Action Comics #1017 is written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by John Romita Jr, inks by Klaus Janson, colors by Brad Anderson and letters by Dave Sharpe. Action Comics is published monthly by DC Comics. The ‘Year of the Villain’ crossover event comes to Metropolis in a disturbing way. While Leviathan offers Superman chaos, Lex Luthor and the Legion of Doom have arrived to stake a claim and change the world. The last issue’s guest appearance by Naomi and battle with Red Cloud pale in comparison to the changes about to take place in Superman’s world.
Change equates to misfortune. The end is nigh as Luthor stands victorious. The Legion of Doom conquered Metropolis making the Justice League and hope appears to be a lie. The Man of Steel is beaten, supported by his comrades before a Legion that is cocky and unyielding. Superman’s gamble to sacrifice himself in order to save the city fails. All is lost. However, the tale rolls back to reveal the beginning of the end.
Flashback two weeks to the promised interview at the Daily Planet between Clark Kent and Ms. Marisol Leone. The dialogue the two share is more evasive than informative as Clark attempts to discover what made Leone reveal herself as the new owner of the Planet. The scene makes for great dialogue, especially with Perry White listening on the other side of the door. Leone’s criminal enterprise remains the biggest secret in Metropolis. Clark utilizing his experience and savvy to coax the truth from Leone would have made for a great issue in and of itself. In the midst of the interview, a blazing comet brings trouble, but the Man of Steel is on the case.
Each issue of Action Comics in the past year has juggled multiple plots, and Action Comics #1017 does the same. The many stories in the life of Metropolis get even treatment in order to create a fully-realized cast. Series writer Bendis guides these storylines with ease.
Bendis’ run on Action Comics is a joy. Superhero tales invariably end in mass destruction and confrontation, but this series has opened up the other end of Superman’s story featuring Clark being a journalist and asking questions and digging behind the scenes. Action Comics #1017 balances the two worlds of Superman and two great crossover events in a smooth fashion. This has been a renaissance for Superman in titles and for the character’s relevance in the Internet Age. I never once felt any of the plots are moving too slowly or too quickly. The Lex Luthor/Superman power rivalry comes back full swing. The only issue I have overall is Luthor’s look is drab, not befitting such a powerful egotist. But that’s a minor complaint to an otherwise compelling story.
The Legion of Doom is particularly cocky with minimal dialogue, but the point comes across. They see themselves as restoring the balance, not as criminals. Clark and Superman are written as separate individuals. Clark is a soft, laid back guy. Superman is friendly but very formal and his actions speak volumes, with strong art to back it up.
Romita Jr. tackles pencils this issue. The very first panel of an imposing Batman in power armor said it all. Romita Jr. draws the sketchiest, grittiest characters this side of Jack Kirby, and his work exemplifies power. Janson has inked Romita Jr.’s work for years and the two share a symbiotic relationship of ink and lines. The art is a drastic change from the work of Kudranski, but no less enjoyable.
Anderson’s colors make Action Comics burn bright. DC’s commitment to putting such talents in a Superman book month to month is encouraging. The creative team is laying the groundwork for an amazing future for this book. I look forward to this book every month.
This is a great issue in a wonderful series. Leviathan rocked Superman and Metropolis. Lex Luthor ruined what’s left of our hero and his city. Leone has gone public to further her own ends. The Man of Steel is outflanked. His enemies have seized the day. But, this story is far from over, thankfully.
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Action Comics #1017
Superman is a great issue in a wonderful series. DC’s commitment to putting such talents in a Superman book month to month is encouraging. The creative team is laying the groundwork for an amazing future for this book.
William J. Jackson is a small town laddie who self publishes books of punk genres, Victorian Age superheroes, rocket ships, and human turmoil. He loves him some comic books, Nature, Star Trek, and the fine art of the introvert.