Action Comics #1003
Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 26, 2018
Cover date: November 2018
“Invisible Mafia” – Part 3
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Yanick Paquette
Inker: Yanick Paquette
Cover: Patrick Gleason
Variant Covers: David Mack and Francis Manapul
Reviewed by: Mario Bennese
In a shady part of Metropolis, Robinson Goode enters a seedy bar to meet up with a criminal nicknamed Candy. Goode is given the piece of kryptonite that she had requested. At the Daily Planet, Clark and Jimmy engage in a brief conversation before Clark begins to feel unwell. Goode tries to convince Mr. White that her story about Boss Moxie getting axed is front page material. Perry shoots her down, but before Goode can retort, the staff of the Daily Planet notice Clark has fallen over ill. Passing it off as a migraine, Clark insists he’s fine. Using his x-ray vision, he discovers the piece of kryptonite in Robinson’s purse. The staff of the Daily Planet get Clark some water and some aspirin. As Robinson leaves to retrieve the paramedics, Clark begins to feel better.
Later that day, Goode’s purse is snatched from above. Looking to find the culprit, she finds Batman who interrogates her about her possession of the kryptonite. Goode insists that it’s for a story she’s writing, but Batman confiscates it anyway. Superman and Batman meet up briefly before Clark hears Goode talking about the kryptonite. At the same seedy bar, Goode is under the impression that she’s been double-crossed and tells Candy she’s got a leak in her group. Candy threatens to hurt Goode, but before Candy can act, she is murdered by Red Cloud. Superman arrives, but it’s too late. As he comforts Goode, he learns that Red Cloud was involved. Elsewhere, Lois is busy typing when she hears a knock at her door. She opens it, surprised to see Lex Luthor.
Story – 4: I appreciate this issue. I know the plot hasn’t massively progressed, but there is quite a bit of character building to be found here. For starters, it’s great to see more of the Daily Planet staff. I know that Bendis’ goal with this book was to focus more on the Clark side of Superman, but it’s great to see this actually happen. We actually see the staff at the Daily Planet acting like a family when they think Clark is seriously ill. Granted, we know it’s just some kryptonite exposure, but the speed at which they rushed to his aid is exactly the level of care I expect to see out of these characters. There’s even a neat little line of dialogue about Clark being defensive when it comes to people touching his ties. That’s a good, small detail about Clark and the little things he does to protect his secret.
The bit with Batman feels natural and does not overstay its welcome. Even the little exchange we see with Bruce and Clark is right in line with what I want to see from these two characters. Between the brief appearances of Superman in Tom King’s Batman run, their relationship in Justice League, and this issue, I think DC’s done away with the reluctant partnership dynamic when it comes to the World’s Finest.
There’s also a genuinely touching moment near the end that speaks volumes about Superman as a character. When the Man of Steel arrives at the bar after Red Cloud murders Candy, Robinson Goode gives him a hug and he comforts her. Despite knowing that she had acquired a piece of kryptonite to use against him, he still comforts her and assures her things will be alright. That’s the Superman I love. Bendis has received a lot of flack and most of it premature. If his stories aren’t to your liking, so be it. But at the very least, regardless of how you feel about him, he seems to have a clear and precise idea of how Superman should be presented and what he represents.
Art – 4: The art in this book was fun to look at. I love looking at the first page and finding all of the easter eggs. The thing that stood out most to me in this issue was the wavy paneling during the scene in which Clark is exposed to kryptonite. That was a nice touch that enhanced the scene and heightened the drama.
Cover Art – 4: I love the coloring and composition of this cover. For some reason, it reminds me of the Dark Knight Over Metropolis story. I think it’s a little cliché that Batman was thrown on the cover protecting Superman, but I know it’s to sell more books. Other than that, it’s a great cover.
Manapul’s Variant Cover Art – 3: I can’t be the only one that thinks Manapul hasn’t been bringing his A-game lately. Anatomically, his bodies are proportionate and from a layout perspective, he’s doing well. He’s just been missing the mark with faces on the last few covers I’ve seen him do.
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