Leviathan is rising and there is seemingly nothing Superman can do to stop it. Conspiracies abound, but how many of them are actually true when it comes to one of the most ruthless organizations in the DC Universe.
Action Comics has taken a drastic shift in tone and genre during these past couple of issues, but this issue really solidifies the darker, more conspiratorial edge that Brian Michael Bendis is going for with the current storyline. He started out Action Comics as more of a slow-burn journalistic thriller, but that has turned into a straight conspiracy thriller, which at first, felt odd for Superman to be a part of, but this issue nails home just how intriguing that can be with Superman.
One of the things that Bendis has done really well with Action Comics is to make sure that Superman is used sparingly. It may be weird to say that about a Superman comic, but the focus of this series isn’t about Superman, it’s about Clark Kent and the world of Metropolis. That said, Bendis chooses to throw both Clark and Metropolis into a fight that they aren’t prepared and that they aren’t used to being a part. This is something that has been done before so much in comics, with Superman stories alone taking up a good chunk of those times, but it’s intriguing with the way Bendis is doing it here. “Clark Kent is someone always searching for the truth, but what happens when that truth is world-shattering?” is a really interesting way to go about the story and it feels very fresh.
Image by DC Comics/Art by Steve Epting
It also feels like Bendis is returning to his roots with the tone and genre that he is going for here. He started out writing noir thrillers that are generally really great, so it’s a cool development to see him return to that on such a big name like Superman. He crafts a compelling story in this issue that builds on much of what has come previously and it’s hard to tell where the story is going, which is great, just as any noir mystery should be.
With Action Comics venturing into the conspiracy thriller genre, what other artist than Steve Epting would be the right pick? No one that’s who. During the previous issue, it felt weird seeing Epting’s art in the world of Superman. It was great art, but it still felt odd. Here in this issue though, everything just feels right. The imagery is haunting in a way that enhances the mystery being told, while his uses of darks and shadows absolutely nail the tone that Bendis assumedly was setting out to create.
Epting’s art simply captures the feel and tone of spy thriller films from the 70s with aplomb and it really enriches the environments of the issue. His art is dark and brooding, which normally wouldn’t work a Superman comic, but here it works incredibly well.
Action Comics really begins the build-up to “Leviathan Rising” in this issue and it creates for a compelling read.