“Action Comics #1000” – A Closer Look at “The Truth” by Brian Michael Bendis

By Glen J. Clark

On Wednesday, April 18, Superman celebrated a few milestones. He turned 80, issue #1000 of “Action Comics” was released, and the Bendis era began.

Back in November of last year, Brian Michael Bendis announced that he had decided to leave Marvel and Join DC. Then tragedy struck and we wondered if we would ever see Bendis work on a DC title. Thankfully he survived his medical scare and recovered. In February of this year he announced that he would be taking over the reigns of the two main Superman titles. In Action Comics #1000 Bendis gave us a taste of what to expect in his first story arc in the upcoming “Man of Steel” miniseries (scheduled to be released on May 30) with a story titled “The Truth”.

Penciled by the legendary Jim Lee this story starts off mid battle and a battered Superman, who is falling uncontrollably across the Metropolis skyline, eventually crashes into a diner where two women attempt to shelter him long enough for him to recover and rejoin the battle. It is here where we are introduced to Rogol Zaar, an alien creature hell bent on wiping out the last of the Kryptonian bloodline. Supergirl joins the fight and creates enough of a distraction for Superman to regain his composure. Rogol Zaar tosses Supergirl aside saying, “I will deal with you next.” Superman tries to rejoin the fight, but with one swing of Rogol Zaar’s axe, he knocks Superman almost through the glass window of a bookstore. Zaar stomps on Superman boasting, “I cleansed the Galaxy of the Kryptonian plague”, reiterating that he is here to finish the job. As he stabs his sword through Superman’s chest, and as the panel fades to black Zaar says, “The Kryptonian sickness ends today, just like I promised Jor-El, when I destroyed the planet Krypton.”

3Story – 3: Looking at this story, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 for a couple of reasons. First, I believe this is just a teaser, something to whet our appetite for things to come. So without a definitive beginning and lead up to where the story started it is difficult to see how Bendis handles the exposition of a story. Instead he jumps right into the rising action. The second reason I’d give it a 3 was a general complaint I have every time a new prolific writer tackles the Man of Steel, and that is taking a history that has 80 years of tradition and feeling the need to drastically change its past, in this case a being who was responsible for Krypton’s destruction. Those two things aside, it was an enjoyable read, and for me, did its job of making me anxious for the next chapter in this story.

4Art – 4: Jim Lee is, well… Jim Lee, his art speaks for itself, but what kept this from getting a perfect 5, was the coloring. To me it looked over colored, like maybe if it was toned down a bit, it would accentuate the brilliance of Jim Lee’s pencils and Scott Williams inks. Don’t get me wrong, the art is stunning, I just feel a little less color by Alex Sinclair would have elevated this to an easy 5 Shield rating.

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April 22, 2018 8:45 pm

Okay so it is one of those “everything you know is wrong!” kind of things I guess it’s just going to be how severe of one it is. Rogul Zaar said he “promised” Jor-El he would destroy Krypton but what does that mean? Because you could read it one way and it’s basically a villian following through on a vow or read another way he was asked to destroy Krypton by Jor-El? Really hoping it’s not the latter because of had more than my fill of Jor-El being cast as a villain from the whole Mr. Oz thing.

April 22, 2018 9:00 pm
Reply to  MattComics

Great question and one i debated myself with. When i first read it, I read it as the latter where Jor El asjed him to do it. But in my second read theough. I read it completely different as if he told Jor El he was going to do it. Either way it changes history, but given the xhoice i prefer that he told Jor El he was going to do it. I fuess time will tell.

April 22, 2018 10:24 pm

On the subject of Krypton being destroyed by someone rather it being a natural disaster or a disaster set in motion a long time ago. On the one hand you can argue that the planet still explodes and in that sense Superman’s origin isn’t radically changed. On the other hand if Krypton is effectively murdered by some outside force it kind changes the game a little and I’m not sure it’s in a good way. I’ve always felt that the destruction of Krypton was at least in a sense meant to be a cautionary tale and that’s part of the… Read more »

April 22, 2018 11:38 pm
Reply to  MattComics

Also gotta know just what the heck was up with the “cousinsister” thing Zaar says about Supergirl?

April 23, 2018 4:25 am

Well, since this is basically the REBORN Superman (converging both Post-Crisis and New52 Universes) I guess I can safely say that this could be part of the New52 reality, just as Mr. OZ was Jor-El. I think that would make more sense rather than screwing around with the traditional & dominant P-C timeline.

April 23, 2018 6:04 pm
Reply to  DW13

This is a somewhat related question, but how long does it take DC to come up with stories? I mean do they have stories planned for Febuary 2019 already or is it a wait and see what the readers think on current issues?