Action Comics No. 1009 review: Leviathan continues to hide


Action Comics continues on its path to the war with Leviathan. With no answers and more questions, it’s unclear with what Leviathan wants or who exactly they even are even more.

Action Comics has been ramping up for the past couple of issues, setting the groundwork for the next DC event, Leviathan. There’s a lot to be said about a story that is completely acting as set-up, but in this case, Action Comics has been doing all the right things when it comes right down to it. There’s a lot that has been going on and this issue feels like the best issue of “Leviathan Rising” yet.

Brian Michael Bendis has been doing an excellent job of stewarding Superman into a new direction since he took over the two main Superman books in the past year. Somehow, despite the slow pacing that he has created with Action Comics, he has made the story work for the most part and it feels like that all comes to a head in this issue. This issue is still slow, but it’s slow in a deliberate, never boring way that builds the world around Superman, as well as the mystery behind Leviathan in greater detail. It’s not a perfect set-up issue, with locations jumping around at an oddly frantic pace compared to the pace of the rest of the issue, but it’s still well done.

Image by DC Comics/Art by Steve Epting

What Bendis is doing so well though is somehow making Superman exist and feel right at home in a dark, spy thriller that would be much more at home as a Batman story. Yet, because of Bendis writing, it honestly doesn’t feel like this story could be told with any other character than Superman. It’s a hard line to draw between the hope that Superman is supposed to emit and the drab hopelessness that the existence of Leviathan presents, but Bendis manages to toe that line very well. There are really a lot of shades of Ed Brubaker’s Captain America run, especially “The Winter Soldier,” to this story arc, which probably is also very much thanks to Steve Epting.

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Epting is honestly one of the best, if not the best, spy comics artists working today. Everything that he manages to do, page after page, is breathtakingly gorgeous and often so subtle that it works perfectly with the genre. Even when he goes grandiose, it still fits within the confines of the genre, while also feeling epic in the way that most comics artists make superhero comics look. It’s a weird balance to maintain yet Epting does it perfectly.

Whether it be Superman standing in an empty throne room with light shining from above or The Question, sitting in a dimly lit room, surrounded by smoke, the art is simply beautiful. It’s paced extremely well and knows exactly when to go for a wide shot or close-up with perfect intent behind it. Epting is an incredible artist.

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Action Comics continues on its path toward Leviathan with probably the best set-up for it yet.