Back in 2017, I asked DC Comics to give the then-recently-arrived Brian Michael Bendis a Daily Planet series. I did so because I knew Bendis would nail the grit, drama, and heart inherent in Metropolis news reporting.
Well, we didn’t get that Daily Planet series, but we have gotten Bendis’s take on reporting in Metropolis – through his current run on Action Comics. And reader, it’s as impressive as I hoped it’d be.
Last week’s Action Comics #1006 continued a string of delightful issues that have been focused on low-to-the-ground superheroics and soap operatics. Action‘s Superman is just as much a reporter as he is a superhero, just as much an empathetic truth-teller as he is a fighter. And it’s those moments where Clark’s hot on the trail of a story, or Superman offers his hand in friendship to a quote-unquote “villain,” that really make Action stand out from other Superman books.
Which is not to say that Action lacks action. Artist Ryan Sook and colorist Brad Anderson are back on art in this issue, and they do a fantastic job illustrating not only the quiet moments detailed above, but also this issue’s lengthy battle between Superman and the Red Cloud.
Aided by letterer Josh Reed’s liberal use of bold sound effects (no comic is likely to have more WOOOOOOSHes in it this year), Sook draws the heck out of a speedy-yet-composed Superman using his superbreath to keep the Red Cloud contained and at bay. Superman’s body language and demeanor tells us that, now that he has the Red Cloud’s measure, he’s not really breaking a sweat. He could win this fight with ease.
But Bendis’s Superman is about much more than winning fights. He’s about finding the truth and offering second chances. That, as well as the slowly unfolding saga of what’s going on within Metropolis, is what has made Action Comics worth picking up. It’s not a Daily Planet ongoing, but it might be as close as we’re going to get.