Action comics #1000 Review:
Action Comics, the title that premiered the world’s first superhero back in 1938, has hit a major milestone this week with its one thousandth issue. To celebrate this milestone DC Comics has published the anniversary issue as an eighty-page special and offered A-list talent the opportunity to contribute content. The comic contains a series of short stories of varying length that explore everything that make Superman the great and inspirational hero the world knows him to be. The stories are both in and out of DC continuity, but each celebrates at least one aspect of the character’s long history and for the most part is all quite good. Now, no comic book is flawless and quality of this selection of stories is not always even.
One of the weakest stories is oddly enough about the Man of Steel’s future, as it acts as a preview for Brian Michael Bendis’ run on the two Superman titles. Bendis’ script is entertaining in some of the banter, but it’s an all too brief preview that doesn’t provide much in terms of entertainment. It also ends on what should be a dramatic twist, but it’s so played out at this point so it doesn’t quite land how I believe Bendis intended it to. Jim Lee’s artwork is as dynamic as ever and conveys all the power that these characters possess.
There are three stand out stories in this collection (as there are too many and this review was supposed to be short). Geoff Johns and Richard Donner co-write a tale that combines the post crisis social justice advocate we’ve come to know as Superman over the last thirty years, with the defender of the weak he originated as in the late 1930’s. It also has a simple, yet enjoyable premise that I’m very surprised hasn’t been done yet. Tom King and Clay Mann team for a brilliant look into Superman’s future in what may be the most heart-wrenching story in the anthology. The third story of note is Dan Jurgens opening story, one of the issue’s longest tales, perfectly captures everything great about Superman. It is a feel-good story by one of the character’s legendary creators.
There are other stories which are also quite good, with the only weak link being Bendis’ tale, and the excellent pin-ups from various Superman artists is a plus. All in all, a not perfect, but very enjoyable read that celebrates the long and great history of the world’s first superhero.
Notable issues this week:
Good god, it is wonderful to have this series back in comic shops and on my reading table. After an all too long hiatus (but with a spin-off mini-series I would highly recommend), Rucka and Lark start to show readers the aftermath of the last story-line. The first of this short two-part story focuses on Jonah Carlyle after being left to die and it continues to build the world of Lazarus. The great art and well-written script make for a small character focused story, as war looms in the background.
Mister Miracle #8
This series is proving each week an installment is released, why it is the best comic DC has to offer. This meticulously planned and executed series always impresses, and this issue is no different. The contrast between the brutality of war and the difficulty of parenthood makes for an engaging read, with excellent artwork Mitch Gerads.
Amazing Spider-man #799
The penultimate issue of Dan Slott’s last Amazing Spider-man epic is one of this week’s highlights. Slott weaves a compelling read which is beautifully rendered by Stuart Immonen, and it raises the stakes of what is becoming a classic Spider-man story. Norman Osborn has never been more threatening and Spider-man’s in one of the tightest spots since his ‘death’.
Black Hammer Age of Doom # 1
Jeff Lemire’s rural super-hero epic returns in a new volume, and it does not disappoint. The characters are put through an emotional ringer as they cling to hope that they can return home. Lemire’s script and Ormston’s art bring all this to life, with the results making for a good reading experience. The only hang up is that this is not a first issue and should have been Black Hammer issue 14, as it does not make for a good jumping on point.
Image’s new series is proving to be one of my favorites, as the second issue continues the engaging narrative that began last month. A haunting, riveting and all to emotionally real reading experience, this is some of the best work the comic industry has to offer right now. This series is new and it only runs five issues, so catch up now without making a long-term series commitment.
Mata Hari # 3
One of the best books to come out of Karen Berger’s editorial work at Dark Horse, Mata Hari is an interesting historical narrative of the original femme fatale. This series boasts beautiful artwork and a post-Victorian societal critique that makes for a compelling read. Next to Monstress (anther highly recommended series), this may be the most visually exciting book available.
What did you think of this week’s comic books? Leave a comment and tells us all your thoughts.