Review: Action Comics #1026
[Editors Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: John Romita, Jr., & Klaus Janson
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
The Super-family defeats the other-dimensional Parasite with some help from Brainiac 5, while Leone’s accusations of Lois’s identity are muddied a bit.
Brad Anderson is the unsung hero of this title. Whether the story or the art has merit, Anderson’s colors always please. He has a defined palette for this book and never wavers. While the Red Cloud may not be that interesting, the colors Anderson uses make her visually interesting. Pencillers are often recongizable for their style, but Anderson makes a statement that his colors on this book are just as identifiable.
The main thrust of this issue is the battle with the Parasite. And, Bendis really does make it feel like an impossible task for the Super-family at first. While we know that this isn’t the end of the family, there is a good sense of drama and excitement as it plays out. It’s really great to see Kara step up and find a solution to slowing the Parasite down. The final takedown is a classic Silver Age motif- which I won’t spoil- simply, it reaches back to that era of the Superman titles and provides some fun nostalgia. That fact that Brainiac 5 thinks of it just adds to the moment.
The back and forth with Leone and Lois at the Daily Planet is equally expectant, though not as satisfying by the end of the issue as there’s no resolution. Last issue, we saw that Leone is from a parallel universe. Instead of her accusations about Lois also being from a parallel universe being expanded on, in Action Comics #1026, Bendis seems to backtrack by making it simply appear that Leone is just projecting her own situation to try and deflect. While it makes sense, it’s nowhere near as interesting as Lois and Jon being from a parallel universe with the real versions still out in space somewhere.
Additionally, this interpretation brings a cohesiveness to Bendis’s entire run. It would explain some of the odd and unsettling characterization of Lois in the early issues. And, it fits with Bendis’s approach to the first arcs on Superman, “The Unity Saga”- connecting them all for one large story. Although, Lois being from an alternate dimension presents its own set of problems that are highly questionable to introduce into the Superman mythos, at least it would leave a young Jon who would hopefully return with his mother in next month’s finale.
Curiously, Jon continues to refer to his Kara as his Aunt, Kara. Is this a familial idiosyncrasy or some subtle clue that this is not the real Jon Kent? Or, does Bendis not realize that Jon and Kara are first cousins once removed and not aunt and nephew? Kara would have to be Clark’s sister for this to be the case.
It’s been a long time since I looked forward to the next issue of Action Comics. However, with Bendis’s run ending in December, the mysteries presented here should be mostly revealed as Action #1028 serves as a wrap up. The majority of the middle of Bendis’s run is still ultimately skippable, but if one were to read the first and last arcs of his Action Comics, it may prove to be interesting or even mildly enjoyable. However, the next issue should cement the notion if this is all above average, average or below average, or simply a huge mess to be forgotten.