Action Comics #1011 Review: An Unsettling Calm Before the Leviathan Storm

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(Photo: DC Entertainment)

For the past several issues, Action Comics has been consumed with the lead up to "Event Leviathan". That's meant a lot of table setting with the world's intelligence agencies and more being taken out or crippled to clear a path for Leviathan and the ultimate goal to take down Superman. That's also meant some lackluster issues at best but in Action Comics #1011 everything seems to come back together again and finally, with morning poised to bring about whatever Leviathan’s plan is, the stakes feel real—even with the issue taking a somewhat nervous, unsettled tone to get there.

The issue kicks off with what might be one of the great sequences of Brian Michael Bendis' run thus far. Kate Spencer, who we saw previously speaking with Bones, makes her first appearance actively in her masked vigilante Manhunter role in the DC Rebirth continuity, but before she suits up, she takes down Maggie Sawyer and her team of Special Crimes Unit officers. It's a tight, well-executed sequence that starts with a nap on the couch and ends with an escape jump from a building and a "I'm going to need a lawyer." Not only is the sequence a visual treat with the story being told as much in words as it is in the art that carries the action—Steve Epting crushes it here—but it also sets the tone for the issue: troubling, urgent, and a little desperate.

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(Photo: DC Entertainment)

What works very well in the issue overall is that while readers are toldand should know by now—that the world is in absolute chaos, very little time is wasted on trying to show that. Action Comics #1011 isn't an issue cluttered up with visual attempts to drive home the stakes. Instead, it's more of a recap of sorts, in a very real way creating an outline of everything Superman and Lois knows thanks to their own observations and a lot of information handed to them by Spyral.

Another element of the issue that works quite well is the back and forth conversations between Superman and Lois as well as with Jimmy Olsen who was supposed to be babysitting Amanda Waller at the Fortress of Solitude until she got away. It's direct, largely to the point, but very real. Leviathan is a mystery that even Superman hasn't fully solved and there’s a tension to that conveyed in the beats of the dialogue, and it leaves a rather unsettling taste in the reader's mouth.

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(Photo: DC Entertainment)

However, for all of that, the issue suffers a bit from what much of the lead up to "Event Leviathan" has and that's an overall feeling that the issue feels more like a Batman story with the brightness of a Superman one. It's the intrigue, the criminal empire aspect of it all, the darkness that is lurking just around the corner paired with the lighter, bright colors one expects from the Man of Steel. For readers who have been keeping up with Bendis' run on Action Comics, they're probably used to that by now, but it can be a little jarring at times for those hopping in, curious as to what all this Leviathan business is about.

Overall, while Action Comics #1011 doesn't really deliver on any big shocks or reveals, it is an intriguing issue that pushes the narrative right to where it needs to be to head into "Event Leviathan". The players are in place and, as the last panel of the issue says all that's left is who is Leviathan, what do they want, and what happens tomorrow? And it's a question readers will want answered even more now.

Published by DC Comics

On May 22, 2019

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by Steve Epting

Colors by Brad Anderson

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Cover by Steve Epting