Action Comics #1000 Review
Celebrating this milestone issue, we get 10 stories by some of the biggest writers and artists who have worked for DC. We also get a couple of art pinups in the issue too. One of the biggest stories is by Brian Michael Bendis, who will be taking over Superman. This celebrates who Superman is and what he represents.
There are 10 stories, so this breakdown will be a little bit different than other reviews. The stories will be given quick recaps here.
From The City That Has Everything – The story opens with Jon and Lois talking and waiting for Clark to show up. He’s in space fighting off Khund Warriors. When he makes it back to Metropolis, there is a day dedicated to thanking Superman. They try to convince him to show up as Superman as people tell stories about what he means to them. He notices that something is wrong, prompting him to change back into Superman. Wonder Woman sends him back saying that they have everything under control, telling him that they are all fans too. The entire Justice League is also present at the celebration.
The Fifth Season – Taking place in Smallville Planetarium, this story focuses on Lex Luthor and Superman. Superman is trying to find out what Lex is doing with the Eye of Xotar and Chronos’ Time Scissors, which together could be used to see into deep space and alter any genealogical line in history. Lex tells Superman about how his father was abusive and he sent an S.O.S. into space. He talks about how he should have died sending the message because he didn’t heat the liquid nitrogen and that he was lucky. Turns out Clark was there and heated it for him so he didn’t die. Lex confesses that he got the items to kill Superman.
Never-Ending Battle – Told exclusively by Superman, this story focuses on a battle against Vandal Savage. He hits Superman with tachyons, trapping him in a time loop. He starts out in the 1930’s with less powers, and pushes his way through time to get back to his family. Through his trip through time, he saves people, he fights a dragon and several versions of himself and deals with other adversity throughout his history and makes it back to his family.
Of Tomorrow – A heart-wrenching tale, this takes place in the future. The Sun has become a Red Giant and is about to swallow the Earth. Superman comes back to the planet one last time to visit his Earth parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent. He explains that Lois is taking the Eternity Formula and Jon has grown up and reminds him of his mom. He spends the entire time transforming a handful of dirt into a crystal and then fashions the crystal into a statue of him and his parents. He leaves it at their gravesite as the planet is destroyed, but not before saying a heartfelt thank you and goodbye.
Five Minutes – In the Daily Planet, deadlines are everything, as this story spotlights. Pressed by Perry for a deadline, Clark hears something going on in his city. As he dashes off to help, Perry yells at him that he has 5 minutes. From here, he stops an out of control train with a collapsed conductor, helps a friend stop the robbery that resulted in the near crash, stops space debris from hitting downtown Metropolis, and gets back with 90 seconds to finish his article. As he finishes, Perry comes and tells him that Superman stopped a train derailment and he needs to take Jimmy Olsen to get first person accounts.
An Enemy Within – Focusing on Superman’s allies, this one focuses on Captain Maggie Sawyer who is trying to deescalate a hostage situation. The hostage was being controlled by Brainiac, who was trying out a new mind control technology on a man known as Principal Davis. He releases his hostage and is taken down by rubber bullets. As Captain Sawyer leaves a park the next day talking to a homeless man, her actions cause Brainiac to terminate the project, freeing the homeless man under his control.
Actionland! – While this story taking place in an amusement park seems innocent enough, it’s a story focusing on Mr. Mxyzptlk. He spins a story about Superman and his triumphs and how he was ultimately destroyed by Mxy, but he can’t find a way to finish the story. He realizes thanks to Gspie that he never wants the story to end and that Superman defines a part of him.
The Car – Telling the story of the iconic car from Action Comics #1. He tells a mechanic what he hit a guy in red underwear and that he hung him from a telephone pole. As he walks home, Superman finds him again. He does what Superman does – talks to him about being a better version of himself and he listens to Superman, going back to his neighborhood to make time with kids in his neighborhood.
Faster Than A Speeding Bullet – Brilliantly this story takes place in the space of a few seconds. Superman is flying and trying to save a hostage from a robber with a gun to her head. Superman fears he won’t make it in time, but is determined to try. He notes the physiological response in the robber, the gun begin to fire. He does the math in his head and knows he won’t make it. He notices that the hostage has made a movement into the path of danger, causing him to fly even faster. Because of this, it catches him off guard buying her a fraction of a second, allowing Superman to catch the bullet.
The Truth – The final story in this oversized issue sets up the new Bendis run. It starts with Superman being thrown across Metropolis, landing in a restaurant, unconscious. He’s being pursued by a mysterious figure bathed in fire as 2 women pull him behind a counter. We see the disfigured being coming after Superman and Supergirl comes in to go after him. The police move in to try and stop it and they are dispatched as well. Superman recovers and gets back into the fight against the being, who is named Rogol Zaar and tells him that this isn’t a fight, but a cleansing. He says he cleansed the universe of the Kryptonian plague before and is finishing the job now. He says that he told Jor El the same when he destroyed the planet Krypton.
Reflections, Impressions, and Predictions
It’s nice to get so many stories from so many creators who treasure and revere Superman and more importantly, Clark Kent.
The price is a bit higher, but the format and presentation is worth it.
It feels crazy that there have been 80 years and 1000 issues of a continuous Superman book.
There are a lot of good stories here, but even before I knew who wrote it, I loved the Scott Snyder story, The Fifth Season.
Moving forward, I’m curious about what plans Brian Michael Bendis has for Superman moving forward. He has a reputation for doing character driven work on big characters, and based on the last story, The Truth, he’s got some big ideas.
Not sure I love the idea that we have a new character who claims he destroyed Krypton.
Rogol Zaar seems to have the power and ability to kill Clark and Kara.
Definitely caught a minor case of the feels reading Of Tomorrow.
Story – A bunch of stories, but they are all indicative of Superman and his lore. Touching, action packed, impactful. Well done. 9/10
Art – It’s hard to complain at all about any of the art here. I just wish the Pinups were actual posters. 9/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – There is nothing better here. This issue captures the essence of Superman. 10/10
Twist Factor – Lois and the Justice League conspiring to give Clark the thank you day he deserves. 10/10
Final Score – 9.5/10