Review: Action Comics #1018
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: John Romita, Jr and Klaus Janson
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Action Comics #1018 flashes back to the origin of the Red Cloud and an important meeting between Fire Chief Melody Moore and Clark Kent.
What, you wanted the plot to move forward?
Finally showing how Robinson Goode gained the powers of the Red Cloud is good to see. It’s dialogue heavy, and not entirely clear upon first reading, but its inclusion is appreciated. Revisiting the Red Cloud, first introduced in Bendis’s first arc brings back the positives of that arc, the introduction of the Invisible Mafia and the mysteries surrounding them.
Melody Moore and Clark have an important conversation which includes two reveals. Melody tells Clark she’s running for mayor and looking for an endorsement by Superman. This opens it up for Clark to reveal his identity as Superman to her and at the same time confirm his endorsement.
The scene works best as Superman building his friendship with Chief Moore. Her confession that he’s inspired her since moving to Metropolis is a nice addition to their mutual admiration club. Unfortunately, the fact that he tells her he’s about to go public anyway- see Superman #18– diminishes the moment. It’s yet another example of Bendis spoiling his own reveals.
While it’s good to finally see Robinson Goode’s transformation into the Red Cloud, it is oddly out of place in this current story arc. It’s a plot element that would’ve fit well back in the second story arc in Bendis’s run on Action Comics. It doesn’t appear to have any relation to the current storyline with the Legion of Doom and their attack on Metropolis. Not only that, but it stalls the current arc. Additionally, there’s a real lack of development to get Robinson Goode here and it feels randomly dropped in.
The same is true with Melody Moore’s reveal to Clark Kent that she is running for mayor. While the idea is sound, again it comes nearly out of nowhere. Cast your memory back to the trouble that mayor was in back in Action Comics #1006, well Fire Chief Moore has decided to cast her hat in the ring. In many ways, this almost feels like Action Comics #1007 as the storylines flow more directly from #1006. It’s an example of Bendis using dialogue to tell the story, and Moore’s announcement doesn’t have any substance to it.
Neither Moore nor Goode have appeared in an issue for quite a while, so these developments don’t have any weight to them. They needed to be reintroduced more effectively in order for these plot elements to feel substantial.
Consequently, the Legion of Doom story begun last issue is put on the back burner. It’s a symptom of Bendis’s style as demonstrated by the fact that he’s finally picking up the two plot lines mentioned above- exactly a year later. It makes one wonder what else will finally be addressed. Perhaps, that startling last page of Action Comics #1006 showing the green sedan from the cover of Action Comics #1 in Leone’s possession will eventually be addressed.
Combined with the above and problems mentioned with the positives, these issues point out the problems in pacing and story planning Bendis is having with his Superman and Action Comics runs. Often, he will write good scenes and have good ideas, but overall the narrative suffers.
If you’re looking for part two of “Metropolis Doom,” it’s not really here. Instead, Action Comics #1018 picks up plot lines from a year ago. Despite feeling dropped in out of nowhere, there are some positives to these elements. Unfortunately, the confounding elements of the issue take over and raise more questions than are actually answered, but not in a good way. Lack of planning makes the things that do happen in this issue feel awkward and ham-fisted.