Action Comics #1001 Review: The Fun Superman Book

Superman: Action Comics #1001
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Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Artist: Patrick Gleason, Color Artist: Alejandro Sanchez, Letters: Josh Reed, Cover by: Patrick Gleason and Brad Anderson, Variant Cover by: Francis Manapul, Associate Editor: Jessica Chen, Editor: Michael Cotton, Group Editor: Brian Cunningham, Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, By special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel Family, Publisher: DC Comics, Release Date: Out Now, Price: $3.99

After wrapping up thwarting a robbery, Clark Kent is made privy that a kid went to the fire station and told the chief that Superman is the one who has been starting the fires across Metropolis. Superman goes to investigate, but this trail leads only to a vague description of a “big, bald guy.” Back at the Daily Planet, Trish is pushing Clark to explain where Lois Lane went. Meanwhile, a cabal of criminals are performing their own investigation into the fires.

Superman: Action Comics #1001 cover by Patrick Gleason and Brad Anderson
Superman: Action Comics #1001 cover by Patrick Gleason and Brad Anderson

Action Comics #1001 takes flight with a more compelling story and dedicated momentum than Superman #1 under Brian Michael Bendis. Despite having an arguably conventional threat in the rash of fires, Bendis seems more comfortable writing this comic. It’s more fun, more energetic, and funnier.

It’s hard to not see Superman going out to find a random kid who said he saw Big Blue starting the fires as something akin to an intimidation tactic, but I’ll give the comic credit for making it seem far more innocent than it sounds. It helps that the worst Kal-El threatens him with is consequences from the kid’s mom.

The back half with the group of criminals is the tried and true Bendis tactic of the bumbling criminal one-line-athon. It does feel like it’s filling space more than actually contributing anything to the comic, and it’s the weakest part of the entire book for sure. It does introduce Red Cloud, and she’s a potentially interesting foe for the Man of Steel.

Superman: Action Comics #1001 art by Patrick Gleason and Alejandro Sanchez
Superman: Action Comics #1001 art by Patrick Gleason and Alejandro Sanchez

Patrick Gleason certainly has a way with Superman. There are a myriad of gorgeous panels depicting the Man of Tomorrow in mid-flight that border the realm of awe-inspiring. Gleason can make Superman look mythic. It’s somewhat off-put by a couple of questionable Clark Kent depictions that make the reporter man look a bit like a lumbering goon — that said, most of the art is beautiful.

Alejandro Sanchez backs Gleason up well with a vivid and bright color palette to give more energy to this issue of Action Comics.

Action Comics #1001 is a fun and endearing Superman adventure that pits the well-meaning Man of Tomorrow against some of the complexities of his role. It also shows how people can even take advantage of his good nature, which is an interesting obstacle for Clark. In any case, this was a good book and comes recommended. Check it out.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.