Due to various shenanigans at DC over the years when the big two decided they didn’t like big numbers for some reason, we almost didn’t get Action Comics #1000. Luckily someone gained an IQ and realized big numbers means the comic and character has longevity and hopefully for a reason. Plus it’s Superman, and they’ve already rebooted continuity so many times, both hard and soft, that big numbers aren’t what’s chasing away potential readers. It’s not caring about your history so why should we get invested?
Also, we get the return of the red trunks. While I still say writing it off as a red part of the pants because they ran out of blue fabric is the better way to go, no other suit has looked right. It just looks so bland with nothing but a belt offsetting the blue. Plus it hides the super-bulge, which is why the circus strongmen and other athletes his outfit is based on had that feature. Nice to see them back. The cool kids hate you, but they don’t read Superman anyway, so why should we care? Not everything has to play to the “everything for meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” crowd, no matter what they think.
No, I didn’t get the cover that’s been in all the press (you can click on to see it full-size). I chose the Steve Rude 50s inspired cover from the five they had because it looked like a cover that teases the story inside. It actually doesn’t, but I’m particular about my covers, as longtime readers know.
But I had to pick up something for Free Comic Book Day since the store pays out-of-pocket for all those comics you don’t pay for, and they lose money. I also got bags and borders for those comics since they do sell them individually and I couldn’t afford a full back of both separately. And since Superman is my favorite superhero my choice was obvious. The comic contains 10 stories and a pinup by John Romita Jr. (with Danny Miki inking and Peter Steigerwald coloring, plus another by Walter Simonson colored by Brennan Wagner, and a third by Jorge Jimenez. The assistant editor for all but the Brian Michael Bendis preview is Andrea Shea and Paul Kaminski as regular editor for all but the preview. So let’s check out the individual stories and see if they’re any good.
STORY 1: “From The City That Has Everything”
WRITER/ARTIST: Dan Jurgens; INKER: Norm Rapmund; COLORING: Hi-Fi; LETTERER: Rob Leigh
Superman keeps trying to get out of a ceremony in his honor, and the Khunds seems willing to help with that and invade the Earth. However, Lois has taken steps to insure that won’t be a problem. I like that the comic starts off with why people who love Superman do so. My favorite testimony is a former freelance henchman (the idea that such a thing exists I find amusing) Superman helped out of the life. My favorite moment is when Lois reveals her Superman shirt at the event and Jon goes “she’s been waiting to do that all day, you know”. It’s a nice start to our collection.
STORY 2: “Never-ending Battle”
WRITER: Peter J. Tomasi; ARTIST: Patrick Gleason; COLORIST: Alejandro Sanchez; LETTERER: Tom Napolitano
Vandal Savage tries to trap Superman in Hypertime, forcing him to live different versions of himself at various power levels. It’s a decent insight into what drives Superman but it feels like an excuse to draw pinups based on the various versions of Superman over the years. It was okay but not all that spectacular.
STORY 3: “An Enemy Within”
WRITER: Marv Wolfman; ARTIST: Curt Swan; INKERS: Butch Guice & Kurt Schaffenberger; COLORING: Hi-Fi; LETTERER: Rob Leigh
ORIGINAL STORY: Cindy Goff, Curt Swan, & Butch Guice, with one page from Superman: The Secret Years #2 by Bob Rozakis, Curt Swan, & Kurt Schaffenberger
Superman is on the other side of the world dealing with Brainiac and only he realizes that it’s tied to events going on in Metropolis. This is less about Superman than using Maggie Smith as an example of the best of humanity as she deals with what appears to be a crazed principal holding a student hostage. Leigh also does a neat thing with the word balloon as the principal tries to regain his sanity. I liked it.
STORY 4: “The Car”
WRITERS: Geoff Johns & Richard Donner; ARTIST: Oliver Colpel; COLORIST: Alejandro Sanchez; LETTERER: Nick Napolitano
You all remember this scene, right?
Ever wonder what happened to Butch and that car? Me, neither, but I guess Johns and Donner didn’t want to leave this to old stories doing more payback stuff, because that’s not what Superman evolved into unless your Zac Snyder. Or Richard Donner if you remember the end of Superman II with the truck driver…unless that was added in by the guy who replace him. Butch brings the car in to be fixed…riiiiiiight! My front end was bent less than that and my insurance company wanted to junk it. (My uncle fixed it easily.) What we get is Superman (classic S triangle) trying to convince Butch to make a better life for himself. Necessary? Probably not. A good story anyway? For the most part.
STORY 6: “The Fifth Season”
WRITER: Scott Snyder; ARTIST: Rafael Albuquerque; COLORIST: Dave McCaig; LETTERER: Tom Napolitano
Was there a point to this story? Lex steals some powerful items to kill Superman but instead they end up sharing a moment of Lex’s past that brought him peace and…seriously, what was the point? “The Fifth Season” refers to a few weeks in Smallville where the weather is a bit off by the way. Not really sure what happened here or how young Clark was involved. I don’t get it.
STORY 7: “Of Tomorrow”
WRITER: Tom King; ARTIST: Clay Mann; COLORIST: Jordie Bellaire; LETTERER: John Workman
Another one of these stories, where Superman is immortal and he’s here at the end. This time it’s at the end of a long-abandoned Earth as the Sun is about to go nova, so he’s come to pay his final respects to (spoiler). Lois is taking some immortality formula and Jon is either also immortal or also taking the formula…I don’t know. It’s still not as bad as that one Adventures Of Superman story where’s still around at the end of the universe, but he’s SuperMAN not SuperGOD! Stop treating him that way! Also, isn’t he supposed to be DEAD during the time of the Legion Of Super-Heroes?
STORY 8: “Five Minutes”
WRITER: Louise Simonson; ARTIST: Jerry Ordway; COLORIST: Dave McCaig; LETTERER: Carlos M. Mangual
Clark has a deadline but Superman is rather busy. Fun little story. I don’t think it would work as a longer tale.
STORY 9: “Actionland!”
WRITER: Paul Dini; PENCILER: José Luis Garcia-Lōpez; INKER: Kevin Nowlan; COLORIST: Trish Mulvihill; LETTERER: Josh Reed
It’s a Superman theme park leading to the story of how Superman’s legend ended…if Mxyzptlk can figure out the ending. Cameos by his wife, Bat-Mite, and a couple of others. See if you can tell who they are. Cute story.
STORY 10: “Faster Than A Speeding Bullet”
WRITER: Brad Meltzer; ARTIST: John Cassaday; COLORIST: Laura Martin; LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulous
Superman is faster than a speeding bullet, but even his speed has limits. It’s a story that goes into what inspires Superman, a nice bookend to the first story and the third.
PREVIEW: “The Truth”
WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis; PENCILER: Jim Lee; INKER: Scott Williams; COLORIST: Alex Sinclair; LETTERER: Cory Petit; ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Jessica Chen; EDITOR: Mike Cotton
And here we go. The story is Superman getting smacked around Metropolis. There is so much wrong here. Nobody else mentioned the return of the red trunks but here they’re actually discussing it while trying to hide Superman from his attacker! THAT’S what they’re focusing on? NOW? Supergirl is just here to get tossed aside by a Kryptonian-hating alien who…and here’s the worst part…claims responsibility for destroying Krypton! Why? Is this a necessary addition to the backstory? NO! I’m assuming the full story will explain why Rogol Zaar considers Kryptonians a plague and why he wants to wipe the last two out. But it feels like Bendis, a man who has shown numerous times over at Marvel to have no respect for continuity or past characterization, wants to put his own stamp on the origin not because it benefits the story but “who controls the origin has the power”, which is usually an ego trip. The inside back cover proclaims “Bendis is coming” but this story turns that into a warning.
That story and “Of Tomorrow” aside this was a pretty good collection of short Superman stories. While I would have liked to have seen at least one story about a father/son period with Clark and Jon, we do get some good insights into what make Superman such a good character, even in “Of Tomorrow”. It’s worth checking out if you have the funds, but now I’m back to being broke. There’s supposed to be a hardcover coming with even more features but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to afford it so this is what I went with, and Bendis’ preview aside I’m not sorry I did.