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Review: Action Comics #1000

Celebrate 1000 issues of Action Comics with an all-star lineup of top talent as they pay tribute to the comic that started it all! From today’s explosive action to a previously unpublished tale illustrated by the legendary Curt Swan to the Man of Tomorrow’s future-this very special, oversized issue presents the best of the best in Superman stories!

Action Comics #1000 feels like an end, a beginning, and a celebration of a landmark moment, one thousand issues and almost 80 years of Superman. The issue is full of some top notch talent with numerous stories of varied style and quality. All of it though is entertaining in some way.

The issue opens up with writer Dan Jurgens‘ finale to his latest run with “From the City That Has Everything.” It’s clear from his latest run (and all his Superman material) that he loves the character and this story which features art by Jurgens, ink by Norm Rapmund, color from Hi-Fi and letters by Rob Leigh, is that recognition as Metropolis honors the Man of Steel. It’s a cheesy story but one that is so in a way that a speech from someone honoring someone else might be. Touching and a fine way for Jurgens to wrap up his run.

The second story is a really cool one that weaves a story out of what is essentially pin-ups. It’s a great way to include such a thing in a comic without it just being images. I hope we see more of this and the art is from a who’s who of creators. It involves Superman going through time and gives a way for artists to take advantage to take us readers through Superman’s history, some of his key moments, and different artistic styles we’ve seen. It’s an utterly brilliant story and presentation and a highlight of the celebration.

Marv Wolfman and Curt Swan team up for “An Enemy Within” which feels like a bit of a retro story in both pacing and art. While not bad it’s an interesting reminder of how much storytelling has changed over the years. I don’t want to give too much away but the story has some nice twists involving a hostage situation.

“The Game” sees Superman and Lex Luthor match wits in a game of chess. Paul Levitz and Neal Adams team up for the story and it’s interesting and one you can probably debate about the deeper meaning. It’d be nice to see this story in a longer form as there’s a lot to work but with just a few pages we don’t get a lot of depth, just fun twists that feel like they’re from the 80s and an homage to an Adams classic moment.

Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, and Olivier Coipel come together for “The Car” which has a criminal recounting how his car was destroyed by a mysterious flying man. The art is fantastic and I think some of my favorite work by Coipel who seems to be channeling Frank Quitely. It’s such a simple story but one that really digs into what makes Superman super.

“The Fifth Season” sees Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque come together as Superman and Lex Luthor come together in Smallvill. It’s an interesting story that again explores the relationship of the two characters. Particularly it focuses on Luthor being oblivious to the good that Superman does that he doesn’t acknowledge or is even aware of. It’s another story that can be debated as far as its deeper meaning and themes.

“Of Tomorrow” is Tom King, Clay Mann, Jordie Bellaire, and John Workman having Superman revisit Earth one last time before it’s consumed by the sun. It’s a reminder of the loss of the character and a deeply touching entry.

Louise Simonson and Jerry Ordway come together for “Five Minutes” which reminds us that Superman has a few jobs, hero and reporter (as well as husband and father). It’s a fun story that plays on the speed of the character and that how he can some times mess up one job due to the other. A funny ending that gave me a chuckle.

“Actionland!” has Paul Dini and José Luis García-Lopez focus on our favorite imp who has it out for Superman. It’s the odd story of the bunch with the focus on the villain but is a reminder that like Superman, some of them have infinite power that they hold back due to… something.

Writer Brad Meltzer and artist John Cassaday honor Christopher Reeve with “Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” that has Superman racing to prevent a gun going off and killing a woman. It’s a fantastic story and I had no idea how it’d resolve. Again though, it’s a reminder of some of the things that makes Superman great and boils the character down to his goodness and how he inspires and is inspired.

“The Truth” is Brian Michael Bendis‘ DC debut with art by Jim Lee and what is supposed to lead into the miniseries The Man of Steel which kicks off Bendis’ run. Out of all of the stories, this is the low point of the issue honestly. Maybe it’s the hype but there’s a new baddie who’s out to kill Kryptonians and while Metropolis is getting destroy two civilians are focused on Superman’s underwear? It’s very Bendis and while funny, especially with Lee on art, it doesn’t quite work and honestly lowered my excitement for what he has coming.

There’s a lot packed in here and something for everyone. No matter the era of your enjoyment there’s a story that fits it and this is really a comic that has an amazing amount of talent. It’s truly a celebration of such an iconic character and for the celebration alone it’s a purchase. At times, comics like this are a let down, but this is the exception with every story entertaining in some way and a few that shine. It’s the rare oversized celebration comic that lives up to the occasion.

Story: Dan Jurgens, Peter J. Tomasi, Marv Wolfman, Paul Levitz, Neal Adams, Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Louise Simonson, Paul Dini, Brad Meltzer, Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Dan Jurgens, Patrick Gleason, Curt Swan, Neal Adams, Olivier Coipel, Rafael Albuquerque, Clay Mann, Jerry Ordway, José Luis García-Lopez, John Cassaday, Jim Lee
Ink: Norm Rapmund, Butch Guice, Kurt Schaffenberger, Kevin Nowlan, Scott Williams
Color: Hi-Fi, Alejandro Sanchez, Dave McGaig, Jordie Bellaire, Trish Mulvihill, Laura Martin, Alex Sinclair
Letters: Rob Leigh, Tom Napolitano, Dave Sharpe, Nick Napolitano, John Workman, Carlos M. Mangual, Josh Reed, Chris Euopoulos, Cory Petit
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Superman #45

Superman #45

(W) Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason (A/CA) Patrick Gleason
In Shops: Apr 18, 2018
SRP: $2.99

“BOYZARRO RE-DEATH” finale! The challenge of the Bizarroverse continues as the Super Foes battle the Legion of Fun! As Superman and Son return to Hamilton for a quick recharge, they learn what the little town truly meant to them-and what they meant to the locals of the town.

C2E2 2018: The Action Comics #1000 Panel

At C2E2 this past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Action Comics #1000 panel, which had a lot of information about that specific issue as well as reveals of upcoming Superman artwork and stories, mostly involving new DC Comics writer Brian Michael Bendis. Along the way, the talented group of creators on the panel talked about their connection to Superman while teasing their stories, and some surprise swag was given out at the end…

It’s seriously insane that a monthly comic book has hit four digits in issue numbers and has basically been published since 1938. Some of DC’s best creators convened at the Action Comics #1000 panel to talk about their work on upcoming Superman titles, their relationship to the iconic hero, and most importantly, should his costume have underwear on the outside, or not? The panel included writer Brian Michael Bendis (Alias), who is making his DC Comics debut on Action Comics #1000, writer/artist Patrick Gleason (Superman), writer Tom King (Batman), artist Clay Mann (Batman), artist Jill Thompson (Beasts of Burden), and artist Philip Tan (Suicide Squad: Rebirth).

It kicked off with some information about the 80 page celebration that is Action Comics #1000 as well as a 384 page hardcover book called 80 Years of Superman with all kinds of essays, tributes, stories, and art that looked perfect for a coffee table along with an unpublished story by Jerry Siegel and artists from Joe Shuster’s studio. Continuing with the unpublished theme, Bendis reminded the moderator that Action Comics #1000 has some unpublished art by legendary Superman artist Curt Swan that Marv Wolfman scripted over and geeked out about it. He showed a real passion for being involved with Superman and DC Comics on the panel.

After saying he had almost no time off between doing his last Marvel book, Invincible Iron Man #600, and his first DC book so he could jump in on Action Comics #1000, Brian Michael Bendis set up the first reveal of the panel. It was four pages of lettered Jim Lee art as well as his and Bendis’ first original DC creation, the mysterious villain Rogol Zaar. (There was a snarky joke about red trunks in there too.) Bendis said that the villain will be connected to a secret from Superman’s past. The secret will be revealed in Action Comics #1000 and then expanded upon in the weekly Man of Steel miniseries. He then told Rogol’s secret origin, which was connected to his hospitalization for a MRSA infection in late 2017. Dr. Rogol was a no-nonsense doctor in the hospital, who helped him get better so he decided to name his first big DC villain after her. When Bendis told Dr. Rogel this, she nodded like he was crazy. The next day, she had Googled him and brought out an old Marc Silvestri drawing and said she should look like a bloodstained, bikini wearing barbarian woman. It’s safe to say she wasn’t impressed with Jim Lee’s final design. In his first DC story, Bendis made sure to “write big” for Jim Lee and was influenced by some of his collaborations with Geoff Johns and Scott Snyder on Justice League and Superman Unchained respectively in the salad days of the New 52.

The topic turned to May 2’s DC Nation #0, which is coming out the same week as Free Comic Book Day, but is on sale for $0.25 so the comic could feature more story pages. The book has previews of Tom King’s upcoming work on Batman and Scott Snyder’s upcoming work on No Justice as well as a brand new Superman story by Bendis and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. Working with the 70 year old Garcia-Lopez was on Bendis’ bucket list, and he came out of retirement to deliver some beautiful pages featuring group shots of the Daily Planet bullpen reacting to Superman. Also, apparently he’s a super nice guy and still lives for collaborating on comic book stories.

About a month after DC Nation, The Man of Steel #1 will be released with Brian Michael Bendis writing and Ivan Reis and Joe Prado on artwork. In each issue of this weekly miniseries, Bendis is collaborating with a new artist he’s never worked with before except Kevin Maguire and diving feet first into the DC Universe. Bendis talked about how he wanted to make Metropolis a lived-in setting where each nook and cranny has its own story much like Gotham and also how he wants to show why Clark Kent became a reporter to “tell the truth Superman can’t”. He pointed out that unlike his powers and coming to Earth as an infant, becoming a reporter was his choice. Plus there’s going to be a big space conspiracy story featuring various alien races, including the Guardians of the Universe, and its logo was based off of John Byrne’s Man of Steel even if the stories aren’t really similar.

The Man of Steel leads into Action Comics #1001, which will be written by Bendis and drawn by Patrick Gleason, who previously was the co-writer with Peter Tomasi and occasional artist on Superman. Gleason says that Action #1000 is the celebration/jam issue while the real story starts in issue 1001. He talks about how Superman is an all-out superhero book while Action Comics will focus on the Clark/Superman dichotomy and also build up Metropolis and the Daily Planet. He then proved that he is one of the harder working creators in comics and said that he had to draw 15 pages of Action Comics #1000 while also doing full interiors on Superman #45, his farewell to the title. Luckily, all 15 pages of his Action Comics #1000 story “The Neverending Battle” were splashes and was a love letter to Superman stories across time. One of them featured the old Superman “S”, which his six year old son said was incorrect. His son ended up appearing on a page where Superman stops a train, and all four of his kids helped ink a page with Superman fighting Nazis in World War II with Sgt. Rock.

The moderator turned the focus to Tom King and Clay Mann’s five page Action Comics #1000 story, which is already available online. It is set way in the future, fairly depressing, and King began with a little joke about how Batman was better than Superman. King said that he when was he younger that he thought Superman was a fairly “generic” hero. However, through his grandmother, who is from Nebraska and his wife, who is from Chicago, he began to see him as an embodiment of Midwestern values aka focusing on the solution, not just the problem. Then, artist Clay Mann got a nice ovation from the audience for his art skills and talked about King giving him reference material of Mars to draw this future Earth. He also joked about Superman’s tears not evaporating in the sun, which severely hurt Tom King’s “scientific” credentials. King’s explanation was “super tears”, which led to Bendis telling a story about how he wrote an angry letter to John Byrne while he was a comic book store clerk about how Superman shaves with a mirror and heat vision and ended up getting roasted by Byrne in the letters page of Next Men #8. The ghost of John Byrne definitely seemed to be haunting this panel.

Next, Jill Thompson teased some of her art for the upcoming Action Comics Special story with Mark Russellwhich is about Clark Kent roasting Lex Luthor at the White House Correspondents Dinner. It looks super hilarious, and various members of the Justice League are there in dressier versions of their costumes. The wrestler Alex Chamberlain posed for her art. Then, the moderator asked her and the panel who their favorite Superman artists were. Thompson said she liked Steve Rude, especially his work with Dave Gibbon on World’s Finest, where he gave Metropolis and Gotham two distinct looks. Philip Tan’s definitive artist was Alex Ross on Kingdom Come and Mann’s were the aforementioned Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Jim Lee, Dan Jurgens, and John Byrne. King picked Byrne and Curt Swan because “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” is his favorite Superman story. Patrick Gleason said he liked the Superfriends and Bruce Timm Superman cartoons before getting into comics, but his favorite artists were Jurgens and Ross. Bendis closed by giving a shout out to the jam issue (He loves those.) Action Comics #400, which featured Steve Ditko, Jim Steranko, Moebius, and more’s take on Superman. And they all commiserated over the difficulty of drawing the Superman “S”.

Towards the end of the panel, Brian Michael Bendis talked about how what a solid foundation Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, and Patrick Gleason left him on the Superman titles as they went from having two Supermen to just one hopeful, optimistic Superman even with some super crazy stories like the Boyzarro and Rozarro starring Superman #45, which is basically a Bizarro-verse version of the DC Rebirth one-shot. Bendis says the ideal is taking over a struggling book, like Frank Miller on Daredevil, because you have creative freedom, but it’s a tougher challenge to take over a book that has hit a creative peak like Superman.

Bendis said that his take on Superman wouldn’t be a reboot and that he had a seven page manifesto of Superman is relatable to him, especially as a father. (Of course, King quipped about Batman being more relatable.) Plus there is a lot of adoption in his family. He retold a story where as a struggling artist in Cleveland, he took on a gig to do art for a Superman parade where he was paid for Superman merchandise. Siegel and Shuster cancelled so Stan Lee of all people was the guest of honor and called him by name, but it was really because he was wearing a nametag. However, this parade gave him to the opportunity to talk with many comic creators about his career, including George Perez, who gave him 20 minutes of solid advice, including to focus on one project at a time, which has helped him with all those crazy deadlines and juggling multiple books.

The panel concluded with a roundtable discussion about the return of Superman’s red trunks, and Gleason talking about how he and Jim Lee basically designed around them when they were coming up with Superman’s new costume for DC Rebirth. But the panel seemed pretty pro-trunks, and each member of the panel audience was rewarded with their own pair of Superman trunks (Mostly XL.) with #TheTrunksAreBack embroidered on the back.

Basically, Action Comics #1000 seems like it’s going to be historic and epic, and you should pick it up when it drops on April 18.

Preview: Superman #44

Superman #44

(W) Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason (A/CA) Patrick Gleason
In Shops: Apr 04, 2018
SRP: $2.99

“BOYZARRO RE-DEATH” part three! Gathered together from the cosmic recesses of the universe are the most powerful forces of bad ever assembled! Now the Super Foes face the Legion of Fun-and the only heroes who dare to stand against this intergalactic threat of the Bizarroverse are Superman and son!

Preview: Superman #43

Superman #43

(W) Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason (A/CA) Patrick Gleason
In Shops: Mar 21, 2018
SRP: $2.99

“BOYzarro RE-DEATH” part two! What do you get when you try to fit a boy from a square planet into a round one? Boyzarro! Superboy and Kathy try to keep the lid on their Bizarro-sized can of worms as Boyzarro tears a rage-filled path of destruction from Metropolis to Hamilton and beyond! But what happens when Superman and Bizarro find out what their kids have been up to?

Preview: Superman #42

Superman #42

(W) Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason (A) Patrick Gleason
In Shops: Mar 07, 2018
SRP: $2.99

“BOYzarro RE-DEATH” part one! It’s a bizarre, Boyzarro world-and we just live in it! When Superboy comes face to face with Boyzarro, the Son of Bizzaro, a strange transformation begins to take place. But that’s not all that the Kents have knocking on their door! Superman versus Bizarro round one am not just the beginning!

Superman Gets Oversized 48-Page One-Shots in May

The creative talent of Action Comics writer Dan Jurgens and the Superman team of Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi have brought legions of Superman fans story after story filled with action, humor, emotion and candor–traits that have continued to present Superman as an enduring symbol of hope, optimism, truth and justice. This May, the conclusions to their epic runs serve as the centerpieces of two special one-shot issues.

On sale May 2, the 48-page Action Comics Special #1 features “The Last Will and Testament of Lex Luthor,” written by Jurgens with art by Will Conrad. Beginning with the events of Rebirth, Superman’s greatest enemy became his most unexpected ally. Is Lex finally on the heroic path, or is he still hiding his true colors? When he finds himself in an adventure where Superman could be destroyed, what will he do? Save the Man of Steel, or witness his demise at the hands of an unimaginable enemy? This oversize special also includes stories from Max Landis and Francis Manapul originally slated to appear in the DC Universe Holiday Special 2017 #1, and Mark Russell with artist Jill Thompson.

Available May 16, Superman Special #1 features Tomasi and Gleason’s “The Promise,” concluding a story from Rebirth that began in issue #8, 2016’s “Escape from Dinosaur Island.” Before Superman’s world goes through some drastic changes, he has unfinished business to attend to on Dinosaur Island. Superman and the Losers’ Captain Storm take one final trip together into the abyss of tomorrow, which brings the military man out of time into the world of today. This 48-page extra-size special also features bonus stories by Mark Russell with art by Bryan Hitch and Ian Flynn with art by Kaare Andrews.

Superman’s Red Trunks Return in Action Comics #1000

The countdown as on as the momentous Action Comics #1000 draws nearer and DC Comics is pulling out all of the stops with a jam-packed, star-studded comic.

The Jim Lee-drawn cover features a new costume that integrates a variety of classic and new elements. One thing that’s immediately noticeable is the return of the Man of Steel’s iconic red trunks which have been missing since DC’s 2011 New 52 reboot. Since Rebirth, DC has been slowly moving the “new” look to the old one bit by bit.

Action Comics #1000 will feature multiple stories and creators including the DC debut of Brian Michael Bendis, his first since switching over from Marvel in an exclusive deal. Marv Wolfman will pen a story based on unpublished art by Curt Swan. Richard Donner and Geoff Johns are teaming up with artist Olivier Coipel. Other contributors include Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, Paul Dini with José Luis García-López, Tom King with Clay Mann and Jordie Bellaire; Brad Meltzer with John Cassaday and Laura Martin; Louise Simonson with Jerry Ordway; Scott Snyder with Tim Sale and more to be announced.

Action Comics #1000 hits stores on April 18.

Preview: Superman #39

Superman #39

(W) Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason (A) Barry Kitson (CA) Chris Burnham
RATED T
In Shops: Jan 17, 2018
SRP: $2.99

What would it be like to fly with the Man of Steel? Some very special children find out as Superman fulfills some unique wishes.

Review: Super Sons #12

Superboy and Robin must face the repercussions of the events of “Super Sons of Tomorrow” and how the emotional toll will affect their relationships with each other, their parents and the Teen Titans.

I had some issues with the last chapter of “Super Sons of Tomorrow.” Mainly it was the fact no one was reacting to these future superheroes and things just fell into place a bit too well without much conflict. Writers Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason address a lot of that here in Super Sons #12. Future Tim Drake is now travelling through time, with lots of hints as to what may come. Those that are left on Earth are there to pick up the pieces and it feels like a lot of things are addressed.

There’s the future Titans which leads to a debate about what the present time heroes should know and shouldn’t know with some slight teases at the future. It’s that “if you know the future you can do damage” type of thing and it all makes sense and plays out in the expected debates. So, all of that is addressed and addressed pretty well. The future Titans weren’t used much but how they were was interesting and makes me think there’s more to come.

Then, there’s the relationship between Damian and Jonathan and Superman has some thoughts about that. Here we get a good dose of Superman being both a father and a hero and the debate and thought process makes a lot of sense and again addresses knowing the future and what Jonathan may do.

Then there’s the Teen Titans themselves and the debate if Jonathan should join. That’s addressed too and doesn’t go the way I expected and instead shows a lot more depth. There’s also Batman who we last left him having had the crap beat out of him by Future Tim Drake.

But, what’s the real focus is the relationship between Jonathan and Damian and that’s front and center. This series has really been about their relationship which is oil and water. We’ve also seen the two grow in so many ways and build into one of the best team-ups the DC Universe has going for it. Damian has worked on Jonathan’s innocence and Jonathan has worked on Damian’s gruffness. These two characters have show growth in these twelve issues that we rarely see in comics and this issue emphasizes that.

The art by Tyler Kirkham is fantastic and every character looks great and the framing of the various scenes are solid. Everyone looks great and there’s a lot of different locations. The double spread in the time tunnel is amazing, just like last issue and there’s so many locations, each with tiny details that enhance the story.

I had issues with the last chapter, thinking that was the finale. This issue is the real one and it’s a perfect ending to what has been an exciting and fun event. The only reason this is a read is because it’s not a good entry point, but it’s a great ending to this arc.

Story: Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason Art: Tyler Krikham
Story: 8.45 Art: 8.45 Overall: 8.45 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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