Action Comics #1005 marks the sixth consecutive issue that Brian Michael Bendis has written in the series that everybody’s favorite big blue boy scout first appeared in. His unique take on how to juggle both a Superman title and an Action Comics title at the same time has been excellent. The Superman title focuses on the superheroic element to Clark Kent’s life. Meanwhile, Action Comics focuses on the reporter part of his life.
With this focus on smaller scale stories come a chance to put the spotlight on smaller-scale characters. When Bendis made the switch from Marvel to DC, the most requested character for him to write was The Question. It makes sense, Bendis is considered the crime comics master, and that’s exactly what The Question’s comics are. If you are interested in the history of this character, check out my retrospective on the Dennis O’Neil run.
So the question becomes, how does Bendis handle my favorite fictional character and how does it work with the rest of the story?
Bendis’ Writing Is As Sharp As Ever
Bendis writing Clark Kent is just great. He writes with such a sense of optimism and light-heartedness while also maintaining the relatability the character inherently has, despite what many people think. The scene where Clark is practically glowing as he has recently seen Lois after she has gone into space for so long is great. If you didn’t feel anything about Clark’s longtime romance with Lois, you at least have to admit that they are perfect for each other. And Bendis is one of the best when it comes to writing great romances.
While the twist at the end was predictable, there were a couple of things I wasn’t expecting. The mayor of Metropolis being a drunkard who dislikes superheroes is an interesting idea. I look forward to seeing this develop. And the introduction of The H Dial into Rebirth continuity is quite exciting. Bendis continues to find ways to introduce the weird and obscure into the ground level of the DC universe in fascinating ways. It reminds me of his heyday writing Daredevil.
Art That Can Switch With The Tone
Ryan Sook’s art is well detailed and rather great. It strikes a good balance between realistic features and overly exaggerated facial expressions. In my opinion, it actually aids the reading experience as it visually represents the dichotomy of the story compared to Clark. Superman is bright, colorful, and optimistic while the criminal underworld is dark and seedy. If you notice, even at night, when Clark is around, the panels seem to be just a tad brighter.
However, it does have some pitfalls. The exaggerated facial expressions can go a bit overboard at times. This results in odd shots and awkward panels during dialogue-heavy sequences. There is also a small panel during the interview scene with Clark and Melody Moore that has an odd wink by Clark. It just doesn’t look natural, which is in contrast to the rest of the page that has pretty realistic facial expressions.
Questioning The Question
We don’t get much characterization in Action Comics #1005, as The Question only has three lines of dialogue. We don’t even know what continuity this version of the character is from. Is this the Vic Sage from the Ditko run? The O’Neil Run? The shaman version that even went to college with Lois Lane from the Rick Veitch run? The Trinity of Sin immortal version from the New 52? We do know from interviews that it is definitely not Renee Montoya, which is a mixed bag for me. While Vic from the O’Neil run holds a special place in my heart, Renee’s journey in 52 to become The Question was so perfect it’s really a disservice to undo it.
The atmosphere around the character is perfect, however. We see a shadowy outline of him at the beginning, people freak out about his lack of face, and then he takes out the gangsters in a fight that is chaotic and fun. The final page he is on as a big splash page reveals that treats the character as a bigger deal than he actually is. Most people have no idea who he is, so it’s nice for Bendis to give the character his just due.
The Rorschach Conundrum
Bendis has promised that he will be a reoccurring character and have a big storyline in the summer. With that in mind, I will give him the benefit of the doubt. However, there is one thing I’m very concerned about right now. Normally, Vic runs around in a blue coat and suit. However, he changed his style from time to time in the O’Neil run but most of the clothes were still blue. But he is wearing a brown one in Action Comics #1005.
One particular version, the Veich run, wore a brown suit. He even met Superman in that run and took down some gangsters in Metropolis. However, this version has his coat buttoned up, much like a certain character from Watchmen that was based on The Question. Considering the overarching story of the Rebirth continuity, I fear Rorschach and The Question will be combined into one character. Something I do not want to see at all.
Action Comics #1005 Is A Fun Read That Contains Hints Of What Is To Come
Action Comics #1005 is an interesting issue in the middle of a pretty cool arc. As with the rest of this series, since Bendis took over, I like the focus on Clark dealing with street crime. I look forward to more Action Comics in the future, even if I called the cliffhanger long before I read this issue. And while I’m concerned about my favorite character’s future, I’m glad to have him back, at least for a bit.
While some of Action Comics #1005 is quite predictable, the concept behind this arc has been great. And we can look forward to more content featuring The Question by the crime comics master himself. I say that's a win for everyone.