Tag Archives: alex sinclair

Review: Man of Steel #4

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Superman!

Man of Steel #4 is by Brian Michael Bendis, Kevin Maguire, Jason Fabok, Alex Sinclair, Josh Reed, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Jessica Chen, Michael Cotton, and Brian Cunningham.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology

 

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Review: Hawkman #1

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the return of Hawkman!

Hawkman #1 is by Robert Venditti, Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, Alex Sinclair, Starkings & Comicraft, Stejpan Sejic, Andrew Marino, and Marie Javins.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Man of Steel #3

While the previous issue focused on Clark Kent’s relationship to his co-workers at the Daily Planet, Brian Michael Bendis makes Man of Steel # about Kal-El’s connection to his Kryptonian heritage beginning with a tragic, nearly silent opening sequence drawn by Ryan Sook and Alex Sinclair of Rogol-Zaar wrecking the Fortress of Solitude, including the Bottle City of Kandor making its first substantial appearance in the DC Rebirth era. There’s also a Batman cameo that goes nowhere (Except for inspiring Superman to think more like a detective.), and the shadowy Jay Fabok drawn figure slowly emerges from the shadows in the Clark and Jon flashback. So, like most of this miniseries so far, it’s a visually stunning mixed bag as Bendis and Sook finally catch up to the story in Action Comics #1000 timeline-wise.

Man of Steel has been a mini filled with great artists like Ivan Reis, Jay Fabok, Evan Shaner, and Steve Rude, but Ryan Sook proves that he has the best storytelling chops of the bunch. He is equally adept at big, bombastic moments like Rogol-Zaar crashing into Earth’s orbit and the smaller, human ones like Superman politely waving to Melody while he and Batman investigate another arson in Metropolis, or Supergirl comforting her cousin while he mourns the lost Kryptonians of Kandor. The pages where Superman and Supergirl are in the Fortress is a master class in emotional progression that starts by the cousins walking around their Arctic shelter and surveying the damage before bursting into pure anguish when they see the destroyed Bottle and then flight. Then, in another double page spread, Superman uses his flight, super hearing, and X-Ray vision to check on his apartment, co-workers, and then focus on the thread at hand. Hey, Batman isn’t the only one with “detective vision”. And Sook’s few pages of action really pack a wallop with yellows and reds from Sinclair showing that Rogol Zaar packs a real physical threat to Superman.

Brian Michael Bendis’ use of Supergirl and Batman in Man of Steel #3 is a very quick study is how and how not to use guest stars in a comic book. First of all, their appearances both make logical sense. Batman is helping Superman investigate a mystery that is bothering, namely, how are all these fires happening under his practically omniscient and omnipresent nose? Because she is Kryptonian, Supergirl can hear the unique frequency of the Fortress of Solitude’s alarm and quickly sees if the place that is the last sanctuary and repository of her home culture is under attack. However, with Batman, it seems like Bendis is just checking off writing DC’s other big hero instead of using him in a meaningful way. Of course, his first line of dialogue is “I’m Batman” to slightly freaked out/fangirling Melody Moore, and then he spouts off something about patterns and something respectful about Superman because that’s the kind of relationship Bendis lets them have, which is cool. But Batman doesn’t add a set of fresh eyes to any of Man of Steel’s mysteries, including the arson, and definitely not the missing Lois and Jon one. In fact, Superman comes off as the better detective as he quickly finds and engages Rogol-Zaar after cutting a swath of destruction through the Fortress.

On the other hand, Supergirl’s guest turn adds more layers of emotional poignancy to the destruction of the Bottle City of Kandor, a place that Kara may have even remembered visiting, because she came to Earth much older than Kal-El. Her appearance in Action Comics #1000 isn’t just a random cameo, but as a friend, family member, and Kryptonian fighting against an enemy that wants to obliterate all remnants of her and Kal’s culture. Bendis and Sook lean into the Kryptonians as immigrant metaphor with the items in the Fortress of Solitude representing memories and heritage of the homeland. Even if he barely speaks in this issue and is still mostly a one dimensional force of destruction and genocide,  Bendis and Sook position Rogol-Zaar as an anti-immigrant villain. To go along with this, Kara even gets a great action moment swooping up a faltering Superman with some Sook speed lines and delivering a one-liner before the brawl begins. Rogol-Zaar thought he had to fight one last of son of Krypton, but there’s a last daughter too.

The mystery parts of Man of Steel #3 barely progress (I have a fairly obvious theory about who the mysterious attacker is in the Lois and Jon flashbacks.), but Brian Michael Bendis and Ryan Sook hit a strong emotional beat with Superman and Supergirl’s reactions to the destruction of the Fortress of Solitude and the Bottle City of Kandor. Rogol-Zaar’s motivation is wholly tied to Krypton so this is line with his character and shows that Bendis understands Superman’s alien and human heritage. A pity that the Batman subplot went nowhere.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Ryan Sook, Jay Fabok Inks: Wade von Grawbadger
 Colors: Alex Sinclair Letters: Josh Reed
Story: 6.8 Art: 9.2 Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Man of Steel #2

In a wise move, Brian Michael Bendis pivots from focusing on Rogol Zaar, the villain of the Man of the Steel to the even juicier mystery: where is Lois Lane (and Jon Kent)? Most of Man of Steel #2, and the man who wrote an ongoing series based on the investigative reporting branch of The Daily Bugle (RIP The Pulse) is in his element writing Sorkin-esque speeches from Perry White about truth and journalism between his frustration with Jimmy Olsen or juicy newsroom gossip. And he’s helped by some fantastic art from Doc Shaner, Jay Fabok, and Steve Rude, who brings an old school flair to the second half of the comic and turns in possibly the best Perry White page yet.

If anything, Man of Steel has been a showcase for some fantastic artwork, and we get the one-two punch of Shaner and Rude in issue two. After an overly edgy prologue where two fellows named Lord Gandelo and Appa Ali Apsa do some literal damage control on Krypton, Shaner demonstrates why he’s one of the most wholesome artists in the business as Superman dismantles one of Toyman’s robots and smiles when Hal Jordan makes a surprise cameo. (Alex Sinclair is a master at coloring intense, intergalactic situations though.) There’s a Saturday morning cartoon vibe to Superman taking out the wannabe Gundam and providing notes on Toyman’s less than stellar villainous banter game, and Shaner systematically shows each big moment with a clear use of angles and perspective. But, then, Superman rebuffs a “check-in” with Hal and flies into red and yellow watercolors showcasing his speed and desire to save as many people as possible.

Even though it’s not integral to the overarching mystery of Man of Steel , the moment where Superman brushes off Hal is probably Bendis, Shaner, and Rude’s best work in the comic. First, even Superman needs someone to ask him how’s he doing, and it was cool to see Bendis include that in the hullabaloo of a supervillain battle. But, then he flies off back to the Planet so he can quickly file his story as Clark Kent. Having a secret identity isn’t great for social graces or responsibilities, and Superman that it’s easier for him to rebuff niceties in costume than in his civilian guise. As Superman, he’s an icon and constantly on call so it’s easy for him to get back to saving the world and not behave like a human being/good friend. It’s kind of like the Pope, the pre-2016 President of the United States, or any highly visible public figure not having time to grab a beer or catch up with an old college roommate because they have to board a plane or somewhere or have a briefing. This is contrast with the more approachable and harried Clark Kent, who would probably get called an asshole for pulling that stunt so he leaves that move for Superman.

This great moment is bookended by some not so great ones like Rogol Zaar finally arriving in Metropolis after being teased months ago in Action Comics #1000 as the cliffhanger ending and yet another blinding light moment of vagueness from Bendis and Fabok featuring Lois and Jon’s whereabouts that plays like a rerun of the ending of Man of Steel #1. Even at DC, Bendis’ plots still work better at a trade paperback versus single issue level, but this is offset by the energy he brings to the Daily Planet. I’ve really only mentioned Shaner and Rude’s skill at action and showing Superman’s power and heart, but they also draw the hell out of a bustling newsroom crowd sequence along with gestures and facial expressions that give a little extra “oomph” to their sparring about publishing an article on Lois Lane going MIA and the conflict between being a hard hitting journalistic institution and a gossip rag. Because unlike his Marvel Comics newspaper editor counterpart, Perry White actually gives a damn about truth, justice, and all that stuff, and it comes across in his passion and frustration about the current state of the Planet.

Bendis has yet to hit a home run at DC Comics, but Man of Steel #2 is a solid base hit that continues to look at how Superman/Clark Kent feel about the world around them and their relationships while digging a little bit more into the Lois Lane mystery on both an earthbound and intergalactic level. Also, the Daily Planet has never felt so vibrant, and Doc Shaner seriously needs to draw a Superman/Green Lantern team-up miniseries.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Doc Shaner, Steve Rude Jay Fabok
 Colors: Alex Sinclair Letters: Josh Reed
Story: 7 Art: 9 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Man of Steel #2

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the second chapter of Man of Steel!

Man of Steel #2 is by Brian Michael Bendis, Doc Shaner, Steve Rude, Jay Fabok, Alex Sinclair, Josh Reed, Ivan Reis, and Joe Prado.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Man of Steel #1

Besides an ominous villain-centric prologue featuring Rogol Zaar from Action Comics #1000 and a deep cut cameo, Brian Michael Bendis’ first full DC comic: Man of Steel #1 lacks a real plot hook beyond “Something is coming”, and it’s connected to Superman’s past, or the ending of Action Comics #1000. However, Bendis shows he can write the heck out of both Clark Kent and Superman putting him through his paces as a superhero fighting villains, guardian of the weak, inquisitive journalist, husband, and father. And when they get a full page (or sometimes two), Ivan Reis and Joe Prado turn in beautiful work of Superman humorously chiding two Gotham villains, who thought they could carve out a small piece of Metropolis or taking a second out of his busy day to listen a girl play a song for her best friend. And, of course, he saves both pets and small children in this comic book.

But back to the bad guys for a second. In the opening of the comic, Reis, Prado, and especially colorist Alex Sinclair churn out some heavy metal, cosmic evil in Man of Steel #1 with Rogol Zaar putting together his version of a Power Point presentation for some kind of intergalactic, multiversal governing body about why Krypton should be destroyed.  Some cynics might consider this scene derivative of Bendis’ Illuminati in his New Avengers run, but it’s much larger scale. (Except for the one that gets named later, I have no idea who the heck these guys are either.) Rogol Zaar’s motive boils down to being a more cosmic scale 1960s Magneto: the Kryptonians are starting to expand to other planets so they should immediately be subjected to genocide. He’s very much a black hat, and hopefully future issues add some depth to him or add an even Bigger Bad that’s just using him as muscle. But, for now, his design has a kind of mid-1990s Wildstorm excess to it with a touch of a space barbarian, and it’s sad that Reis only gets a few panels of him in actual action.

Other than feeling a twinge of disappointment with the not-really-a-cliffhanger ending of Man of Steel #1 from Bendis and guest artist Jay Fabok, my main takeaway is that Bendis gets Superman at a macro level. He has godlike powers, but wants to be human and uses these extra abilities to serve humanity. Superman loves and enjoys humans and wants to keep him safe. The scene where he takes a beat after easily stopping (and not dropping) Firefly and Killer Moth to listen to a girl play music is just breathtaking. Reis and Prado deal in the majestic and blockbuster in their artwork and are mostly a good fit for this book even though they whiff on a comedy sequence where Metropolis’ new deputy fire chief acts like she has a crush on Superman. They show that even if his powers are over the top, he cares about each life that he comes into contact with. If a building’s on fire, he won’t just rescue its inhabitants; he’ll absorb the brunt of its heat and destruction with his own body. It’s like that great scene in The Dark Knight Returns where Superman takes the full force of a nuke with his body and shrinks, but more down to Earth and shows the daily sacrifices that the Man of Steel makes every day.

I also like how Brian Michael Bendis seamlessly blends Clark Kent and Superman with Superman trying to quotes and article fodder for Clark Kent in a way that doesn’t seem opportunistic, but that he really cares about the cause of this rash of electrical fires in Metropolis. Also, it demonstrates that Bendis has a steady command over all aspects of Superman’s life from his day job as a hero, his other day job as Clark Kent, and his home life towards the end. With jokes about Jon’s costume and light flirting and chatting about articles, Bendis has put his own twist on the Kents’ family life, which was the strength of previous Superman runs by Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, and others. He gets Superman’s relationship dynamic, personality, and values; now all we need is a strong plot to go with it.

Even if the bad guy is a little underwhelming and the overarching narrative stumbles out of the gate, Man of Steel #1 proves that Brian Michael Bendis understands Superman/Clark Kent and how his commitment to truth and justice affects the dual aspects of his life. He even adds a little dry Midwest wit to the proceedings and gets out of the way to let Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Alex Sinclair craft soaring splash pages and hellish planetscapes to set up a battle between good and evil.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Ivan Reis with Joe Prado, Jay Fabok
 Colors: Alex Sinclair Letters: Cory Petit
Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Dark Days the Road to Metal

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the collection that gets you caught up for Metal!

Dark Days the Road to Metal features Dark Days: The Forge #1, Dark Days: The Casting #1, Final Crisis #6-7, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1, Batman #38-39, and Nightwing #17 by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, John Romita, Jr., Scott Williams, Klaus Janson, Danny Miki, Alex SInclair, Jeremiah Skipper, Steve Wands, Grant Morrison, Doug Mahnke, J.G. Jones, Carlos Pacheco, Marco Rudy, Christian Alamy, Jesus Merino, Tom Nguyen, Drew Geraci, Norm Rapmund, Rodney Ramos, Walden Wong, Pete Pantazis, Tony Avina, Rob Clark, Jr., Travis Lanham, Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, Guy Major, Jared K. Fletcher, Brad Anderson, Greg Capullo, FCO Placencia, Tim Seeley, Javier Fernandez, Chris Sotomayor, Carlos M. Mangual, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Adriano Lucas, Marilyn Patrizia, and Rian Hughes.

Get your copy in comic shops today and book stores May 22. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Superman Special #1

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got a special issue of Superman!

Superman Special #1 is by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Scott Godlewski, Gabe Eltaeb, Rob Leigh, Jorge Jimenez, Alejandro Sanchez, Andrew Marino, Paul Kaminski, Mark Russell, Bryan Hitch, Alex Sinclair, Tom Napolitano, Marie Javins, Ian Flynn, and Kaare Andrews.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: DC Nation #0

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got three stories for 25 cents!

DC Nation #0 features Tom King, Clay Mann, Jordie Bellaire, Clayton Cowles, Brittany Holzherr, Jamie S. Rich, Brian Michael Bendis, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Dexter Vines, Alex Sinclair, Josh Reed, Jessica Chen, Mike Cotton, Brian Cunningham, Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Jorge Jimenez, Alejandro Sanchez, Andworld Design, Andrea Shea, Rebecca Taylor, and Marie Javins.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology

 

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Action Comics #1000 Captures Superman’s Inspirational Power

In Action Comics #1000, an all-star team of writers, artists, and colorists try and for the most part succeed at getting to the heart of Superman. Some stories touch on different eras of history from his time in the 1930s as a non-flying, slumlord buster and the Mort Weisinger Silver Age sci-fi kookiness to classic comics like Kingdom Come. Others look at his relationships with his parents, wife/co-worker Lois Lane, and his arch-nemesis Lex Luthor. One story even looks far in the future of the DC Universe while another acts as a semi-controversial prologue to Brian Michael Bendis’ upcoming Man of Steel miniseries and his runs on Action Comics and Superman.

To give each story the attention it needs, I will do a short review of each one and score it at the end of the paragraph. A final aggregated score  will conclude this (hopefully not that long) “80 page giant” review.

Action Comics #1000 opens with one hell of a curtain call from writer/penciler Dan Jurgens, inker Norm Rapmund, and colorist Hi-Fi that acts as a victory lap for Jurgens’ DC Rebirth run on Action Comics and his tireless work turning Superman from the edgy, armor wearing New 52 version to his classic role as a heroic hope bringer and a family man too. The story is simple. Metropolis is holding a Superman celebration day, but Superman doesn’t want their praise and adulation and wants to keep saving the day. However, through a little trickery from Lois and the Justice League, he ends up getting his moment in the sun. Jurgens’ writing cuts to the core of Superman and his positivity with a small-time Metropolis criminal named Benning talking about how he got him a job after prison so he wouldn’t keep relapsing and running with different supervillains. His art is a little old school, but that’s not a bad thing, and Rapmund’s inking helps make the crowd shots sharp in a story that shows Superman’s bond with the citizens of Metropolis and the superhero community while not neglecting the family elements that have been a big part of the Rebirth era of Superman. There really wouldn’t be a superhero genre without him.

Story: 9.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.8

The next story “Neverending Battle” from the Superman creative team of Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, and Alejandro Sanchez is a tiny bit philosophical, somewhat historical, and definitely epic as a story only done in full page spreads. It’s about Vandal Savage weaponizing Hypertime to trap Superman in his own history so he can’t get back to Jon and Lois to celebrate his birthday. Tomasi’s writing is a little corny at times with adages like “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and “History repeats itself”, but Gleason and Sanchez’s glorious visuals and the through-line of Superman consistently overcoming great odds wins out just like Superman over Vandal Savage. The first spreads are the most iconic with Golden Age Era Superman punching out gangsters, stopping locomotives, and throwing tanks around with Tomasi commentating on the simplistic, good vs. evil nature of these early stories. But he and Gleason aren’t afraid to get vulnerable with a poignant homage to the scene in The Dark Knight Returns where Superman is weakened after stopping a nuclear explosion that blocks out the sun or a page where he’s trapped in the Phantom Zone. However, despite cunning and powerful enemies and occasionally death itself, nothing will stop Superman from being a hero or spending time with his loved ones on his birthday. Gleason has a strong handle on the moral clarity and goodness behind Superman’s strength and I look forward to his upcoming work as the main Action Comics artist.

Story: 8.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.3

The third story “An Enemy Within” with a script from Marv Wolfman, Butch Guice and Kurt Schaffenberger inking over recently discovered Curt Swan, and colors by Hi-Fi straddles a thin line between optimism and naivete and definitely falls on the naive side. Superman is too busy fighting Brainiac in Japan so he relies on Maggie Sawyer and the Metropolis PD to take out a mind controlled teacher, who is holding his students hostage. There is an opportunity to address social issues, like school shooting, gun control, police violence, and even homelessness in a scene towards the end, but Wolfman, Swan, and Guice gloss over these issues with a simplistic “humanity is good and will save themselves” mantra and use the mind control plot device to cover their asses. Honestly, your enjoyment of this story will depend on how much you believe in the idea of original sin or your tolerance level for after school specials. Guice’s inks bring an interesting grit to Swan’s usually clean, bright pencils, and honestly, the best part of the story is a solemn Superman pinup at the end inked by the late Schaffenberger.

Story: 4.5 Art: 6.5 Overall: 5.5

Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Olivier Coipel, and Alejandro Sanchez turn in a stoic, 1930s era Superman story about a small time crook named Butch who gets his car beat up when trying to fight Superman. It’s probably the car from the cover of Action Comics #1. Johns and Donner’s take on Superman is a little rougher and little more stern, but he has a solid moral compass and cares for humanity as shown by his empathy towards Butch, who lost his dad in combat during World War I. Coipel’s art is wonderfully rough hewn and is like Norman Rockwell’s work without the sentimentality, and he even plays the “It’s a bird, it’s a plane…” line for sardonic, silent comedy. His Superman commands the page and is someone who you would listen to and definitely take seriously. He doesn’t smile either. But the ending of “The Car” has an earned happiness and is a little spark of light in a cynical world. Johns and Donner really get that heroism is about the little things and not flying the world backwards or time travel shenanigans.

Story: 9.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.8

Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, and Dave McCaig tell a quiet, yet time spanning story about the relationship between Superman and Lex Luthor, and how Superman chooses to see the good even in his worst enemy. The story starts intense with shadow wreathed art and dark colors from Albuquerque and McCaig as Luthor has assembled some powerful MacGuffins to take out Superman. But he’s actually just star gazing at the Smallville Planetarium? Albuquerque’s art is sharper and sadder after that with a nostalgic orange palette from McCaig as Lex tells Superman that the planetarium was an escape from bad weather and his abusive parents. They seamlessly blend past and present as it’s revealed that a young Clark Kent gave Lex’s space laser a little boost and saved his life. Snyder uses this anecdote/flashback sequence to hold out hope for a time when “maybe” the cycle of hero and villain will be broken between Superman and Lex Luthor as the story fades to black.

Story: 9.6 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.7

Tom King makes a case for winning back to back Eisners for Best Short Story in his, Clay Mann, and Jordie Bellaire’s contribution to Action #1000, “Of Tomorrow”. It’s a tone poem about Superman’s last day on Earth as he says goodbye to Ma and Pa Kent one last time as the Earth is engulfed in the sun with flames and winds that are reminiscent of the last days of Krypton. King writes Superman as an old man wrestling with his past and legacy, wishing he could save more people, and being supremely proud of his wife and son. And it gets deep at the end when he reflects on his father’s blend of science and faith. Mann captures each tiny, beautiful moment in his artwork as he makes art with his strength, tears, and freeze breath: a frozen statuette of Jonathan and Martha Kent like the one of Jor-El and Lara-El in the Fortress of Solitude. Bellaire goes for Earth tones in her colors as Superman immerses himself in his adopted planet before flying off forever. He loves his parents, he loves Earth, but he realizes that all planets die and all story ends. (Except for his comic book for now.)

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10

Two veteran comics creators Louise Simonson and Jerry Ordway show they still have a lot in the tank in their “Five Minutes” story with colorist Dave McCaig that expertly intertwines Superman’s life as a superhero and Clark Kent’s life as a journalist in five minutes. Simonson’s narration shows that both Clark and Superman’s “powers” come in handy in different situation as Superman is able to dart from a train accident to a hold up and finally to save the city from an asteroid just like Clark is able to write a story and get it in under deadline. It’s a quick, zippy read with a lot of heart and a kind of cheesy “twist” ending, but Simonson and Ordway show how much passion Superman/Clark Kent has for both saving people and reporting. He is precise, efficient, and knows when to fly to next crisis just like a writer juggling different projects. Plus there’s a Bibbo Bibbowski cameo, which will be a treat for Superman fans of the 80s and 90s.

Story: 8.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.3

Paul Dini, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Kevin Nowlan, and Trish Mulvihill turn in a cheeky homage to Superman’s history, Garcia-Lopez’s ability to skillfully render almost every DC Comics hero and villain, and most of all, Mr. Mxyzptlk. Mxyzptlk has the ability to wipe out Superman from the existence in the blink of an eye, but he’s more of a prankster than a coldblooded villain and enjoys toying with him instead. Dini, Garcia-Lopez, and Nowlan also provide a little meta-commentary on how stories involving superheroes in comics never seem to end even after they’re killed off or have passed their mantle to sidekicks or legacy heroes. Probably, because they’re too much fun. This story’s kryptonite is Dini indulging his sleazy side towards the end, but the energy and humanity of Garcia-Lopez’s figures and Mulvihill’s heroic colors more than make up for it.

Story: 7.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.0

In a much darker story than the previous one, “Faster than a Speeding Bullet” happens in a very short span of time as Superman tries to stop a domestic abuser from shooting his girlfriend, Lila, in the head. Artist John Cassaday tells the story in a series of freeze frames as you can see the strain of Superman flying to stop the bullet, and the red, yellow, and blue of Laura Martin’s colors as his chances increase. Brad Meltzer starts incredibly dark in his script with Superman running calculations in his head that he won’t be able to save Lila and ends with Superman admitting that he is inspired by humanity as much as they are inspired by him. “Faster than a Speeding Bullet” is a taut, mini-thriller that also captures Superman’s essence and the strength of his and the people he inspire’s resolves.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

The final story in Action Comics #1000 is Brian Michael Bendis’ DC debut with Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair doing the art. Lee and Williams definitely put the “action” in Action Comics, and most of the story is a third act of Man of Steel fight sequence with collateral damage galore as new giant sword wielding alien conqueror villain Rogol Zaar crashes all over Metropolis and tries to kill the last two Kryptonians on Earth. Yes, Supergirl has a cameo in this comic and is there to get her ass kicked as much as Superman. Bendis’ writing is quippy as ever and doesn’t really pair well with the disaster movie feel of Lee and Williams’ art. He seems to be going for an “Avengers Disassembled” type of throughline in his approach to Superman by physically breaking him down and also taking shots at his past. Yes, the final page of Action Comics #1000 is a huge retcon for Superman’s character, and hopefully, Bendis has the reasoning and great story to back it up, or Rogol Zaar might just be a Mongul knock-off with a cooler sword.

Story: 6.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.0

 

Story: Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, Marv Wolfman, Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Louise Simonson, Paul Dini, Brad Meltzer, Brian Michael Bendis  Art: Dan Jurgens with Norm Rapmund, Patrick Gleason, Curt Swan with Butch Guice and Kurt Schaffenberger, Olivier Coipel, Rafael Albuquerque, Clay Mann, Jerry Ordway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez with Kevin Nowlan, John Cassaday, Jim Lee with Scott Williams  Colors:  Hi-Fi, Alejandro Sanchez, Dave McCaig, Jordie Bellaire, Trish Mulvihill, Laura Martin, Alex Sinclair
Story: 8.2 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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