When Action Comics hit 1000, I had to get a copy. But I had a problem–there was no comic book shop nearby. My nearest bookstore no longer existed. My solution? Downloaded it off the DC app.
Instead of posting one special story to celebrate this milestone, this issue actually has several stories, celebrating Superman and his legacy. I thought I’d review and rank all of them.
- “From the City That Has Everything” (Team: Dan Jurgens/Norm Rapmund/Hi-fi/Rob Leigh)–10/10
Summary: Superman fights off a Khund invader and reluctantly returns to Metropolis, where they are celebrating Superman Day. Lois wants him to hear everyone’s testimonies, but he’s too nervous about the invaders.
Review: I liked all the testimonies, including the reformed criminal. It set the tone for the rest of the comic.
- “Never-Ending Battle” (Peter J. Tomasi/Patrick Gleason/Alexandro Sanchez/Tom Napolitano)8/10
Summary: Superman battles Vandal Savage across space and time, reflecting on the life and battles he’s had so far while celebrating his birthday with his family.
Review: This may be one of the last stories Tomasi ever does for Superman, and if it is, then it’s a good farewell. Gleason’s artwork was great, but I’m deducting points for the Conner Kent cameo. Way to rub our faces in it, DC.
- “An Enemy Within” (Marv Wolfman/Curt Swan/Kurt Schaffenberger/Hi-fi/Rob Leigh) 9/10
Summary: While Superman fights one of Brainiac’s drones in Japan, a principal in Metropolis has been hypnotized into taking someone hostage. What Superman doesn’t realize is that the drone he’s fighting is what’s controlling the principal.
Review: This story was especially unearthed just for this issue, and is the only story that isn’t new. (For those who don’t know, Curt Swan was one of DC’s most-celebrated artists, and died in 1996) It even ends with a Curt Swan-esque drawing in tribute to him.
- “The Game” (Paul Levitz/Neal Adams/Hi-fi/Dave Sharpe)7/10
Summary: Superman and Luthor take time out from fighting each other to play a game of chess.
Review: This was a great scene and a classic-style story of worthy opponents with Lex at his hammiest. It seemed like something out of Superfriends, but I liked it.
- “The Car” (Geoff Johns & Richard Donner/Oliver Colpel/Sanchez/Napolitano)
Summary: You know that car that Superman is picking up on the very first cover of Action Comics? We meet the driver in this story. 8/10
Review: “Hey what about the car Superman picked up on the cover?” sounds like a good “high concept” story idea. And I like Geoff Johns a lot, even with the controversy that seems to follow him wherever he goes.
- “The Fifth Season” (Scott Snyder/Rafael Albuquerque/Dave McCay/Napolitano)
Summary: Luthor takes Superman back in time to an experiment he conducted as a kid, unaware that a younger Clark Kent had actually saved his life.
Review: I never liked the original relationship between Superman and Luthor, where they had started out as childhood friends, but the relationship turned sour. (especially because in the original version of Lex’s origin, Superman had actually caused him to lose all his hair, causing him to turn to evil. Seriously? But Snyder, one of DC’s best current writers, made it work. 7/10
- “Of Tomorrow” (Tom King/Clay Mann/Jordan Bellaire
Summary: It’s several millennia in the future, and Superman is visiting his parents’ grave because the world is ending. He’s here to say goodbye one last time. 10/10
Review: Aw, right in the feels. *sniff* 10/10
- “Five Minutes” (Louise Simonson/Jerry Ordway/McCaig./Carlos M. Mangual)
Summary: Can Clark save someone within a 5-minute deadline for his latest article? Yes, with a little help from Superman’s number one-fan, Bibbo! 8/10
Review: For those who don’t know, Louise Simonson is a seasoned veteran of both Marvel and DC, and the wife of Walt Simonson, an equally-celebrated artist. Jerry Ordway is a long-celebrated artist for Superman. So already this was good. It was quick, probably one of the shortest vignettes, but I liked it.
- “Action-Land” (Paul Dini/Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez/Kevil Nowlan/Trish Mulvill/Josh Reed)
Summary: Mxyzptlk has created an amusement park trap for Superman, but he just can’t bring himself to actually finish his trap and kill him. Why? Because where’s the fun in that?
- “Faster Than A Speeding Bullet” (Brad Meltzer/John Cassady/Laura Martin/Chris Eupoulos)
Summary: Superman saves someone right at point-blank range when the villain’s gun is right at her temple, thanks to her quick-thinking. 7/10
Review: Another really short one and it felt like a Flash story instead of a Superman one. Meltzer was actually able to keep the tension up, which is surprising for something this short.
- “The Truth” (Brian Michael Bendis/Scott Williams/Sinclair/Cory Petit)
Summary: Superman fights a new villain named Rogol Zaar who–destroyed Krypton? Is this a retcon?
Review: There’s been a lot of buzz about Brian Michael Bendis coming on board to write for Superman, especially with his acclaim he’s received at Marvel. I’ve not read anything he’s written, so I’m cautious. But why so much focus on the fact that Superman has the trunks again? Really? If I’m saving Superman from a crumbling building, I won’t be thinking “Oh look, he’s wearing the trunks again”. Look I understand the point of the trunks. It’s a nod to the circus strongmen. But when the original Superman came back as a result of Rebirth, I wasn’t one of those people complaining about the trunks not being on the costume. I was like “We have the real Superman back. This is not worth complaining about!” I couldn’t have cared less whether he got them back, all I wanted was good stories. 5/10
All in all, not only did we get a fitting celebration, but DC found a way to grab new readers, even those who like me, have never read or heard of Brian Michael Bendis. Good job DC! I’ll be here again next year when Batman gets his turn and Detective Comics hits 1000.