Dave Galanter
December 1st 1969 - December 12th 2020
He was loved.

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Location: Lancashire
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 40,443
Subj: Action Comics #1028 - No Action, But a Pause....
Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2020 at 01:26:37 pm EST (Viewed 121 times)

Grappling with what to say on this, Brian Bendis and John Romita's final issue, I find myself struggling a bit, as while there is nothing at all bad about it, and it does end their run on a high note, I find that after reviewing the last several issues I have little to add that is different to those critiques on the strengths and weaknesses of Bendis and Romita's work on the title.

Briefly, Action Comics #1028 goes thus then:

•A servicable 'Poser' cover featuring the Superfamily. it also features John Romita's by now routine quirk of having something strange happening with someone's leg - Superman's in this case. Also note the light source on Romita's cover is coming from down below judging from the shading on the Daily Planet globe and the characters faces... so how is it the raised Superman can be reflecting his back off the window below and behind him?

•Lovely opening pages from both Brian Bendis and John Romita as we follow the stunned Perry White attempting to process the impossible reality that Jimmy Olsen now owns the Newspaper and is essentially his boss!
The scene plays out with obvious subtle humour in the face of an absurdity, but the reactions of the people involved all ring true and show off Brian Bendis' strengths as a writer as he further reinforces the characters working in this Newspaper office-floor and how they relate to each other.

•There are no villains this issue, no last-minute business to be dealt with, just characters dealing with their current situations and resolving their relationship with the other.

•John Romita and Klaus Janson's artwork is particularly strong with their final issue, it confirms my observation that Romita is at his best when asked to illustrate real environments and people on the street. If you saw his similarly grounded contribution to Detective Comics #1027 you see an artist who is still capable of excellent work... when he is motivated and inspired by the material. With this final issue of Action Comics he makes a very noticeable effort to end on a high. With this in mind though where can DC comics best utilise his style, and on which character? An ongoing conundrum for the editors at DC given he on contract, and does have a certain sales attraction given his extensive back-catalogue of work and its variety.

•Whether the Super-family really needs a second Superboy, in the form of the original version of Kon-el, is very debatable. But here Brian Bendis takes the time to restore his presence in the lives of Superman and the Kents and the moment is a touching one as John Romita delivers superbly constructed shots of the Kent farm viewed from above and from the perspective of the floating Superman, Kon-el and friends, it again demonstrates what Romita is capable of... when he is motivated and inspired by his material, and asked to illustrate people and recognisable earthly situations.

•In amid a fair bit of lightly humorous moments and asides Brian Bendis slips in a comment from a bystander relating to his critics bemoaning that Jon Kent's Superboy belongs to Robin, not the Legion!
I can definitely quibble on that one! But I liked the humour of the moment and that this writer uses his dialogue so well.

•Closing on a very well done final three pages Bendis wisely closes his run on a quiet moment with Lois and demonstrating the rollercoaster highs and lows that come with the lives and careers of Clark and Lois. The closing page is about perfect, and offers a very satisfying sense of both closure to this run on the title, and also a promise that things always continue.

•A very fine issue! Try it. \(yes\)

Courtesy of John Romita jr & Klaus Janson - There are many panels and shots in this issue I could choose as noteworthy, but this particular scene in the opening pages of the book deserves special praise. It is rare today in superhero comics to actually see genuine emotion being expressed in the artwork, I am not speaking of the exaggerated faces artists will draw to convey a characters shock or anger at some event - I am speaking of genuine human emotion, the small gestures we all give off day-to-day, as seen here with an astonished Perry White silently absorbing the news and implications that his newspaper is safe and his immediate staff stand besides him in their loyalty and love. It's genuinely touching moment as constructed by Brian Bendis and brilliantly brought to life by Romita & Janson, all three determined to leave this series on a high note... the detail put into these two panels alone up above is simply marvellous.

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