Action Comics #1000

Action Comics 1000 is a historic event, such a big event that it can’t be told by just one person. This issue is a collection of some of DC’s latest and greatest in writing as well as some of the classics. Each story is their own one-shot and contained continuity. It’s full of fun easter eggs, amazing art, and emotion filled stories.

Story #1: From The City That Has Everything
Written & Art by Dan Jurgens
Ink by Norm Rapmund
Colors by Hi-Fi
Letters by Rob Leigh

This story is easily in my top 5 of all 11 stories this book contains. We start off in space, Superman is taking down an alien armada known as the Khund. There’s some internal dialogue with Superman, as well as some conversation coming from elsewhere with Lois Lane and Jonathan Kent. There is some ceremony that Clark is suppose to be, and you can tell he is almost stalling to not go. When he gets there, it’s a giant ceremony for Superman, more specifically, a thank you ceremony. The Mayor, a firefighter, Maggie Sawyer, and an ex-con all take turns talking about the times Superman helped them. During this time, Superman notices a Khund ship in far off space, and then it immediately disappears from Superman’s sight. Confused, Clark continues to listen to the speakers but is very vigilant. You also see Lois answer calls from Perry White constantly. The last speaker who the Mayor introduces is in fact Perry White, and from that moment, Superman questions why Lois was lying, thinking the Khund was behind it all, but Wonder Woman flies by and reassures him that everything is fine. Lois was in fact talking to Batman because the Khund was invading and the entire Justice League took care of the situation, and the Khund ship in far off space disappeared because Martian Manhunter used his telepathy to hide it from him. It was the Justice League’s way to say thank you by giving Superman a day off.

This issue was so cool. You see Superman stressing because he feels the awkwardness of him seeing everyone thanking him, and in a way, almost humbling himself saying that they shouldn’t be thanking him. You see how much Superman has an influence on every day heroes and even every day “bad guys”. When the ex-con speaks, Jon almost gets upset that the community lets him speak, but Clark stops him and lets the man finish, and you see how Superman changed his life after capturing him several times- letting everyone know that he has changed for the better and living a life free of crime. Clark tells Jon that everyone has the potential to change. The art in this book felt very 90’s, and it gave you that kind of feel as well. (Clayton Hinojosa)


Story #2: The Never Ending Battle
Artist by, Patrick Gleason &
Story and words by, Peter J. Tomasi
Colors by, Alejandro Sanchez
Letters by, Tom Napolitano

This short story begins as Superman is hit with a bonding energy and teleported to an underground lair and held at the mercy of Vandal Savage! Vandal call himself, “The Immortal Vandal Savage!” Savage was able to achieve this by weaponizing hypertime. As a result, Superman is transported back to 1939 where he fights Nazis, which leads to Superman’s first epiphany of the story: the only way to get back to you [his family] is to push past the past. This is in some ways a call out to our current political environment by comparing it to our past.

Superman is then flung into the future where he shows the inhabitants of a distant planet how to harness the planet’s energy by using his own body. Vandal uses several enemies to attack Superman through the space time continuum. He threatens Superman’s family, he makes Superman his own worst enemy, and he uses mother nature, all in attempt to defeat Superman. However, Superman comes out on top: “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” He reiterates a lesson he’s learned about survival: “Stay true to yourself and abide by your morals and a little gumption is all you need to prevail.” However, what ultimately motivates Superman is the thought that nothing and nobody would separate him from his family.

Tomasi has learned how to tell a Superman story representing his strength while tapping into the values that have always driven the character. Superman learns through this struggle that the past informs the future, it teaches us, strengthens us; however, those who forget the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. As on-the-nose as this story sounds, it was creatively presented and doesn’t feel preachy. What helped was the beautiful art by Gleason who captured the nobility with humility that encapsulates Superman as a character.  For example, despite Superman’s god-like status, his focus is to help others as evidenced by his treatment of the aliens who captured him in the middle of this story. (Tom Zimm)


Story #3: An Enemy Within
Script: Marv Wolfman
Art: Curt Swan
Inks: Butch Guice/Kurt Schaffenberger
Colors/Production Assist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Rob Leigh

Superman knows that he wields great power, but even he recognizes that he can’t be everywhere at once.  He has to prioritize where he needs to be and then take action.  Sometimes those priorities may have him helping people across the globe even when Metropolis may need his help too. In those instances, it’s nice to know Superman can defer to people like Maggie Sawyer.  Maggie Sawyer was able to diffuse a hostage situation with Superman only helping from afar because Brainiac was controlling a kidnaper with some type of mind control. Maggie Sawyer was able to keep the situation from escalating because she’s smart, compassionate, and strong.  This story from Marv Wolfman and Curt Swan shows that mankind can be compassionate under dire conditions, and that Superman doesn’t need to be there all the time.  It’s nice to know that he can be there, but it’s also comforting that mankind can do the right thing when it needs to be done. (Pierre Arnette)


Story #4: The Game
Storytellers: Paul Levitz/Neal Adams
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Dave Sharpe

It’s always nice to see Neal Adams drawing a Superman comic because it is a rarity these days. This story pits Superman and Lex Luthor against each in a game of chess. Of course Lex believes he can defeat Superman, but of course Superman defeats him in this game of wits. Luthor thought he had the upper hand and tried to dispatch Superman with green chains of kryptonite. Superman isn’t just brawn and was prepared for this move by Lex.  He was given a device by Scott Free to cancel out the radiation in the kryptonite.  This was just a classic Lex and Superman story told by two of his best storytellers in Paul Levitz and Neal Adams. (Pierre Arnette)


Story #5: The Car
Story by, Geoff Johns & Richard Donner
Art by, Oliver Coipel
Colors by, Alejandro Sanchez
Letters by, Matt Wilson & Nick Napolitano 

The story begins in a mechanic’s garage. The owner of a smashed up car is explaining to the mechanic what happened that led to the car being damaged.

“What did you hit?”

“A man.Wearing red underwear.”

“He hung me on a pole”

Superman meets the man while he is walking home from the mechanic’s. He confronts the man for his misogyny and bullying. As you’d expect, the man is terrified. Superman reviews the man’s tough upbringing having lost his father at age 13 years old and raised in an orphanage. Superman advises the man: “Be that person who wasn’t there for you for someone else.”

The story is short and to the point. The haunting and isolated tone is set by the art as much as by the sparse dialogue which has a 1930’s feel to it. As bare-boned as the story is, it leaves an impact: the present moment and the way we treat people in our lives is important regardless of our past experiences. (Tom Zimm)


Story #6: The Fifth Season
Script: Scott Snyder
Art: Rafael Albuquerque
Color: Dave McCaig
Letters: Tom Napolitano

Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuqurque have told plenty of stories together that include Batman and American Vampire, but it was nice to see this duo tackle a Superman story. This story shows how caring Superman is even when someone is trying to cause him harm.  Lex has just acquired the Eye of Xotar and Chronos’ Time Scissors and can be used to cut any genealogical line from history, but instead Lex decides to take a trip down memory lane with Superman.  During this memory they visit, Lex explains to Superman what the Fifth Season is and his fascination with it. He also boasts to Superman that he created a laser with his lab partner in fourth grade, but that he essentially did it by himself. What Lex didn’t know was that his partner was a young Clark Kent, and that Clark saved his life without him knowing it. Clark saved him even though he stole the laser and took all the credit for it. Clark also knows that Lex wants to kill him with the Eye of Xotar and Chronos’ Time Scissors, but that doesn’t stop him from going down memory lane with Lex.  Superman knows Lex wants nothing more than to destroy him, but he’s still willing to hear him out and help him if need be. (Pierre Arnette)


Story #7: Of Tomorrow
Writing by Tom King
Art by Clay Mann
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by John Workman

This story is so emotional. It answers the question that I’m sure everyone has asked about Superman, “Would Superman outlive the lifespan of the Earth?” We see Clark scooping up some dirt, explaining that he has visited at least once a year, estimating it at about five billion visits. He crushes the dirt into a a diamond. The next panel puts the reality into where exactly he is: the sky is engulfed in flames, there is no vegetation, this is the last hours of the Earth. He mentions that he could have easily pushed the Earth out of orbit of the sun to the let it survive, but he mentions that basically everything must end at some point even mentioning the death of his home world, Krypton. Before he says goodbye, he gives his final updates. Lois is running the Universal info network, alive only by drinking something by the name of the Eternity Formula. Jon, he just sums up by saying he reminds him of Ma, that being Ma Kent. At this point you notice, he is not saying goodbye to just Earth but his parents. He makes the comment, “It doesn’t matter how long it’s been. It’s still every day.” During this time he is heating the diamond with his heat vision and using his ice breath as well, molding it into a carving of Ma Kent, Pa Kent, and young Clark. He places it onto the grave of his parents, says goodbye and thanks them for everything.

This book is my favorite of the book, only for the amount of emotions I felt for this story. So much emotion for such a short story The tone is definitely set from the start- amazing writing from Tom King. Makes me want him on more Superman stories. You can clearly see in the text, the emotions that are going through Superman himself, he is saying goodbye to everything that made him Superman in the first place. The art showed the emotion as well, both a bit somber and terrifying The Earth was completely desolate and dead. (Clayton Hinojosa)


Story #8: Five Minutes
Written by, Louise Simonson
Art by, Jerry Ordway
Colors by, Dave McCaig
Letters by, Carlos M. Mangual

People can’t be everywhere at once, or can they? The issue begins with Clark finishing up an article when his editor Perry yells, “You have 5 minutes!” The monologue reads: “It’s our job to tell our readers what to pay attention to.” As fate would have it, Superman is needed to address an emergency, so Clark responds. He saves a group of people from a train due to a conductor having a heart attack. Clark’s inner monologue returns, “Good reporting is like x-ray vision, you get in-depth focus on small things.” The parallel between Superman, the hero, and the work of a reporter is reinforced throughout the story.

The story is short and impactful. The art is amazing, especially the details that depicts people and the city landscape. Clark returns to complete his article, however Perry catches wind of Superman’s heroics and demands that Clark change his article. Such is the life of a reporter. The story is short, sweet, to-the-point, and it highlights a specific aspect of Superman’s character: he’s a hero for the little guy. (Tom Zimm)


Story #9: Actionland
Script: Paul Dini
Pencils: José Luis García-López
Inks: Kevin Nowlan
Colors: Trish Mulvihill
Letterer: Josh Reed

This story takes readers through the timeline of Superman, and it does an amazing job of doing so. This story may have only been six pages long, but it hits all the significant points in Superman’s life. There is the crashing of his ship on Earth, how he grew up in Kansas, him fighting crime in Metropolis, his allies and foes, and the battle he had with Doomsday. There is even mention of him succumbing to the dangerous threat of Mr. Mxyzptlk, or so it was made to believe.  Gspie knows that Mxy can make Superman disappear with a snap of his fingers, but she also realizes that Superman defines who Mxy is, and she never wants that to go away. Even Mr. Mxyzptlk can see that the good that resides in him is because of the big blue Boy Scout and takes some solace in that. José Luis García-López is still an terrific artist, and it shows in this short Superman story. (Pierre Arnette)


Story #10: Faster than a Speeding Bullet
Writing by Brad Meltzer
Art by John Cassaday
Colors by Laura Martin
Letters by Chris Euopoulos

Faster than a Speeding Bullet, one of the claim to fame phrases everyone loves and enjoys and very much attached to Superman in every way. This story is very special, not just to show how fast Superman is, but how we as normal people can inspire such a God-like being.

A man by the name of Rick Fagen has taken a hostage in a subway tunnel, people are recording the situation, there is no given reason why Rick takes this hostage, but Superman sees from miles away that he is about to pull the trigger of the gun he has to this woman’s head. Superman describes using his powers- the bullet going through the barrel, Rick’s muscles and body reacting to the situation, and notices the woman leaning into the gun. This puts her life in danger, but it buys her an autosecond, just enough time for Superman to crash in and catch the bullet before anything bad happens. Superman takes the woman aside and compliments her on her bravery even suggesting that she join the police force.  Lois and Clark then have a conversation as she notices a “look” on his face. She asks him if he met a “good one” today. He claims he meets a “good one” every day. Lois then says the most amazing and inspirational thing for every day individuals: “People always say they’re inspired by you…but I know your real secret. You’re the one inspired by them.”

Yet another short read, but also a very stressful short read. Five pages, but this situation took place in less than a few seconds. The art gave a very classic look to Superman but for an amazing reason. In the book, Clark makes the statement that he has never moved so fast since Pa. A bit of an easter egg, or nod, to a very heartbreaking scene in the Superman mythos. In the story arc of the Death of Superman back in the 90’s as well as Superman: The Movie in the 80’s, Pa Kent dies from a heart attack. He at one point didn’t think he was going to make it. It makes things real when it comes to the stakes for when Superman isn’t fast enough, or powerful enough. I will have to give kudos to the credits team for making me a bit teary eyed as they gave credit for this story to the one and only Christopher Reeve, one of the biggest names in Superman’s history. Played Superman in four movies and cameoed in Smallville before his death in 2004. He was known as the man that could truly fly. (Clayton Hinojosa)


Story #11: The Truth
Writing by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils by Jim Lee
Inks by Scott Williams
Colors by Alex Sinclair
Letters by Cory Petit

The first page of this story shows exactly the tone for what’s to come in the rest of this story. Superman is being hit hard, his face is bruised and bleeding. Superman goes crashing into the streets of Metropolis and skips like a rock on a lake into some sort of cafe or restaurants. There are two women who have some funny back and forth about Superman having the red trunks again, but then you see the face of what sent Superman flying in the first place. Supergirl comes down and starts beating on this ugly alien being. He then states that he “said” (past tense) that he would deal with her later. Implying that this confrontation has been going on for quite some time. There’s again some back and forth with these two random women that help Superman in hiding from the alien while Superman is unconscious. The MSCU also comes into the fight, attempting to stop the alien as well, although they do fail. Superman then regains consciousness and jumps back into the fight but not for very long. The invader, that we learn is named Rogol Zaar, puts both Supergirl and Superman down once again and claims he once made a promise to Jor-El  that he would cleans the universe of Kryptonians. He then stabs Superman with the claim that he destroyed Krypton.

This story, of course, is so much bigger than just a one-shot that the other stories were. Of course, this is the the very first story given to us by Brian Michael Bendis since he joined the DC Comics team. This book also ends saying that this story will continue in Bendis’ Man Of Steel mini series which will be on sale at local comic book shops May 30th. This book does exactly what it was meant to do: it leaves you wanting more. Expect nothing less from Brian Michael Bendis. His writing talent has the credentials to back it up. There is definitely a reason DC wanted him on their team. (Clayton Hinojosa)


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