Action Comics #1018 review

Today, the Legion of Doom is trouncing Superman and his Justice League partners.

Earlier, Metropolis fire chief Melody Moore has news for Clark Kent.

Six months ago, dogged young reporter Robinson Goode has a run-in with shady scientists from Star Labs.

In order of interest, I’d say the origin of Red Cloud is most compelling, given that the bad Goode has been around for more than a year; followed by the Melody bit, which ties into the current non-secret identity shenanigans in Superman; and then the Legion of Doom stuff, of which I am sick and tired.

As a rule, I prefer my stories told in a linear manner, but Red Cloud’s starting point can’t be told as anything bar a flashback, and the Melody moment couldn’t be shown until we’d had last month’s Superman, so all is dandy. I’m getting a wee bit tired of tweets – sorry, chirps – framing fight sequences, they’re today’s version of the news TV screens that became ubiquitous post-Dark Knight Returns. I do always enjoy them on writer Brian Michael Bendis’ Daily Planet pages, though… this issue’s has a cute gag nodding to McDonald’s.

There’s a very intriguing nugget of information about Goode’s father, which I hope augers an appearance down the line. And I could hug Bendis for this panel.

Who wants to work for Oswald Cobblepot indeed?

While I could easily live without the fight against Apex Lex, I do like Superman’s opening words to his number one foe. The Melody scene is very nicely done, and there’s a nice bit of reader wrong-footing when she brings up Lois. And the look back at Goode’s start as a supervillain has me convinced that, yes, Bendis is going to rehabilitate her in time. All in all, a pretty decent issue, it’s just a shame we have the Year of the Villain business, when Bendis could be using the space to give us his Toyman or Terra Man or, I dunno, Towbee the space minstrel. Anyone starting with ‘T’.

As with last issue, John Romita Jr is pencilling and Klaus Janson inking, and the result is simply disappointing. I’ve seen so much better from these gentlemen, but the work here doesn’t match their A-list status, with the fight and origin scenes unclear in their storytelling, and the plainclothes scene pedestrian. Perhaps they were super rushed. Again. Let’s hope for better things next time. I do like Wonder Woman belting Grodd with a bit of building, that made me smile.

I’m not sure why Starman looks wet, but I quite like the cover by Romita, Janson and trusty interior colourist Brad Anderson.

The current visuals are hurting what’s been a great Action Comics run since Bendis arrived a year and a half back, but this remains one of my favourite reads. Here’s to another terrific year.

4 thoughts on “Action Comics #1018 review

  1. I may have given up on Bendis’ Superman run…really, a lot of his annoying Marvel tropes have bled into my favorite DC character’s universe… but I’m glad you’re finding your joy in it!

    At least we’re on the same page with the art! Ugh… I truly believe that team hasn’t been on their A++ game since about the mid 90’s!

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  2. That cover? Ugh, I found it the worst piece of art in the book. The torso is so off and that face could use the ghost of Curt Swan redrawing it. The inside of the book looks like someone possessed by Vince Colletta erased anything too time consuming to draw in detail. And is he a superstar artist? Romita only seems to have great sales when it’s the character selling it. He was pulled from Silencer because he couldn’t deliver numbers that justified his pay after all…

    And the Red Cloud power being from another dimension and the difference between Goode when attacked by racist scientists and when we first learn she’s an evil meta suggests a corruption. The Lord Satanus inspired look (which Romita doesn’t even try to draw) would seem to confirm this….

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  3. Well. Tough to love this issue. So, the inter-dimensional mist had already gotten out of its containment and was swirling around, no? If this was an accident, it sure happened in slow motion. Someone was going to get hurt no matter what, but no one noticed the mist in the room. (I think as with other things, Romita probably just didn’t get the memo, and didn’t draw what was in the script, which hopefully made more sense than what we see here.)

    There’s a nice drawing where Superman has to fly off in the middle of the conversation with Melody, and he hasn’t fully unclothed yet. So as he takes off there’s an after-blur of the white shirt he’s still removing. I’ll grant Romita this much – he manages to throw in a creative panel here or there where flying looks pretty dynamic and cool.

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  4. For me, it was the Melody conversation that was the highlight of this issue. I loved the bit about trusting her “for 41 hours.”

    And not only is the Hambezzler a reference to McDonald’s, but he fights Harley Quinn in this week’s issue (written by Mark Russell, because of course)! Meanwhile, at Planet Krypton, they’ve got the “Clark Kent? Improbable!” burger, a clever take on the veggie-based Impossible Burgers that have started to catch on here in the States.

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