Monday, March 2, 2020

Review: Action Comics #1020

Action Comics #1020 came out this week and was another great chapter in the Metropolis of Doom storyline. I am sick to death of the Apex Lex/Perpetua/Legion of Doom storyline, especially since we have seen it's downbeat ending and the upcoming 'Metal' sequel. But I am a sucker for team-ups and I am a believer in the power of Superman's hope and I have become fan of Leviathan. This issue is chock full of those things, which make this a winner.

Brian Michael Bendis makes this almost a DC Comics Presents Superman and Young Justice issue. It is amazing to me how easy and breezy Bendis' Young Justice reads. So, of course, I loved seeing Superman immediately recognize them as a force for good and put them into action. That means we also get a meeting (again ... for the first time) between Superman and the Conner Superboy! It's about time!

Moreover, questions I had last issue about Leviathan's motivations to join the LoD are answered at the end of the book. Any time I get more insight into the new menace of Leviathan, I'm a happy reader.

The one downside again, for me, is the art by John Romita Jr. It just doesn't flow for me. Even this cover, with that odd right leg, just seems off. Unfortunately, for a medium which requires the use of both words and art, I felt pulled out of the story a little.

On to the book!

Young Justice has made it back from other dimensions are outside the Hall of Justice.

It's time to meet Superman.

They know that their existence is going to be confusing. Superboy trying to explain who he is shows just how murky the DCU continuity can be at times.

I am pretty sure (and I'll look I promise) that this page mirrors the last page of the last Young Justice giving this a nice flow if you read that book.

And Bendis seems to be having fun sneaking a 'Look up in the sky ...' line in almost all Superman books although no one seems to be able to finish the line.

Superman arrives and says that Leviathan's teleportation tech is powerful enough to have sent him out into deep space.

We again read that Superman can often anticipate what his villains are going to do. But with Leviathan teaming up with Lex, there is no game plan. There are no rules. He can't figure out what is going to happen next.

I find that scary and interesting at the same time.

Within seconds, Superman sizes up this Young Justice team and recognizes them immediately as heroes. And he needs all the help he can get fighting Lex and Leviathan.

In classic JLA style, Superman deploys the team sending them in pairs out to safeguard the citizens in different areas. He'll take Superboy with him.

Nice panel layout on the top panel with Superman leading the team.

But it is the semi-confusion about who/what Conner is that grabbed me the most. Despite the confusion, Superman knows he needs to trust this Superboy.

Superman recognizes that the Legion of Doom have brought the fight and plan to hold the fight in Metropolis. They know Superman won't go all out there, leveling the city he defends. I don't think I have heard of that strategy before. And we know Superman (outside of Zach Snyder movies) tries to move battles away from the population. So this is a good plot point and builds on the 'new rules' idea.

Conner wonders if the Legion of Doom anticipated there being two Supermen to fight.

I have to assume that someone as smart as Lex would anticipate more super-beings getting involved. It isn't implicitly stated (unless I missed it somewhere) that the blue field will keep everyone out except Superman. Did I miss that fact somewhere? But if true, Conner being around is a boon.

The Young Justice troop head out to save people.

Pretty cool that we see Naomi's first bus carry.

Also sad that these characters are shown to be heroes and Supergirl is absent. I suppose Luthor planning this attack for when Supergirl is gone is another hint that the field will allow Kryptonians through but no one else.

But Conner does sneak in.

And while the Legion of Doom and Luthor beat up on Superman, Superboy does his best to demolish their headquarters. With the LoD headquarters in the ocean, the field seems to drop allowing the Justice League to jump into the fray. And just in time given Superman lays unconscious at the feet of Grodd.

A super-brat? Leviathan sure is quippy.

Last issue I wondered why Leviathan, someone looking to break the status quo of secrecy and controls would join with a megalomaniac like Luthor. I even wondered why Shaw, who has always been that Leviathan is the organization and not him, would suddenly decide to be the 'leader' of a new world order. In fact, I wondered if he was playing Luthor.

Turns out I was right.

Shaw thinks that Luthor is part of the problem. And now Shaw has fooled the smartest man in the room.

Luthor was part of Shaw's bigger plan.

Now I don't know the plan but it looks like it might be teleport the Leviathan Island onto the razed Metropolis landscape. I guess Leviathan liked Ultron's Sokovia plan?

But truly if you want to tick off Superman, dropping a villain headquarters in the middle of his hometown would sure do the trick. Amazing.

Superman teaming up with Young Justice. Recognizing Conner as a hero and bringing him along. Conner saving the day. Leviathan outsmarting Luthor. That's a lot of good stuff!

Overall grade: B

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, there's art and then there's Romita.

But actually, a lot of this is very dynamically drawn.

There's that interesting double-page splash that's printed on its side like one enormous single page. I don't think that's obvious in the digital version.

Now, Romita is the very first artist who found a way draw a grotesque-looking Cassie Sandsmark/Wonder Girl. The only other woman he drew as oddly is Diana, in the first panel she appears. She looks like she was indeed born of clay. The rest of the women look pretty normal.

The timeline remains unidentifiable: Supergirl is still in space, or has left again; Superboy is back from Skartarsis; Naomi still has brand new powers; while most of the Legion of Doom are not yet in their pods - it's happening in the past, present and future all at once.