Action Comics #1000 Review – Faster Than A Speeding Bullet…
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis, Brad Meltzer, Dan Jurgens, Geoff Johns, Richard Donner Peter J. Tomasi, Marv Wolfman, Paul Levitz, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Louise Simonson, Paul Dini
Drawn by: Dan Jurgens, Patrick Gleason, Curt Swan, Neal Adams, Olivier Coipel, Rafael Albuquerque, Clay Mann, Jerry Ordway, José Luis García-López, John Cassaday, Jim Lee
Colors by: Hi-Fi, Alejandro Sanchez, Dave McCaig, Jordie Bellaire, Trish Mulvihill, Laura Martin, Alex Sinclair
Published by: DC Comics
Superman’s been around for 80 years. He’s been around for longer than most people we know. Think about it. Through high’s and low’s, at least 3 wars and multiple political and financial crises, Superman has been a constant icon in American life, sometimes more righteous and honest than the freaking President of the United States. That’s literally insane to even consider. If you didn’t think super-heroes were our modern mythology, the fact that Superman has been around for 1000 issues should prove it.
Usually, since this comic is a collection of short stories, I’d talk about each one individually but, because I don’t want to spoil anything and because some of them are so short, I’ll talk about the general feel of the issue and my favorite stories.
I was actually very fearful of how this comic would turn out, given how some of the previous landmark issues have gone for other comics (I’m looking at you Avengers #200). The writers they got might not have been the best, the stories might have been boring or inappropriate, they might have gotten bad, flash in the pan artists, etc. This went double for Superman, because he’s a character who’s remarkably easy to screw up. He’s so simple that when someone tries to make him more complex, they run the risk of making him boring, angsty, etc. Fortunately, every single story basically got it.
While it wasn’t always prevalent in every story, the running theme of Action Comics #1000 seems to be “Superman as an inspiration”, which is something I can easily get behind. I’ve always looked at the character as the example to follow, as far as good morals go and these stories all got it. He’s not just a character who’s been around for a long time, he’s a representation of the best humanity can be. He can move mountains or he can have a talk with you about life. He’s everything we aspire to be and all of the stories understood that.
As for personal favorites, the Johns/ Donner story won me with concept alone and the Jurgens one was the best way to start the issue, with a very hopeful and inspiring note. Paul Dini’s, while slightly unconventional, was very fun and Scott Snyder’s was surprisingly endearing. He hasn’t always hit the mark when it comes to portraying Superman, so I was kinda shocked when he made a very thoughtful story about Lex and Clark (although he did put in his famous history lessons in the middle).
My favorite one though, and I imagine this might be very shocking, was Brad Meltzer’s. I railed against him in the past for Identity Crisis (and I stand by it) but the fact of the matter is that he really wrote a great story. It has a lot of minute details (which I love in any kind of story) and the final lines were so sweet I couldn’t stop myself from smiling. I don’t know if he’s actually become a better writer in between Identity Crisis and now but either way, kudos to Meltzer.
The art for each story was also basically the best thing ever. It’s hard to pick who was the best artist but, push comes to shove, my favorites were Patrick Gleason, José Luis García-López and Olivier Coipel. It’s wonderful just to see Coipel drawing something for DC and his Superman just had this warm radiance and life to him; I’ve seen García-López’s art everywhere so it was a treat to see it with some more modern stylings; and Patrick Gleason wins MVP in this book, as far as I’m concerned, for this page alone.
I can’t possibly imagine his art looking better than this.
Before I go to my overall thoughts, I want to talk about the Bendis story, because it’s not so much a self-contained short story like the others but more of a trailer to whatever Bendis is doing on Superman. While I can’t really say any “fears” have been assuaged regarding Bendis with the character, given the shortness of the actual story, it was actually pretty good. He got the voices right, he did a little bit of that Bendis small talk you love/ hate from him and he knows how to work an action scene. The villain was kind of boring, but let’s give Bendis time and see what he can come up with.
Overall, Action Comics #1000 was pretty much excellent. It features great talent, most of it at the top of its game and it’s a perfect encapsulation of what Superman should be. If you’ve never read any Superman story, I’d honestly recommend this as an ideal start. It’s all I could possibly ask for and more, and I give it a full recommendation.