Action Comics #1011 continues the road to DC’s newest big event in Leviathan. I remain cautiously optimistic for this big event story. Yes, It has been a long time since Brian Bendis has delivered a quality big event story. I am still trying to get the bad tastes of Secret Invasion, Siege, Avengers versus X-Men, and Civil War II out of my mouth. That is a horrible resume of big events. Bendis is just about the last writer I would hire to handle a big event story.
However, Leviathan is a bit different. Unlike Bendis’ prior big events, Leviathan is a street-level big event dealing with mostly street-level characters. This is much more in Bendis’ wheelhouse. Therefore, I believe that Bendis may actually deliver a quality big event story with Leviathan. At any rate, let’s see how Bendis leads into this new big event with Action Comics #1011.
Words: Brian Bendis
Art: Steve Epting
Colors: Brad Anderson
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Maggie Sawyer leading the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit into Kate Spencer’s apartment to arrest her. Kate breaks Maggie’s nose and then takes out a few cops. Kate then handcuffs Maggie and shoves Maggie and the other cops out of her apartment. Maggie channels her inner Carol Danvers are barks like a mad dog at her cops to go back inside Kate’s apartment and take her down like they are actual trained professionals.
We see Kate Spencer has managed to slip into her skintight Manhunter costume in literally five seconds flat. (How in the hell did she manage to pull that off?!) Manhunter takes down the cops and then leaps out of her apartment building. Manhunter says that she is going to need a lawyer.
We cut to London where Superman is frantically searching for Lois. Lois then appears from an alley and tells Superman that she is okay. Lois says that Tiger is gone.
We shift to a minute ago. We see Tiger and Lois running through an alleyway. Lois reveals to Tiger that she is actually Lois Lane. Tiger freaks out. Lois then tells Tiger to tell her what happened to him. Tiger then hands Lois a disk with every secret and every name on it concerning Spyral. The disk has the entire story of Spyral on it. Tiger says that Spyral new Leviathan was coming. And instead of warning their agents and soldiers the leaders of Spyral abandoned their posts and left the agents to fend for themselves. Tiger tells Lois to take the information and to publish it. Tiger tells Lois to scream the betrayal to the heavens and get the truth out. (That was just a bit melodramatic.) Tiger then runs away from the scene.
We zip to the Daily Planet with Perry White on the phone with Lois and demanding a Lois Lane headline. Lois says that she has all the information on Spyral. That Tiger gave it to her. Perry says that Lois needs a second source. Lois tells Superman that they have to go back for Tiger. Unfortunately, right at that moment, we see a Leviathan robot appears and teleports Tiger away from the scene.
We hop over to Gotham and see Superman and Lois meeting with Huntress. (Yay! It is always great to see Helena!) Huntress confirms that the TIger’s intel is accurate. Lois asks Huntress if she can publish this information. Huntress asks if Lois should publish the information. That the world will tilt off its axis if Lois publishes that information.
Superman says that the truth needs to be heard. Huntress says that it does not makes sense that Leviathan is Talia Al Ghul. Lois says that she needs to get Amanda Waller’s take on this new information. Huntress asks where Waller is in all of this. Lois says that she is at the Fortress of Solitude. Huntress is stunned that they would leave Waller alone in their house.
We shift to the Fortress of Solitude and see that Waller has taken down Kelex and gotten past the hi-tech Kryptonian security system of the Fortress of Solitude. Waller also stole Batman’s spare life pod in garage deck three. (Oh, c’mon. Really? This is over-the-top Batman level skills that Bendis is giving Waller at this moment.)
We hop over to the Guardian’s hospital room in Metropolis. A shadowy figure enters the Guardian’s room. The mysterious person asks the Guardian what he is going to do once he is healed up from his injures. The Guardian says that he is going to go back out there and get into the fight. The mysterious figure says that the Guardian has fought so hard for so many. The person says that A.R.G.U.S., Cadmus, Spyral, and D.E.O. and others are all gone. That tomorrow something new will be in its place. The person says that the thing that the Guardian has been fighting for his entire life will take place. Chance. Real change. The person says that the Guardian can have a real place in this new start for the world.
We zip back to the Fortress of Solitude. Lois is quickly typing her article about Spyral. Lois asks how to spell “treachery” and then asks how to spell “clandestine.” (Jesus. I thought we could go an entire issue without Bendis shitting the bed with his idiotic Bendis-style “humor.” Why in the hell would he make Lois sound like such an idiot just so he could deliver his beloved Bendis-speak? Gross.)
Superman says that the pod that Waller stole was last tracked to Mexico and then it went offline. Lois then asks why would someone take out the spy agencies and not the governments that created them and supported them? Superman then asks where are the bodies of the people who have been taken out.
Superman says that when he flew the Leviathan robot into space and it exploded he studied the energy. The energy was not destruction or disintegration. Instead, the energy was something else. Lois wonders if everyone that Leviathan has attacked is still alive on an island somewhere. (Why would Lois say an island? They could have literally been transported to any possible location on the Earth.) Jimmy asks if maybe Leviathan transported all of the people into the sun.
Jimmy then apologizes again for letting Waller escape after he accused her of running Leviathan. Lois is shocked Jimmy made such an accusation. Jimmy then shows Superman and Lois a video he took of Waller when he accused her of leading Leviathan. The video also shows her angry reaction and her punching out Jimmy. Jimmy says that Waller than stole his phone. But, Jimmy says that he has all of his videos and photos backed up to the cloud. (And if Waller is so brilliant to hack and disable hi-tech Kryptonian technology and then steal and pilot Batman’s life pod then why would she bother taking Jimmy’s iPhone? Someone as unimaginably brilliant as that would know the iPhone was backed up to iCloud.)
Superman says that Waller’s reaction does not make her Leviathan. Lois says that Waller’s reaction is certainly suspicious and relevant and should be included in her article. Lois says that they could leave out that Waller’s escape happened at the Fortress of Solitude. Superman says that they report the truth no matter what. Lois says that Waller could come after them with her truth about Superman. Superman replies that the only truth that matters is who is Leviathan. We then see Waller on the run. We see The Question at the bedside of someone in a hospital. We see the Huntress on the rooftops of Gotham. We see Manhunter on the run. We see Mister Bones being taken into custody. We see the Guardian in his costume ready to fight. The story is to be continued in Event Leviathan #1. End of issue.
The Good: Action Comics #1011 was an underwhelming read. Not much happened in this issue and the story was rather dull and slow. Having said that, I am still exciting for the upcoming Leviathan big event. Bendis has all the ingredients for an entertaining story.
What I found to be the biggest strength of Action Comics #1011 was the fantastic cast of character that Bendis has assembled for this upcoming big event story. We have the Question, the Guardian, Manhunter, and Huntress. I love all of these characters. These characters also perfectly match Bendis’ strengths and his style of writing. Bendis should do an excellent job with each of these characters. I am excited to see these characters setting some time in the spotlight.
It is fantastic to see Kate Spencer once again. It has been a long time. We did not see Kate at all during DC’s New 52. It was not until Rebirth that DC brought back Kate’s character. Kate has roots in DC’s Golden Age. Kate’s mother is Phantom Lady and her father is Iron Munro. Phantom Lady is a longtime member of the All-Star Squadron. Hell yeah, the All-Star Squadron still remains my second favorite DC super team just after the Legion of Super-Heroes. Iron Munro was a member of the Young All-Stars who were a follow-up team to the All-Star Squadron. Initially, Kate worked for the DEO under the direction of Mr. Bones. Later, Kate would become a member of the Justice Society of America.
Kate Spencer is a fantastic character. I am thrilled that DC has decided to bring this character back as a part of their Rebirth initiative. This is a wonderful example of DC being able to promote more female characters by going into their back catalog of characters rather than killing an established male character and replacing him with an unoriginal female copycat character.
Kate is exactly the type of character that I think suites Bendis very well. I fully expect Bendis to do a fine job handling Kate’s character. Remember, Bendis did a fantastic job writing Marvel’s attorney by day and vigilante by night super hero. Just like Daredevil, Kate is also an attorney by day and a vigilante by night. I think Kate will do just fine under Bendis’ care.
To be sure, Bendis shows off Kate’s ability to kick some ass in Action Comics #1011. Kate easily gets the most exciting scene in this issue. Kate’s scene at the beginning of this issue was certainly my favorite scene in this issue. I look forward to seeing what role Bendis has in store for Kate in the upcoming Leviathan big event.
I also loved seeing Huntress again. Helena Bertinelli is another fantastic character that deserves more attention. DC junked Helena’s character with the New 52 reboot. The Huntress that we got with the New 52 was Helena Wayne from Earth 2. It was not until 2014 when Helena Bertinelli would appear as a spy in the pages of Grayson. However, it was not until DC’s glorious Rebirth that we would finally get Helena Bertinelli back as the Huntress.
Unfortunately, Huntress was given a rather dull and pointless scene. Having said that, I think Huntress is absolutely a character that Bendis should be able to do a great job writing. Much like Kate Spencer, Helena Bertinelli is another character that matches up perfectly to Bendis’ strengths. I am excited to see what Bendis has in store for Huntress in the upcoming Leviathan big event. I would love to see Huntress getting some more time in the spotlight in the general DCU going forward.
I love that Bendis is giving us the real Guardian in the form of Jim Harper. The Guardian was created by comics icons Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. When Simon and Kirby create a character you do not replace him with a knock-off character. Ever. Period.
We last saw Jim Harper as the Guardian during the events of the War of the Supermen back in 2010. We never saw the Guardian during the New 52. We finally got the return of Jim Harper with the wonderful DC Rebirth. Again, Jim Harper is definitely a character that matches up nicely with Bendis’ strengths. The Guardian is a cool character with an excellent pedigree. I am looking forward to Bendis giving us a properly bad-ass Guardian in the upcoming Leviathan big event.
Bendis gives Jim an excellent scene in Action Comics #1011. I am intrigued by this mysterious man from Leviathan who keeps recruiting super heroes to join his cause. We saw this mysterious man in The Year of the Villain #1 when he made his recruiting pitch to Batgirl. I love this concept of having Leviathan recruit babyface superheroes to join what we are viewing as a heel Leviathan group. This should help make the conflict even more gray and complex. This will then make the reader struggle to decide which side of the conflict they support.
If Guardian and Batgirl flip sides and Leviathan can recruit even a few more super heroes to join them then Bendis will have a really fascinating conflict for the reader to delve into during this big event. There are certainly enough good guy super heroes in the DCU who would be swayed by the rather compelling recruiting pitch by this mysterious man from Leviathan.
We do not see The Question until the end of Action Comics #1011. However, I am so excited to see how Bendis uses Vic Sage in the Leviathan big event. Again, Vic Sage is yet another character that is tailor made for Bendis’ writing talents. It is great to see Vic Sage being utilized in a big event story. About the only thing good thing that the New 52 accomplished was reinstalling Vic Sage as the Question. Vic Sage was created by comics icon Steve Ditko. This is another character that you just do not mess with at all. I am looking forward to Vic Sage getting some quality panel time in the upcoming Leviathan big event.
I continue to enjoy how Bendis writes Jimmy Olsen’s character. I dig how Bendis is able to give Olson a proper Silver Age corny vibe while still giving him some modern attitude and skills. Bendis has managed to dial in the perfect blend.
I also continue to enjoy how Bendis is writing Superman’s character. Superman remains a solid white-bread super-hero. Which is exactly how he should be delivered. I love that Bendis continues to exhibit some rare self control and never gives Superman his trademark Bendis-speak. Bendis keeps Superman always looking for the positive side of every situation no matter how grim and dire the upcoming conflict with Leviathan may seem. Bendis clearly understands that Superman would always represent the beacon of hope for all of the characters surrounding him.
Steve Epting does his usual fine job with the artwork in Action Comics #1011. Epting’s style of art matches wonderfully for a street level espionage style story. Epting’s style of art also shines with characters like Manhunter, Huntress, The Guardian, and The Question. Epting is a pro and his artwork is always solid and consistent.
The Bad: Action Comics #1011 is a poorly plotted and paced issue. Bendis has zero sense of urgency and a lack of intensity as he heads into Event Leviathan #1. Action Comics #1011 should serve as a hype issue that gets the reader pumped up and ready to spend their money on Event Leviathan #1. However, this issue is far too subdued and dull to get the reader pumped up for Event Leviathan #1.
Bendis begins this issue with a one page splash shot of an iPad with news alerts of spy agencies collapsing all across the world. Yup. An iPad. Bendis clearly wants to grab his crown back from Tom King over in Heroes in Crisis as an artist’s worst friend.
We then get a five page scene with Manhunter beating up the cops and then running away. This scene does treat the reader to some nice action. But, this scene really does not advance the story that much. Thank God for the action we got in this opening scene because the rest of the issue is slow and dull.
Next is a five page scene of Superman looking for Lois and finding her and then Tiger giving Lois the disk with Spyral’s information. Again, Bendis devotes a ton of pages for very little actual plot progression. This scene feels bloated and full of plenty of filler as Bendis engages in stalling for time.
At this point, the reader is now now eleven pages into Action Comics #1011 and all that has happened is that Lois has been given a disk with information about Spyral. Bendis moves the story along with zero sense of urgency that is required in a hype issue leading into the the first issue of a big event title.
Bendis then gives us a two page scene of Lois talking to Perry about her information and him saying she needs a second source and Leviathan teleporting Tiger away from the scene. This was actually the tightest plotted and paced scene in this entire issue.
We then get a two page scene with Huntress, Lois, and Superman that feels utterly pointless other than to remind the reader that Huntress exists. Bendis gives the reader zero new information. There is no plot progression at all. And the reader has no idea at all why Lois would be asking Huntress for permission to publish the information. This just made no sense.
Bendis then delivers a one page scene at the Fortress of Solitude revealing that Waller has escaped. Next is a two page scene involving the mysterious man from Leviathan and the Guardian. As I said before, this was an excellent scene and the highlight of this issue.
Bendis then ends Action Comics #1011 with a five page scene back at the Fortress of Solitude. This scene simply recaps everything that the reader already knows. And this scene does this in a truly plodding and dull fashion. Instead of injecting the reader full of excitement to spike their adrenaline heading into Even Leviathan #1 Bendis gives the reader a big dose of a sedative leading into the upcoming big event.
I continue to be unimpressed with Bendis’ handling of Lois’ character. Bendis just cannot resist giving Lois Bendis-speak just for a laugh at the expense of Lois’ character. Having Lois ask out loud how to spell such simple words as “treachery” and “clandestine” was so groan inducing. Bendis’ inability to restrain himself on cranking out his “witty’ Bendis-speak makes Lois come across like a complete idiot. There is no way a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist like Lois Lane would not know how to spell such basic words. It is crap like this that pulls the reader out of the story and makes them roll their eyes.
As much as I love Epting’s artwork his style is not a great match for the scenes that feature more classic super-hero and Sci Fi elements like the Fortress of Solitude. Those scenes do not shine as much as the other scenes do in this issue.
Overall: Action Comics #1011 was a boring and slow hype issue for Event Leviathan #1. This is no real new information or plot progression in this issue. Readers can probably skip this issue and simply pick up Event Leviathan #1 and be perfectly fine.
Despite my feelings about Action Comics #1011, I am still excited for Even Leviathan #1. I feel cautiously optimistic that Bendis has assembled a cast of characters that best compliment his skill set and a style of story that is within his wheelhouse.
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