Year of the Villain: The Offer continues as Perry White gets a visit from Leone with new marching orders for the Planet, Red Cloud pulls a thorn from the side of the Invisible Mafia, and Superman gets a visitor! ACTION COMICS #1014 from DC Comics is on store shelves now!
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Szymon Kudranski
Colorist: Brandon Anderson
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Mike Cotton
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 28, 2019
Previously in ACTION COMICS: Leone is visited by the mysterious Lex Luthor image, but unlike most others, she takes offence at his unexpected intrusion. Robinson Goode has a conversation with Perry White about where she gets her stories, specifically on Rose and Thorn and Leviathan. Despite some hesitation he gives her the go ahead to continue. But her Red Cloud powers are glitching, threatening to reveal Goode’s identity. Superman, in the meantime, comes across Thorn as she is battling some Leviathan minions, and after stepping in, Superman finds himself teleported across the world. Finally, Goode gets a visit from Luthor. He gives her complete control of her powers and offers to tell her where they come from.
NO BOSS LIKE THE NEW BOSS
It’s raining in Metropolis as Perry White arrives at the Daily Planet, and he is surprised to find a visitor in the form of Marisol Leone, owner to the company which owns the Daily Planet. While Perry thinks at first that she has arrived to have herself “introduced” to Metropolis as the new owner, her visit is much more fundamental. She wants the paper to sell and get clicks, uncovering Leviathan would do that. As she and Perry dance around each other, verbally, she tells Perry the days of the Daily Planet being a gossip rag are over, she wants the focus to be on Leviathan and other important things. As they begin to discuss how best this can be done, Perry notices the television, a giant monster is attacking Metropolis and Superman is on the scene.
Once again, Superman was on his way to S.T.A.R. Labs to ask for assistance, and once again he was distracted by some emergency which diverted his intent. This time it is this giant monster. After defeating it, technicians from S.T.A.R. arrive, and seem reluctant to answer Superman’s questions. Instead, they produce a video screen and introduce Superman to the project manager, Doctor Glory. Prepared for a fight, Superman is unarmed by Doctor Glory asking him to bring the creature to S.T.A.R. Labs for her so they can test it for temporal energies, and see if there is any dangerous residuals on it or the Man of Steel. Those energies are just what Superman was wishing to question S.T.A.R. personnel about. Then he asks a question, has Leviathan attacked S.T.A.R. Labs?
Before it is over, Clark meets the leader of the Invisible Mafia, Thorn makes her move, Red Cloud shows new control over her powers, and Lois and Clark have a talk. All of this and the beginning of the guest star/cross-over everyone has been waiting for!
LIKE A PURLOINED LETTER
This issue sees Brian Michael Bendis (Man of Steel, Ultimate Spider-Man) continuing her writing duties on the flagship title of the DC Universe. The story of Leviathan, the Invisible Mafia, and its effect on Metropolis is moving along, but at a pretty standard pace. Bendis is well known for his intricate plots and wide, over-arching stories, but he is equally known for throwing a wide-web. We are just really beginning to see some movement, especially on the Invisible Mafia front, while he also lays out bread crumbs about the nature of Leviathan. The story is good and entertaining, but it just starts to feel a little drawn out. But, as this is part of the major LEVIATHAN EVENT crossover, it actually retains the feel that it is independent of it. Some of the best parts of this issue are not when Superman is flexing his muscles against a generic monster, but the conversations between Marisol Leone and Perry White. It shows just what a strain White had been under due to the refocus of the Planet’s stories, and how willing he is to grab onto any opportunity to return to “real news.” Leone, for her part, plays strong but secretly afraid, which is something we have not seen from this character. She is probably the strongest of the cast Bendis has introduced, having a down to earth characterization which seems humble but with a tint of menace. The appearance of Naomi is a surprise, and I wonder if there is more than a visual connection between her and Leone.
Szymon Kudranski’s (Spawn, Black-Eyes Kids) art work is good. He has a photographic style which lends itself well to the Daily Planet scenes. But, to my eye, there not as much energy as is needed in the fight scenes, especially when Superman confronts the giant monster. It seems a little bland. There is action, but subdued. The Red Cloud fight later in the issue makes up for it some, but there is still that realistic look which takes away from the wonder of seeing a super powered fight. Donl;t get me wrong, I like his art, but it just seems as if it needs a little push when it comes to action.
BOTTOM LINE: ENTERTAINING
This is a good issue. Bendis has great talent at delivering on the long game, and this is definitely a step along the road of the Leviathan story. As I said earlier, the Leone / White conversation is about the best part. There is a lot of underlying feeling hidden in the dialogue, and Kudranski brings out a sense of Leone being on edge.
In terms of action, this issue is a little uneven. The set-up pages eclipse the action pages making it feel as if Superman is on the back burner. However, it is done so well, you really get a thrill as the issue closes.
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Action Comics #1014
Big moves by the head of the Invisible Mafia and a great last minute appearance make this a good issue for you pull list. Not great, but good.