Ye gods. That cover is by professional artists.
Inside Action Comics #1025, at least we have another fun story, which begins with a flashback to an Earth not regularly seen in this book. Marisol Leone, today the head of Earth 0’s Invisible Mafia, was planning to relocate.
As for the why, we see that in an action-packed spread before the story switches to the present day, when Leone is being sought by Superman, Supergirl, two Superboys and visiting Legionnaire Brainiac 5. They find her Metropolis HQ, but she’s vacated the premises.
Across the city, dodgy scientist Dr Glory – barely recognisable as the woman from the alt-earth diner – is meeting Robinson Goode, aka Red Cloud, Daily Planet reporter by day, deadly second banana to Leone by night. Panicked at the prospect of the Super-Family catching up to them, they unleash a beast.
Meanwhile, the reporters and FBI agents at the Planet – which is under suspicion after Leone was revealed as its latest owner – receive a surprise visitor.
Now there’s a turn up for the books. I never expected DC to dig into Lois and Clark’s history, the fact that the current version aren’t native to this Earth, having replaced the original New 52 Lois and Clark. Mind, Brian Michael Bendis does like to surprise with his scripts. Sure, they often could use an extra draft – this issue’s recap spread is pretty repetitive when it comes to Goode – but by cracky, he works to ensure any reader can drop in and enjoy an issue.
I certainly enjoyed this one, with the surprise mic drop as regards Lois’ background – what is Leone’s point? Is Lois an illegal alien? So what if she is, Superman’s always an illegal alien, and Chase is well used to the wackiness of her world. And, well, pot, kettle?
Whatever the case, I just love that the business has come up, and that we have confirmation Leone is also not of this Earth, following an offhand comment many issues ago (or maybe only last issue, who can follow Lockdown Time?). The whole newsroom scene is terrific, with fascinating conversations involving Lois, Chase, Jimmy and Perry.
I like the notion that Dr Glory is also an incomer – it’s a shame Leone is so cagey with names, else it wouldn’t have taken me half the book to realise that was the evil Star Labs lady at the start. It does make sense, given we’ve seen her dabbling with dimensional crossing in companion magazine Young Justice.
It seems that now she’s trying to escape to another Earth with Red Cloud – Dr Glory really does seem desperate for a bezzie mate, I mean, gangsters? She should just do what other mad scientists do, build a robot sidekick.
I like the spooky design of the purple monster – we do learn who it is – and that’s the nicest thing I can say about the art of penciller John Romita Jr and inker Klaus Janson. The Super-Clan are weirdly proportioned, like Peg People; the recap spread is especially painful on the eyes… I just don’t understand why DC Editorial doesn’t have a word with Romita, he’s likely being paid top whack but this is very poor work. As for Janson, he could at least erase those odd radiating lines on the faces (surely he’s not adding them?). Colourist Brad Anderson does his usual fine job, while letterer Dave Sharpe has fun with fonts, especially an unexpected example of onomatopoeia.
There’s a big moment towards the end that will be pretty significant if followed through, but there are so many outs that I’m just drinking in the drama and not worrying.
With a couple more issues to go before the Invisible Mafia serial wraps, I’m having a ball following the fascinating Marisol Leone’s story. Just one question – where did she get that hat?