Friday, October 25, 2019

Review: Action Comics #1016

Action Comics #1016 came out this week, wrapping up the quick visit to Metropolis by Naomi while ratcheting up the Invisible Mafia storyline. As has been the norm with this book, there were great moments and snappy dialogue. This also, like last issue, showcased the difference in Superman and Batman regarding new heroes and advice. In many ways, this was just a sort of primer on Naomi for all those who have missed out on her solo comic.

The growth in the character of the Red Cloud and the subsequent fallout with the Invisible Mafia is the main push in this issue regarding the ongoing plots in the DCU. Leviathan is barely mentioned. There isn't any 'Legion of Doom' sigils. But what I did find interesting is how this issue shows the citizens of Metropolis and how they respond to super-fights and destruction.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis does a great job capturing the voices of all the characters. In particular, I love his Metropolis denizens and how they all seem to be behind their hero even if destruction occasionally happens.

Artist Szymon Kudranski has to kick it up a notch with his action sequences as it looks like a block is leveled in this fight. But there are plenty of dialogue scenes and close-ups which are rendered well.

Another fine issue. On to the details!

We start with the Daily Planet chirper page. I like how this page is a mix of quasi-ads, hints for the future and jokes.

The Amnesty Bay ad is a hoot. We see blurbs about Adam Strange and Jon growing up.

But that STAR Labs ad is interesting. We know something rotten is happening at STAR. With all the tech Leviathan has been using, they might behind Leviathan. Seeing Ray Palmer is lecturing there made me wonder. Could Palmer be Leviathan?

One thing that did sadden me? No #LeviathanTheory on the trends. I was hoping I would go viral.

We then go to a double page spread showing the devastation left in the aftermath of a Superman/Red Cloud brawl. It is massive.

And Trish Q is there to get the breakdown from the eyewitness citizens.

Universally, they all seem to be behind Superman. Either they roll with the event or talk of how great it is that Superman was fighting for them, even if it seemed he was losing. Or maybe just frustrated he wasn't winning.

No doubt that the man in panel 3 in the yellow shirt is some Bendis analog. The look is too familiar. And the man talks about writing Trish's story. Hmmm ...

But I loved that we again see the two women who run the coffee house destroyed by Rogol Zaar.

As the story unfolds, it is clear that Red Cloud was able to hold Superman at bay, maybe even winning the fight. The citizens talk about seeing Superman getting angry and frustrated. They said they even saw him go 'all out' without much success.

I suppose that Superman had a hard time fighting Red Cloud before she was amped up with apparent magical, demonic powers.

I love how these young kids are sort of inspired by the whole thing. They talk of sitting by and watching the fight without doing anything. They say they realize just how bad off things could be without Superman.

There isn't a drop of 'Superman brings the villains' or 'look at this destruction; we hate Superman'. The citizens are part of the team.

Trish then hears that someone ... that is Naomi ... came on scene and was able to temporarily get Red Cloud off Superman. She rescued him! Amazing.

We then flashback.

In the Hall of Justice, Naomi sees Superman struggling against Red Cloud. She says she is going to help (another sign of inspiring?). And even when Batman forbids her going, a line shades of him talking to Carrie Kelly in DKR, she says she is taking her alpha power level to the fight.

I think that little smirk in the last panel shows Batman is actually a little pleased with her decision.

The fight isn't over. Sure, Naomi is able to body tackle Red Cloud away. But that is a pause.

I do love how the kids are thrilled that another young hero is on the scene. Look at how pumped they are!

Very much smiled at that. In this year of the villain with darkness everywhere, seeing kids get jazzed over superheroes made me happy.

And so we get this great action shot ... Superman and Red Cloud streaking to each other in a true faceoff. I just loved this shot. It puts us in the place of those eyewitnesses. This is what it would be like to say 'Look ... up in the sky ...'

There is a massive explosion and Cloud seems to 'dissipate'. Hmmm ...

But this all seems odd to Trish. How did Red Cloud go from no one to someone strong enough to take on Superman?

For me, I wonder what becomes of Robinson Goode? I liked her character.

With the fight over, there is nothing left but the wrap up of the Naomi arc.

The World's Finest duo head back to Portland with Naomi. Last issue, we really got to see how Superman and Batman interacted with Naomi, around her origins and her powers and her desires.

I love this moment where Superman again compares her origins to his. And he points out how much love that is evident in her life. She'll be okay.

Another great Superman moment. Perfect.

Batman has a different moment, telling Naomi's family that she needs training.

Tremendous power will handle a lot. But not everything.

That is so Batman.

And we end on a great stinger.

Red Cloud and Thorn fought in one of the Invisible Mafia bars. The Mayor was there. Now the souped up Red Cloud is running solo, breaking rules, and acting against orders.

The Invisible Mafia is suddenly visible.

And Ms. Leone thinks it is time to bring the war out into the open.


So another good issue in this book. I have enjoyed the Action side of things consistently. And even this little side trip into the Naomi world continued to push everything forward. I have become accustomed to the work of Kudranski, a sort of rugged take on art.

I hope we don't lose Robinson Goode though. She is a great addition to the Daily Planet.

Overall grade: B+


Anonymous said...

I've been a fan of Bendis' run on Action, but these last two issues haven't done it for me. I enjoyed the novelty of seeing Trish Q interview the metropolis citizens but I felt there wasn't too much plot development with the invisible mafia. I am optimistic for the Invisible War next month though.

I have only recently started reading Bendis with his move to DC and I really like his take on Superman (especially the world of Metropolis), but I feel his biggest problem is that just when he gets going on one great idea, he moves to something action he suddenly moved to a two issue Naomi arc and in Superman I feel we did not get much closure or information about Rogol Zaar because he quickly moved to introduce the Legion...which was really frustrating.

Anonymous said...

I also wish we learned something more about Robinson here

Martin Gray said...

Well, unless Robinson has been shoved out of the Red Cloud character (is she a Firestorm-like Matrix?) and Blaze or someone else has taken over, she was all over this issue and will likely show up as herself soon, Bendis doesn’t tend to throw away his characters.

This was another great issue, I can’t wait to see what form the Invisible War takes; I do hope, though, that Ms Leone stays in the background, I like her as a Morgan Edge (original version)-style employer of the Planet family, though one who actually improves the quality of the product.

Top review, Anj!

Rob S. said...

I wonder if Red Cloud will be the villain changing her ways after the upcoming ID revelation, simply because Robinson admires Clark?

In any case, I hope she remains a part of the supporting cast, and that Red Cloud becomes an occasional aberration, similar to how Carol Ferris would only sometimes become Star Sapphire in the 60s and 70s.

Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments.

I guess I don't want Robinson Goode to only be a villain. I like the idea of her having a nearby secret identity.

This seems to be a more permanent career choice.