Action Comics #1002
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Patrick Gleason
Colors by Alejandro Sanchez
Letters by Josh Reed
Things are getting weird in the world of the Man of Steel. A low level gangster is dropped from the sky onto the street below and Superman is accused of committing the act. The fact that the hero was in another part of the country doesn’t seem to deter the new City Desk reporter that has taken Lois’ place and Perry decides to send Clark to get information about the gangster himself. It’s a pretty tense exchange, made more so by the fact that the reporter, Ms. Goode seems to be in contact with some pretty shady people who want to keep Superman in the dark.
At the same time, one of the gangsters responsible for the fires being set all over the city is taken down by Guardian, who gets his first look at the mystery entity that has been helping the gangsters in their plans. Through the course of his investigation, Clark learns a pretty dangerous truth about his heroism and desire to help can be easily manipulated by those with darker agendas. It’s a pretty cathartic moment for Superman as he finds himself getting angrier at the prospect of what’s happening in the city. A visit from Cat Grant doesn’t help matters when the subject of Lois comes up and Clark’s investigation into something related to his missing wife leads him to a shocking revelation.
Bendis is definitely taking Superman to some really interesting and unknown territory in this book. Rather than having him deal with bigger than life villains and averting global destruction, this issue and the previous ones seem to spend a good amount of time dealing with the limitations of Superman’s reach in Metropolis and how his mission can be perverted by those with ill intent. It’s a really interesting and solemn gut punch to Superman to know how he is being used by the criminal element in the city and the danger that puts innocent people in. To his credit, Bendis gives Clark a moment to release the emotions he’s holding in and that helps to humanize the character more.
Gleason’s art is great. He does a great job of rendering almost a physical difference between Superman and Clark and the facial expressions that he gives Clark in situations are great. There are some great details in the action as well and Superman letting off some steam in an asteroid belt is visually awesome.