[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Steve Epting
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Josh Reed
This issue kicks off Part 1 of “Leviathan” and it makes me wonder why Action Comics #1001 – #1006 were even published. It doesn’t make any sense why Bendis would hold this back just to bore us with the previous 6 issues. This doesn’t mean that the content of those previous stories is ignored, because it has a bearing on the status quo for Superman and Lois’s relationship.
The issue opens with Jimmy Olsen in Seattle on the back of a motorcycle being driven by a girl. This appears to be a possible date…but, ends up with Jimmy at a Kobra cult meeting. Jimmy takes pictures and as he escapes the building he was just in is mysteriously destroyed in an unnatural explosion with the appearance of a giant blue orb. Upon returning to Metropolis, he talks to Clark about this briefly before Clark has to rush off to Atlanta, GA in time to save Amanda Waller. After saving her, the building she fell out of is destroyed in a similar manner to Jimmy’s building and she disappears!
Meanwhile, Lois has met up with her father, Sam Lane, to have a heart to heart. She leads with comparing their personalities and offering a reason why they don’t get along. She wants to have a better relationship. She really lays it out there for him, and then she gets to the big part. She tells him that she’s in love with Superman and that Superman is Jon’s father. Sam turns silently, and walks away disgustedly. (She neglected to tell him her husband, Clark Kent IS Superman!!)
Steve Epting is the new artist on this issue and he does a wonderful job. The book looks great! He evokes a little bit of Jack Kirby here and there, which is a nice touch. Epting does a nice job on both the action and facial expressions of the characters.
The opening sequence is a nice change of pace that allows Jimmy to get some action as well as introduce the new threat- Kobra! Oh, wait! Misdirection! It’s the explosion that destroys Kobra that is the new threat. This is well done.
Perhaps the best element is Lois’s genuine emotional engagement with her dad. It feels real and it attempts to show some growth in Lois. Her exact approach is a bit concerning though- why did she just make her father think she’s been cheating on Clark with Superman?
There are two huge negatives to this issue, that somehow don’t manage to overcome the good parts. Firstly, it appears as if the Invisible Mafia storyline has been promptly forgotten by all. Robinson Goode gets a cameo in the foreground in a couple panels, but that’s it. The interesting reveal from the final page of last issue is ignored as if it never happened. Remember, that was one of the two highlights from last issue. This type of storytelling is perplexing, Bendis is starting a new storyline before finishing the first one. While it’s certainly probable that “The Invisible Mafia” will somehow tie in to “Leviathan,” it’s executed very poorly. This is such a strong start to this new arc that people will probably forget all about “The Invisible Mafia.”
The other huge negative is Lois’s reveal to her dad about Superman being her “baby daddy.” This scene is at once both the best and worst elements of the issue. I’ve already covered why it’s the best, it’s the worst because it doesn’t make a bit of sense that Lois would not tell her dad the full truth. It’s puzzling why Lois seems confused as to why her dad walks away, clearly disgusted. She’s basically told him, I love Superman, not my husband, and Superman is Jon’s dad not Clark. She’s just given Sam Lane even more reason not to respect her. Not sure what Bendis is planning for this, but taking into account that the tease for Lois’s book is “My Life With Superman,” (see Lois’s document on her laptop on the splash page of Action Comics #1004), but it appears that Lois is going to out Superman as her husband and father of Jon to the world. Huh? Let the debating begin!
Hands down the best issue of Bendis’s run on Action so far, but it’s still not perfect as Bendis seems incapable of finding the right voice for Lois or how to handle the Lois and Clark relationship. That said, there’s a lot more good in this issue as there’s some real attempt at relationship exploration between Lois and her dad, plus the Jimmy Olsen bits are great and the art from Steve Epting is top-notch. Superman and Co. are still not safe from Bendis yet, but at least this issue is interesting and there was some genuine emotion.