Review: ACTION COMICS #1013
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Szymon Kudranski
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Rose/Thorn’s is still trying to escape Leviathan’s agents. She ends up involving the Man of Steel bringing Superman face to face with a Leviathan operative which yields surprising results. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor delivers gifts to both Leone and Robinson Goode.
Things happen in this issue. And, none of it involves Bendis’s deplorable choices for the Lois-Clark-Jon family unit.
Lex Luthor’s offers are interesting, perhaps more so for Robinson Goode as he unleashes the full extent of her powers with the promise of explaining from where they came. Leone on the other hand has a far different, though no less surprising response. Lex seems to suddenly be playing a larger role all of a sudden, and it’s hard to tell if it is coincidence with the “Year of the Villain” initiative which began in Justice League, or if it is connected.
The most interesting thing that occurs is Superman’s encounter with the Leviathan operative. After learning that the operative is quite unaware of anything about the armor he’s wearing and that the operative has no desire and a seeming mandate not to fight Superman, a very curious thing happens. As Superman attempts to remove the faceplate from the operative’s armor, Superman is teleported to New Delhi, India! This raises questions in Clark’s mind about the actual fates of the D.E.O. and ARGUS, etc…. Were they just moved somewhere? Judging from what happened at Leone’s apartment house, it appears she and Leviathan have similar technology.
Rose/Thorn continues to be an interesting character and it seems like Bendis might be priming her for a series much like his work on Marvel’s Alias (aka Jessica Jones). At this point, both are troubled street level heroes with some emotional/mental baggage. It seems like it would be a good fit for Bendis.
Oustside of a few awkward shots of Superman’s face, Kudranski’s art is much more consistent this issue, but when he struggles it’s jarring. With more being revealed about Leviathan’s power/technology, it’s hard not to see a similarity with Doctor Manahattan, or his DCU analog, Captain Atom. This would seem like overuse on the character(s) unless it’s somehow suppose to be a run up to Doomsday Clock which would sort of mean he wouldn’t be able to reveal Manhattan in this story.
Perhaps, Luthor is the real Leviathan and he’s been playing both sides. Leviathan’s motivations don’t seem too dissimilar from Lex’s own as expressed in his Justice League appearances. Clearly, there’s a lot of misdirection going on and as long as it remains a mystery to be solved it should be intriguing, there’s just a feeling in the back of my head that tells me the reveal will be uninspired, like Jor-El or something.
Overall, this is the best issue of Bendis’s Action Comics run in a while. The plot moves forward as we learn something significant about Leviathan and Superman begins to put some pieces together. For once, Superman and the reader are on the same page and Superman isn’t the last to know. There’s no set up, just forward movement. Luthor’s revelation to Robinson Goode falls in the same category.