Brian Michael Bendis, writer
Steve Epting, art
Brad Andersen, colors
Josh Reed, letters
Previously, in Action, Clark Kent and Lois Lane go undercover to investigate an organization called Spyral and their possible connection to Talia Al Ghul’s Leviathan criminal organization. Meanwhile, Jimmy Olsen and Amanda Waller are left at the Fortress of Solitude for their own safety. Can Amanda Waller be trusted if left alone in the Fortress of Solitude? Is Jimmy safe? This issue begins, Leviathan operative Kate Spencer confronts DEO Director Bones who is, visually, a skeleton. They traded verbal barbs, and Bones suspects that Kate is dangerous to him. He’s right. Meanwhile, Clark and Lois go undercover as “Chaz”and “Andi”. They explore a building when they are confronted by a man wielding a weapon. The conversation is interrupted when Superman confronts a large adversary, which he carries to outer space. The issue ends with Superman searching for Lois to tell her the new piece of evidence he’s learned from this encounter.
An endearing moment is when Lois and Clark work on their undercover story. Lois describes her persona, “I’m Andi your impulsive fiance.” She coaches Clark on his demeanor as an undercover agent taking into consideration that he cannot tell a lie. The situation is a demonstration of Brian Michael Bendis as a writer and his strong grasp on the characters. However, I’m hard pressed to recall a writer who was as attuned to the emotional beats of these characters or as effective and describing the dynamic between them.
The art is dark, muddy, and blunt. The use of deep colors mixed with dark lines creates the visual aesthetic of mystery and danger. Superman looks like a completely different character, at times, in a good way. The age-old barrel-chested wide-shouldered Superman is well-worn and not as interesting as this version. The most interesting visual occurs toward the middle of the book. Lois appears to be elevated above the city, holding on to Clark’s hand with the city building colored gold beneath. The art reinforces the story, which accurately depicts Lois as the leader in clandestine operations and Clark in need of support.
Overall = 9.5
Bendis and Epting add an entirely new aesthetic to Superman without changing the core aspects of the character. He is honest but more personal, more involved, and more available to readers than ever before. I highly recommend this amazing story to fans of this iconic DC super-hero!