Action Comics (2016-) #1,007
Writer: Brian Micheal Bendis
Artist: Steve Epting
The ending to the previous Action Comics arc had me riding a bit of a Bendis high, so naturally, I couldn’t wait for the start of the next one. Action Comics #1,007 begins the new arc and seemingly places its previous plotlines on hold in favor of a few new ones. That’s fine, but if you choose not to build on your hanging plotlines, the new ones need to be equally or more compelling. So far, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Brian Micheal Bendis and Steve Epting deliver a fun issue, but it’s one that leaves you wanting more
The plot in this issue is a bit thin. It starts strong, with Jimmy Olsen getting himself into some cult-ish trouble due to a girl he’s met. This is a great setup that makes me want to invest in the mystery that then ensues, but there just isn’t enough information to pique my interest. Yes, you need to withhold information in order to make the mystery, you know, mysterious. However, Bendis may be taking this a step too far, not giving us enough to grasp onto. We don’t know what’s happening, why it’s happening, or why we should care. I want to say there’s potential here, but that would be purely based on my faith in the writer, rather than the content presented. I didn’t dislike it, but I sort of shrugged my shoulders when it was over.
It’s no secret that plot has never been Bendis’ strong suit. Where he shines is character work, and it’s very strong in this book. This issue works because it gives Clark’s side cast a platform in which they can operate independently. Jimmy and Lois have their own subplots, and neither of them requires Superman’s presence for them to be relevant. Eventually, I expect them to intersect, but it’s nice to see these characters live lives outside of Clark’s.
Ryan Sook leaving a book too soon is something readers expect at this point, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. Steve Epting’s name is usually a worthy one to soften the blow. This time, though, I wasn’t as impressed with his work as I usually am. It’s good, but it’s not quite at the level of Velvet or Captain America. Some panels feel stiff, others lack emotion. The more lackluster panels are luckily offset by more impressive things, like a very well done POV sequence. So, while it is solid Epting art, it’s not as great as you may be hoping. He had the unfortunate duty of following up Ryan Sook, and there are few artists who wouldn’t come off as disappointing standing next to an arc full of Sook.
Ultimately, Action Comics #1,007 is a fun read, but it stumbles. Its mystery isn’t very compelling, and the art is a small step down from the previous issues. Its saving grace is it’s very strong character work and banter, but Bendis and Epting need to take steps soon to allow the plot to take off. Given a more action-packed script, Epting’s art could soar and the mystery could form into something intriguing. We’re just not quite there yet.
Action Comics #1,007 is a fun read, but it stumbles. Its mystery isn’t very compelling, and the art is a small step down from the previous issues. Its saving grace is it's very strong character work and banter, but Bendis and Epting need to take steps soon to allow the plot to take off.