Review: Metropolis’s Gang War Gets Deadly Serious In ‘Action Comics’ #1024

by Tony Thornley

Superman has never really been one to clean up the streets of Metropolis. Now that’s largely because his presence in the city has been an inspiring influence. However, Action Comics #1024 shows what happens when organized crime moves in against the Man of Steel.

This is a big change of pace for Superman and his family. Organized crime is more Batman’s beat. However, Brian Michael Bendis, John Romita Jr, Klaus Janson, Brad Anderson, and Dave Sharpe show us what that means for the House of Kent.

The Invisible Mafia isn’t so invisible anymore. Superman and his family knows to look for the blind spots in the city and it’s only a matter of time before they discover them. However, between the Daily Planet under FBI lockdown, and personal attacks on people he cares about, it may be a fight Superman can’t win.

Bendis continues to show his fundamental understanding of who Superman is as a character, and that makes all the difference in this issue. Many other creators would take this concept and play it like a souped up version of the same story we might see in Batman or Green Arrow. Here, Bendis crafts a story that’s centered in the character as much as the concept. Superman cares about others, which drives him to handle the attacks, the criminal activity and such in his way, and not just punching his way through it harder.

However, despite those positives in the story, Romita and Janson’s work is wildly inconsistent. On some pages the figures are awkwardly posed to the point of being distracting, such as the Super-family in flight, or severely off model, such as Fire Chief Melody Moore or Supergirl. Other pages are strong, such as the pacing of a really funny joke (watch for Brianiac 5’s reaction to the Daily Planet globe), or the reveal of the entire Family angrily encircling the Invisible Mafia’s information broker.

This all makes for a wildly inconsistent issue, but in the end it works because of the strength of the story. With a stronger showing on the art, it would push the issue from good to great.

Action Comics #1024 is available now from DC Comics.

Rating: 7/10

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