Review: Superman Faces Mad Science Super-Monsters In Action Comics #1018

by Tony Thornley

Brian Michael Bendis’s Superman run has presented a Metropolis as lively and vibrant as the Man of Steel’s immediate family and friends. With that has come a number of mysteries, and Action Comics #1018 begins unraveling many of those, while presenting some new ones.

Bendis, John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson, Brad Anderson and Dave Sharpe set up the DC Universe’s newest epic.

Superman and the Justice League are on the ropes. The Red Mist stands by ready to swoop in to take advantage. And she isn’t the only one, as Leviathan prepares to strike!

This issue puts all of Bendis’s biggest plots in play for one epic story. It’s a big breathtaking story, with all the elements of the biggest story he’s told yet in eighteen months on the titles. It’s also great to see some of the story elements and characters start to pay off, such as the Red Mist’s origin, and more of the relationship between Superman and the different citizens of Metropolis.

Unfortunately, the story’s structure does it no favors. It takes place over at least three timelines, and it’s not totally clear when and where all of them take place. A more straightforward or clear timeline would have improved the story greatly.

Romita and Janson do a solid job with the art. The Red Mist origin and Clark Kent scenes are great, with fantastic character acting (improved greatly by Anderson’s bright and clear colors). The initial superhero battle looks great as well, and it’s incredibly (and intentionally) chaotic. However, the last action scene sees a Superman who’s a little stiff. 

Overall, it’s a strong story that’s missing a few elements to really make it great. Since much of this issue is set-up though, it points towards a quick improvement in the next few issues, which I hope is the case.

Action Comics #1018 is available now from DC Comics.

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