Action Comics #1000 Is A Heartwarming Celebration Of Superman’s History

by James Ferguson

DC’s flagship title reaches a monumental issue #1000. The publisher is celebrating this achievement with an incredible line-up of creators in a monster 80 page issue. It’s basically a graphic novel anthology with stories from folks like Paul Dini, Brad Meltzer, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Geoff Johns, and even Brian Michael Bendis, who will be picking up the title with its next issue.

Action Comics #1000 is culmination of the 80 year history of the Man of Steel. The stories included within pay tribute to everything the character has been through, acknowledging the changes he’s undergone over the years and the principles which he stands for. It’s beautiful.

It’s tough to pick a favorite in this bunch as every single story lands perfectly. I was glad to see recent Superman scribes Patrick Gleason, Peter J. Tomasi, and Dan Jurgens get some extra pages as they’ve been doing some great work with the character since Rebirth began. Jurgens’ tale “From the City That Has Everything” opens the book and it’s a fitting way to do so. It shows the lengths Superman goes to protect the people of Earth and how modest he is about it, avoiding the spotlight even when Metropolis has an entire day to celebrate him.

Gleason and Tomasi’s story, “Never-Ending Battle” is told entirely in full-page images, each one highlighting a different era of Superman’s life. He has to fight through each time period to get back home.  Gleason’s artwork is gorgeous, capturing important moments in the Man of Steel’s mythos such as fighting Nazis in World War II, his death, Kingdom Come, and The Dark Knight Returns.  Each image has a unique look and feel to it, mimicking the time period it’s paying homage to, while the narration explains why he was fighting so hard.

It’s interesting to see some of the angles the stories go. For example, “The Car” written by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner and illustrated by Oliver Coipel, tells the story of the signature automobile seen on the cover of Action Comics #1. I never wondered what happened to the driver or what he did next, but this makes for an interesting tale, especially since its Superman’s first appearance. The driver tries to explain to the mechanic that a man wearing his underwear on the outside smashed up his car. That sounded ridiculous back then, but now it’s something insurance companies in Metropolis probably cover for an additional fee.

Speaking of the underwear, they are most definitely back. The red trunks are featured in every single story and aside from the last one by Bendis and Jim Lee, they are not mentioned. It’s like they’ve always been there.  I don’t particularly mind them or the costume without them. They both look fine to me.

Bendis’ story serves as a lead-in to his Man of Steel mini-series set to kick-off on May 30th. It’s mostly a big, action-packed battle with Superman and Supergirl fighting against a monstrous creature. I had some initial doubts about Bendis taking over the Kryptonian reins, mostly because he booted out the current creators, but the final line of this tale hooked me. It is something I was not expecting and definitely something I have never seen before, so now I’m very much excited about his run if this is the path he’s going to take.

Action Comics #1000 is a celebration of a character that has become synonymous with the comic book medium. When you think of super heroes, Superman is the first person that comes to mind.  This comic highlights the 80 year history of the Man of Steel and shows why he has stood the test of time. Superman is so important to pop culture and this comic is the perfect exploration of that.  It is not to be missed.

Action Comics #1000 is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.