurred to me was about Apex Lex. Why did Snyder choose to use Lex if he was going to transform the character so he wasn’t Lex at all? If you want to redo that old Neron story, why turn Lex into Neron? There wasn’t any other demonic character out there closer? I get not using Neron. He’s the dopiest Hell Lord at DC or Marvel. This is after undoing the past few years of a nuanced Lex in a page to make him someone who wants to tear it all down rather than ruling after proving he was the best. All Snyder has done is make Lex much less interesting. His Lex would never fit in a story about tempting a waitress, seeking the presidency, or supplanting Superman as Metropolis’s protector with his science. Lex is now a one note character good only for the never ending Metal story and nothing else…
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Leone has a hint of magic? I’m going to have to reread this one. Which will be a pleasure, because man, do I love this book.
And what’s more… I’m beginning to really like Robinson Goode. And with her being a bad guy, that’s a little weird — but she and the Red Cloud really do seem to have different motivations in a lot of ways. And the way she gassed away from Perry, and his reaction was perfect. How many times has that happened to him with Clark?
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I still think The Legion preview art may be cheating and RG may be the immortal wanderer who takes us to the 32nd century.
And I may be stretching things with Ms Leone but when I see a building disappear in a puff of smoke… maybe she’s from Gemworld!
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Rob, I feel the same way about Ms. Leone. She has so many facets, ranging from motherly to downright deadly. When the smoke clears I hope Bendis keeps her around in some capacity. Could you imagine if Leone’s holdings were paired down to just media holdings? She’d be Morgan Edge 3.0!
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I do apologise for my lateness. It’s been a stupidly busy month and I’m old and tired! But things should be back to normal now.
Thank you for putting the problem with Snyder’s Lex so beautifully. I’d honestly rather see Neron, at least he had a fun camp quality.
Ah, I was thinking the building’s disappearance was tech-based — maybe shrinking it, or limited self-destruction, but with supertech, not magic.
And as for Lex, I agree, it’s a groaner. But I feel like he hasn’t had a consistent character since Jeph Loeb made him president, and then turned him into full-blown public supervillain…two extremes which he’s vacillated between for decades now. So if you don’t like this Lex, another will come around soon enough. (Which is one of the things I like about Leone so much — she fills the story gap that the absence of the Byrne/Wolfman Luthor created, but is a much different, and therefore much less predictable, character.)
My favourite Lex remains the Bronze to Silver version, the one who did recognisably develop as a human being – Cary Bates and Curt Swan did brilliant work with him. Action Comics #510-#512, for example – wonderful work.