Action Comics #1018 is written by Brian Michael Bendis, illustrated by John Romita Jr., with Klaus Janson on inks. Brad Anderson is the colorist and letters are done by Dave Sharpe. This issue does not contain a ‘Year of the Villain’ or ‘The Infected’ tagline on its cover, but it should. It continues the long crossover taking place in the Justice League book. Alpha Lex Luthor and his Legion of Doom have invaded Metropolis to destroy Superman and his allies with things, unfortunately, going their way.
Since issue #1017, there have been flash-forwards to the defeat of the Justice League. It’s a done deal. The heroes will lose to the Legion. The ‘Metropolis Doomed’ storyline rests on filling in the blanks of what went down before the fall of Superman’s city.
Action Comics #1018 gives more of these snippets. There is a patchwork of scenes detailing character dialogue, city events, and so forth. The largest portion of storytelling in this issue deals with Robinson Goode. Readers will recall Robin is not only a news reporter, but that she also is the powerful supervillain Red Cloud. She has a public history of thrashing Superman about like a ragdoll. In an interesting ‘Six Months Ago’ flashback, a light is cast on just how Robin came to be the Red Cloud.
That’s right. This issue is, in part, an origin story.
There is nothing spectacular in the origin. Robin is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and pays for it. The scientists she hopes to catch in the act of a secret experiment are caught… but so is she. A hasty effort to get Robin out of the way turns her into the brute that becomes the Red Cloud. It’s a good impression artistically with all of the smoke and effects. It also implies, hopefully, that this character will have a larger role to play in Superman’s life, perhaps even in a non-adversarial fashion. However, the dialogue was a bit forced in the flashback. Parts of it didn’t resonate well and that’s easy to pick up in a book that consistently has such good dialogue month after month.
Also, as much as the current slate of DC Comics crossovers have changed so much in the latter half of 2019, it seems that the convergence of several plots is creating crossover fatigue. The many elements in this issue should highlight and point back to the Legion of Doom showdown. They do, but this time around, they are very brief. It could be a great setup for future issues, but for now, it comes off as puzzle pieces that are hard to reconcile.
Brian Michael Bendis writes his best characterizing Superman. This is a bright, compassionate hero the world needs. Readers should enjoy this after decades of dark tales and doubtful characters. He manages to keep expanding on the supporting cast and the vibrancy of Metropolis. John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson sketch and ink an amazing set of panels for the Red Cloud. The colors in this issue are vivid. Brad Anderson keeps things bright and chipper. Lettering is more subdued this time around, with less special effects. But there is a lovely panel outfitted with faded sets of word bubbles that set a nice tone as Robin regains consciousness.
Action Comics #1018 delivers a strong issue. Justice League issues and other books might be required reading to gain clarity on what’s happening here, but such is the burden of crossovers.
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Action Comics #1018
Action Comics #1018 delivers a strong issue. Brian Michael Bendis writes his best characterizing Superman. This is a bright, compassionate hero the world needs. Readers should enjoy this after decades of dark tales and doubtful characters.
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.