Action Comics #1025 review

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?

11 thoughts on “Action Comics #1025 review

  1. Yeah, Romita gets worse every year. I’ve told my theory: TPTB mostly only put him on booksthat are going to sell well no matter who draws it and credits him with the success. NEver mind that when he did Silencer he was pulled mondo quick since the book’s sales couldn’t afford his page rate. Should that have been a clue?

    I totally missed the opening was a different Earth. Young Leone looks like Goode with the poor art, GL is unchanged, and I missed the little bit of S shield showing being wrong. What Earth is it? DC can’t decide if their multiverse has only 52 or an infinity of alt Earths and whether it’s dark or light so I gave up keeping track.

    Otherwise, super awesome issue yet again. Unless it’s Waid after Bendis, I’ll be very despondent when he’s gone. Hopefully, whomever it is won’t be as disrespectful as Rucka was when he took over Wonder Woman and undid everything his predecessors did…

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    1. Action Comics has surely lost sales with this level of art, it’s just not good enough for Superman. Things improved the other month with a different inker – Danny Miki if memory serves – but Janson and Romita no longer gel. I think it’s working with Frank Miller that damaged Romita’s style.

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      1. Or it could just be what it looks like: Romita just does thumbnail sketches with a Sharpie and lets inkers deal with it. Jansen’s habit of putting way too much black ink on the page might have helped Sal Buscema nd Miller look atmospheric but it just makes Romita’s artwork worse…

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  2. People are suggesting Leone and Glory are escaping Earth-3, and that’s the Crime Syndicate we see, and also that the person in purple at the top is the Stephanie Brown Batwoman of Earth-3 who appeared in Young Justice. (Well, I assume that’s a lady – this is Romita artwork so it’s hard to be sure. That face looks male, after all. But that’s a utility belt and that’s the haircut she had in Young Justice, and eggplant is her color.)

    This felt like the worst Romita artwork yet, but I’ve probably said that before. In that double-splash where Conner smashes into the creature, those lines on Superman’s left hand are – yikes. What is that? Hair? Wrinkles?

    Isn’t our Lois Lane equal parts New 52 Lois and Convergence-Refugee Lois? So she’s at most half-alien. And how much does she remember? And how would someone ELSE know all about it? This may not be what Leone is referring to.

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    1. I originally thought Earth 3 but was thrown by the Superman analogue’s belt, it didn’t look a lot like U for Ultraman… but I suppose it could be! I would never have realised that was Spoiler/Batwoman, it’s a freakish face. Thanks for pointing it out.

      She’s half a refugee indeed. I thought she only had memories of a combined Earth – didn’t it change after Convergence? Oh, who can remember these things!

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      1. Looks like it could be the correct Ultraman U-shaped sigil on the chest, and the belt may even be accurate now that I see some Utraman drawings.

        I take no credit for spotting Batwoman – others did. But it makes sense – Batwoman was fighting the Crime Syndicate on Earth-3 when Young Justice visited. And it’s actually quite funny – at first glance you figure Glory and Leone are talking about escaping Earth, and instead they’re planning to escape from Earth-3 and head to Earth. Nice fakeout.

        I now see the amazing resource of dc.fandom.com (previously dc.wikia.com) lists among the characters appearing in this issue Batwoman and Johnny Quick, Owlman, Power Ring and Ultraman, from the Crime Syndicate. I can see the guy in red and gold is Johnny, and I guess Owlman is the one with the dark gauntlets, back to us, being blasted by one of the drones.

        Timms didn’t draw a “pretty” Stephanie in Young Justice, and he gave her this spiky hair, I guess in the tradition of when she was the wild-haired Robin. But Timms draws all faces, male and female, somewhat alike, with sharp angles for the jaw, chin and nose. I can almost recognize his style just from those facial features. Romita has just ramped the look up to 11, as he does.

        The story of how Convergence Lois and Clark merged with Dead 52 Lois and Clark was hard to follow even when trying, though I suppose there are some people who remember it! I think there was a page that had a montage showing their “new” “history.”

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  3. Great review, Mart! I’m as surprised and delighted as you are with these alt-earth shenanigans.

    Just a point of order: You seem to indicate that we’re told that the interdimensional creature is the Parasite from another earth. And it may indeed be. But I have another suspicion.

    The exchange, after detailing that the creature absorbed Superman’s powers, and then used that power to absorb even MORE power, went like this:

    Goode: “Oh &^%#@, like the Parasite!”
    Glory: “Sure. If the Parasite had been uber-successful.”

    So they’re not out and out saying it IS the Parasite… just that it’s LIKE the Parasite.

    And for some reason, the cosmic look of this creature didn’t remind me so much of the Parasite but another old Superman foe: The Galactic Golem. Who was super strong, and invulnerable, and absorbed hyperstellar energy to live. A few little tweaks, and I think he’d be much more fierce (and have much more staying power) than an upgraded, alt-earth Parasite. Parasite will always revert to the one from our universe…but no one’s taken the Galactic Golem out of mothballs in YEARS.

    And, well…that’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it.

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  4. Oh, good spot and even better theory. I need to improve my reading comprehension! I love the Galactic Golem, I hope it is indeed them.

    Now, have you been to Brian Bendis on Twitter and put it out there? I think you should!

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