Does The Man Of Steel Meet His Match In Action Comics #1016?

by Tony Thornley

Superman is often considered the most powerful superhero in the DC Universe. So it’s not often he meets his match. However, in Action Comics #1016, there might be more than one character equal to the Man of Steel…

Brian Michael Bendis, Szymon Kudranski, Brad Anderson, and Dave Sharpe conclude this introduction of a new hero to the larger DC Universe.

The Red Cloud has revealed her monstrous new form- thanks to Lex Luthor- to Superman, and it may be even more powerful than she was previously. As she beats Superman badly, an unexpected ally comes to the rescue. But is Naomi, the DCU’s newest hero, powerful enough to defeat Red Cloud?

I really enjoyed this issue because it’s so unusual in structure and format. The majority of the issue is told through two page splashes by Kudranski and Anderson, while Bendis uses man on the street interviews (between a Daily Planet reporter and witnesses) to narrate the battle. It’s so out of the ordinary that it instantly sets the issue apart from an “average” Superman story.

Bendis shows that he continues to be one of the best writers in comics when it comes to realistic and down to Earth dialogue. Many of these civilians have never seen one of Superman’s battles up close, and they struggle to describe what they’ve seen. It’s just unfortunate that the planned length of this brief arc meant that the issue had to switch to a more standard type story for the last third of the issue, as it would have been fun to see an entire issue in this interview style format.

Kudranski’s line art is great. He embraces the format, showing the battle in single or full page spreads that give a massive sense of scale to the fight, as he gives a human touch with the inset panels showing the various witnesses, with great ranges of emotion depicted through quick glimpses of body language and facial expression. Anderson’s color art is extremely expressive, and he saturates the fight in reds, giving it an added sense of danger.

Superman has been through the wringer lately, and it’s made for some great reading. This is a consistently fun run and one of my favorite takes on the Superman mythos in a long time.

Action Comics #1016 is available now from DC Comics.

%d bloggers like this: