Action Comics (2016-) #1006
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Ryan Sook
Action Comics #1006 is the culmination of Bendis’ first arc on the book. I’ve enjoyed this story quite a bit, but Bendis managed to outdo himself with the finale. Not necessarily because everything is wrapping up with a bow, more so because he leaves you wanting more. By the end of the issue, I found myself genuinely invested in a mystery I wasn’t particularly interested in before. Much like his latest issue of Superman, Bendis doesn’t actually resolve the main conflict. He instead leaves it open for later use in a clear attempt at playing the long game. Some may find that frustrating, but each issue is so much fun that I find myself more than willing to enjoy the ride.
The book kicks things off the way every other issue has, with a snapshot of Clark’s desk. As always, it’s filled to the brim with jokes and meta references, one of which regarding Batman had me dying. It’s a simple gimmick, but it’s a joy every month to open the book to something so charming.
Another thing that has made this arc stand out is seeing Clark do some actual reporting, and it’s just as well-done and entertaining this time around. Clark returning to his journalist roots makes for a nice contrast between the Clark moments and the Superman moments. As Clark, he’s not always in control, while as Superman he’s never out of his element. It’s a great way to give Superman a weakness without de-powering him that I don’t think enough writers take advantage of.
Like all Bendis books, the true strength of Action Comics lies not in the plot, but in the character work. Every character, no matter how small their part, serves a purpose. Whether it’s something regarding the larger story or just something to make you laugh, no one feels wasted. More importantly, everyone feels human. There’s something just so compelling about the way Bendis writes people. His dialogue has never been known for its realism, but it’s certainly effective in terms of characterization and flow. Not to mention his voice for Clark is nearly flawless. There’s a moment towards the end of this book that is just so perfectly in tune with the character that I’d be shocked if it didn’t melt the hearts of even the most cynical.
Even if the book had none of that going for it, it would still have Ryan Sook on art to make it worthwhile. He’s always been wonderful, but this issue is his best work in recent memory. There are multiple pages I wouldn’t mind hanging on my wall, some relying entirely on his art without a speck of dialogue. That’s the sign of an effective storyteller. His action is dynamic, and every page that has Superman in costume is breathtaking. I really hope to see Sook on this book for a long time, as he truly elevates it.
Action Comics is a very solid book. It takes everything you love about Superman and effortlessly spins it around to present it to you in what feels like a whole new package. The art is wonderful, the dialogue is on-point, and Superman is just straight up fun again. This run is possibly one for the history books.
Action Comics #1006
The art is wonderful, the dialogue is on-point, and Superman is just straight up fun again. This run is possibly one for the history books.