Brian Michael Bendis’ run on DC’s Superman titles has been one of the best things to come out of the publisher this year, with Superman spotlighting the cosmic elements of the iconic hero while Action Comics focuses on Clark Kent’s experience as a Daily Planet reporter. Bendis has an exceptional understanding of what makes Superman tick and how his abilities affect his perception of the world around him, and the duality of the character is at the forefront of Action Comics, where Clark gets as much attention as his costumed alter ego. The series features a phenomenal line-up of artists including Patrick Gleason, Yanick Paquette, and Ryan Sook, and Bendis’ talent for writing to the strengths of his collaborators shines through in each issue. It’s a beautiful comic where the depth of the plotting and characterization matches the richness of the visuals, giving readers a Superman who is easy to relate to despite his extraordinary struggles.
This exclusive preview of this week’s Action Comics #1006 shows Clark digging into why the mayor’s office stopped an investigation of a recent string of fires throughout the city. His public confrontation with the mayor brings up ongoing debates about superheroes interfering in the work of public servants like police officers and firefighters, but it also gets personal when the mayor brings up Clark’s absent wife, Lois, and her recent interactions with Lex Luthor. Artist Ryan Sook, colorist Brad Anderson, and letterer Josh Reed fill the crowd scenes with life, but there’s a strong shift into loneliness when Clark eavesdrops on the mayor’s private conversation, with tight close-ups and centered lettering isolating Clark from the world around him. He thinks he’s alone when he ducks into an alley for a costume change, but instead he encounters a young superhero fan and trusts him to keep his identity secret because he needs someone to trust right now.
The most exciting thing about this preview happens on the very first page. Each issue of Action Comics begins with a full page devoted to the desk of a Daily Planet staffer, featuring shout-outs to other DC comics and Post-It note teases of future projects. This week’s issue references the Martian sex scene in Martian Manhunter #1 and the forthcoming return of Young Justice this month, but most importantly, it has a Post-It stating that Greg Rucka is writing an “unauthorized Lois Lane” book. Lois Lane has long deserved her own series at modern DC, and Rucka would be a fantastic writer to handle it given how well he’s able to ground superhero stories in reality, a skill necessary for a journalist character like Lois. There’s been no official announcement about this series, but hopefully this tease will turn out to be fact in the future.