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Superman: Action Comics, Volume 1: Invisible Mafia

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In costume, Superman is the world's greatest hero. In plain clothes, he's Clark Kent, one of the Daily Planet's best investigative reporters. But on the streets of Metropolis, there's a new threat rising that neither of them can see...until it's too late. A new power called the Red Cloud has taken over the city's underworld, and it's like nothing Superman has ever faced In costume, Superman is the world's greatest hero. In plain clothes, he's Clark Kent, one of the Daily Planet's best investigative reporters. But on the streets of Metropolis, there's a new threat rising that neither of them can see...until it's too late. A new power called the Red Cloud has taken over the city's underworld, and it's like nothing Superman has ever faced before. As he chases down the story, his mind is preoccupied by the absence of his wife Lois Lane and their son Jonathan--leaving the Man of Tomorrow vulnerable to the mysterious new villain of today! Even with all his power, can the Man of Steel stop what's coming for his family and his city? Discover the shocking answers in Superman: Action Comics Vol. 1: Invisible Mafia, as New York Times best-selling writer Brian Michael Bendis teams with acclaimed artists Ryan Sook (The Spectre), Patrick Gleason (Batman and Robin) and Yanick Paquette (Wonder Woman: Earth One) to dig deep into the city that made Superman famous--an ideal companion to Bendis' blockbuster DC debut in The Man of Steel and his ongoing work in Superman! Collects Action Comics #1001-1006--the perfect start to an all-new era of Superman!


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In costume, Superman is the world's greatest hero. In plain clothes, he's Clark Kent, one of the Daily Planet's best investigative reporters. But on the streets of Metropolis, there's a new threat rising that neither of them can see...until it's too late. A new power called the Red Cloud has taken over the city's underworld, and it's like nothing Superman has ever faced In costume, Superman is the world's greatest hero. In plain clothes, he's Clark Kent, one of the Daily Planet's best investigative reporters. But on the streets of Metropolis, there's a new threat rising that neither of them can see...until it's too late. A new power called the Red Cloud has taken over the city's underworld, and it's like nothing Superman has ever faced before. As he chases down the story, his mind is preoccupied by the absence of his wife Lois Lane and their son Jonathan--leaving the Man of Tomorrow vulnerable to the mysterious new villain of today! Even with all his power, can the Man of Steel stop what's coming for his family and his city? Discover the shocking answers in Superman: Action Comics Vol. 1: Invisible Mafia, as New York Times best-selling writer Brian Michael Bendis teams with acclaimed artists Ryan Sook (The Spectre), Patrick Gleason (Batman and Robin) and Yanick Paquette (Wonder Woman: Earth One) to dig deep into the city that made Superman famous--an ideal companion to Bendis' blockbuster DC debut in The Man of Steel and his ongoing work in Superman! Collects Action Comics #1001-1006--the perfect start to an all-new era of Superman!

30 review for Superman: Action Comics, Volume 1: Invisible Mafia

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    Is it a bird? Is it a plane? What? No, it’s Brian Bendis’ third Superman collection! Wait, did you say “turd”? Because, yes, this is another terrible Bendis Superman book! Like the Court of Owls in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s first New 52 Batman book, the Invisible Mafia have been operating in our hero’s city for decades unbeknownst to him. Except the Invisible Mafia are way less cooler or compelling than the Court. They meet in a segment of lead pipe (Superman can’t see through lead) which is Is it a bird? Is it a plane? What? No, it’s Brian Bendis’ third Superman collection! Wait, did you say “turd”? Because, yes, this is another terrible Bendis Superman book! Like the Court of Owls in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s first New 52 Batman book, the Invisible Mafia have been operating in our hero’s city for decades unbeknownst to him. Except the Invisible Mafia are way less cooler or compelling than the Court. They meet in a segment of lead pipe (Superman can’t see through lead) which is a laughable visual and just reminded me why most Golden Age heroes are completely outdated. Taking a page from Akira “Dragon Ball” Toriyama, the Mafia members are named after food – Yoghurt, Candy, etc. – which doesn’t make them any more badass, and their enforcer is a fart cloud of red gas called The Red Cloud, one of the lamest new villains I’ve seen in years. So I think I’m basically done with Bendis’ Superman run already! Like I said in my reviews of his (to date) two other Superman books, he totally gets the character but he’s done the typical Bendis thing of getting so carried away writing reams of dialogue that he’s neglected the story. And what little there is here is so, so dull. Superman continues to investigate the case of the mysterious fires (snore) while the Mafia crime away and Superman skirmishes harmlessly with the Red Cloud. Lois is back somehow and sneaking around with Lex. A few superheroes cameo: The Guardian, Batman, and The Question, to no real effect beyond Fan Service! And we find out who Robinson Goode (Lois’ replacement at the Planet) really is – even though I wasn’t wondering! I didn’t totally hate it - Bendis writes a brilliant Perry White: Robinson Goode: "Well, Mister White, I do have a follow-up on the fires but you're not going to like it." Perry: "This is your first week here, Miss Goode. You don't know me well enough to know what I like and don't like." Robinson Goode: “A kid, young man, came into the fire station on Adams and said he saw SUPERMAN light the fires.” Perry: “Oh… I don’t like THAT.” And then later after Superman drops by: Perry: (quietly, aside to Superman) "Uh... any cancer?" Superman: (using his x-ray vision) "No. You're completely clear." Perry: "Thanks, pal" I love small tidbits like that and they’re so revealing of the characters and their relationships. I liked that the predictable final fight that closes out this book between Superman and the Red Fart wasn’t simply mindless punching like in the other Superman book where Superman, Zod and Rogol Zaar thumped each other pointlessly. This time Superman used his words to defeat the bad guy – wow, some actual thought went into that scene! Both Yanick Paquette and Ryan Sook’s art is great, and it’s amusing how each chapter opens on a snapshot of various characters’ desks – the details within each are very cute. I don’t know if it’s the colourist or he’s taking a lighter approach to his inking but Patrick Gleason’s art looked a lot flatter than usual. The mystery fires thing makes sense but it’s an indication that Bendis is in no hurry to tell whatever story he’s got and there’s not enough here for me in the meantime to put up with the glacial pacing and continue reading this or his other Superman series. And that’s disappointing because I was looking forward to Bendis’ Superman. I’ve no idea what fans see in this - Invisible Mafia is such a boring and bland read! And I am up, up and moving well away from this tedious title!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    Now, this is what I expected from Bendis when I heard he was moving to Superman...to be wowed! Bendis writes an awesome Supes in this. He's compassionate and caring yet, won't be taken advantage of. The Invisible Mafia is classic Bendis. Bendis has always written fantastic crime and street level books. Here, he's found a way to put a new twist on that by figuring out what a crime organization would need to do to operate under Superman's radar. For instance, they have to refrain from saying Now, this is what I expected from Bendis when I heard he was moving to Superman...to be wowed! Bendis writes an awesome Supes in this. He's compassionate and caring yet, won't be taken advantage of. The Invisible Mafia is classic Bendis. Bendis has always written fantastic crime and street level books. Here, he's found a way to put a new twist on that by figuring out what a crime organization would need to do to operate under Superman's radar. For instance, they have to refrain from saying certain words Supes listens for and meet in giant lead pipes to keep from being seen. It's really a genius idea. The art is fantastic. Patrick Gleason stays on the book to begin with, then DC brings in Yanick Paquette and Ryan Sook. Sook, already, is drawing some of my favorite Superman issues. Received a review copy from DC and NetGalley. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Artemy

    In my review of the first Superman volume by Bendis I said that I'd give a slight edge to his Action Comics over Supreman, but truthfully these are two quite different but equally excellent series, and I have a very hard time choosing which one I like the best. You see, Bendis on Superman is Bendis really doing something new and different, something distinguished, a book unlike anything he's ever done before, and it's an absolutely amazing action romp that Superman deserved to have for decades. In my review of the first Superman volume by Bendis I said that I'd give a slight edge to his Action Comics over Supreman, but truthfully these are two quite different but equally excellent series, and I have a very hard time choosing which one I like the best. You see, Bendis on Superman is Bendis really doing something new and different, something distinguished, a book unlike anything he's ever done before, and it's an absolutely amazing action romp that Superman deserved to have for decades. On the other hand, ironically, Action Comics is less action, more street level crime book with some supernatural elements, and that's exactly the kind of thing Bendis has been doing for decades in Daredevil, Alias and Spider-Man. It's what he's famous for and what he does best, and Action Comics is the best version of that kind of Bendis book. It has high stakes, tons of great character moments and an interesting mystery behind it all that takes its sweet time to build up. Unlike Superman, which was all illustrated by some of Ivan Reis' greatest work of his career, Action Comics switches up a couple of artists, though all are top tier — first there's Patrick Gleason inked by himself (which is an absolutely different, much better thing than Patrick Gleason inked by Mick Gray, which is what you usually see when he does stuff with Tomasi, yuck), then there's an issue by Yannick Paquette, and the last half of the book is done by Ryan Sook, who I think might become the definitive Superman artist of this decade if he keeps it up. Long story short, Action Comics by Bendis looks fantastic, reads even better and promises a lot more interesting things to come, and that's more than I could wish for for my favourite DC character.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Wing Kee

    I really enjoyed the tone and the pace of this book! World: The art is great, three amazing artists that bring their own style to Big Blue and it’s all gorgeous, from Gleason, to Pacquette to Sook this book is beautiful to look at, the splash pages were great, especially the ones of Supes running off to save the day. The world building is solid, this first arc is Bendis changing the status quo for the Kent family so that he can tell his story and there are is a bit of moving pieces around and I really enjoyed the tone and the pace of this book! World: The art is great, three amazing artists that bring their own style to Big Blue and it’s all gorgeous, from Gleason, to Pacquette to Sook this book is beautiful to look at, the splash pages were great, especially the ones of Supes running off to save the day. The world building is solid, this first arc is Bendis changing the status quo for the Kent family so that he can tell his story and there are is a bit of moving pieces around and changing the narrative and tone a bit. Gone is the happy family living together with a very public face to show (which I really enjoyed for the first part of the Rebirth era) and now this new changing of the status quo with the separated family but not really, I kinda am okay with it. I love Clark and Lois together happy and all and I know I’ll get that but narratively this allows each to be their own thing and also create drama so I like this little change. I also like the idea behind the Invisible Mafia as I find it to be well thought out and the design of the system interesting and one that does not depower Supes to tell a tale. Solid! Story: The tone of this book is great! I don’t know why even with the same writer Superman feels different than Action Comics (I guess it’s on purpose and that book is going to be more sciency and crazy and actiony but this one is slower, this one is more slice of life and on the ground as it were and I love that. I didn’t hate Bendis’ Superman arc but I did find because I did not like Rogol I did not enjoy it as much. Here, it’s another thing altogether there is a beautiful balance between Clark and Supes and the new characters that play into the story are well done. The banter is great, the tone is wonderful and there is a hopefulness and also a quietness to the book that I really enjoy. I really liked the world building as I said above cause it ties into the story and this is not a stupid story, this is a story that does not need to depower Superman to tell a good story, this is a Superman story that is not stupid and I really like that. I like smart villains and I like that some things Supes can’t just punch to solve and this has both of those. I am enjoying this a lot. Characters: So let’s talk about the new status quo for Lois and Clark, it’s a bit janky but it also makes sense in a narrative and dramatic sense. Happy Family Kents is great but let’s be honest, in stories happy situations don’t really create drama, suspense and tension that well. Putting them apart but not really apart allows their love and relationship to be present but opens the door for more drama and also a chance for Lois to step out of the shadow of being a homemaker/reporter/wife of Superman to be just Lois Lane and she can be awesome on her own. I’ve always wanted a Lois Lane book, I hope this leads to that! The Invisible Mafia is done well, the rules are consistent and the characters and the design of them intriguing, they are not stupid and I love that in a villain. The new pieces are also good with the deputy fire chief and also Lex coming back. I sense drama and that is a great thing! I really enjoyed this arc, I like the new pieces, the new status quo, the smart villains I like it! Onward to the next book! *read individual issues*

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tiago

    This has that Marvel's Dark Reign vibe to it, very clever and exciting to read, awesome artwork too, good stuff.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    Well, this is marginally better than the cosmic hoo-ha in Bendis' Superman ongoing, but this take on Superman fighting organized crime is a bit of a snooze despite Bendis' fine dialogue. Mostly, I didn't find much to care about anyone amongst Supes' supporting characters or his new foes. Also, I'm not a fan of the mafia-type groups this may be revamping (The 10, The 100, The 1000, Intergang) because in the past some of them have had ties to Jack Kirby's Fourth World nonsense. I might give this Well, this is marginally better than the cosmic hoo-ha in Bendis' Superman ongoing, but this take on Superman fighting organized crime is a bit of a snooze despite Bendis' fine dialogue. Mostly, I didn't find much to care about anyone amongst Supes' supporting characters or his new foes. Also, I'm not a fan of the mafia-type groups this may be revamping (The 10, The 100, The 1000, Intergang) because in the past some of them have had ties to Jack Kirby's Fourth World nonsense. I might give this one more volume in the future if I come across it in the library, but I won't be seeking it out.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I'm trying to stay positive but it's really hard. So all those concerns I had during The Man of Steel that I thought were just temporary? Yeah turns out that wasn't just a passing phase. I understand Bendis wanting to put his own spin on Superman but he does it with all the subtly of a fucking sledge hammer. Clearly he didn't like Clark and Lois having a family so he's doing his best to break it and reform it in a way he wants. First he gets rid of Jon and then he has Lois acting completely out I'm trying to stay positive but it's really hard. So all those concerns I had during The Man of Steel that I thought were just temporary? Yeah turns out that wasn't just a passing phase. I understand Bendis wanting to put his own spin on Superman but he does it with all the subtly of a fucking sledge hammer. Clearly he didn't like Clark and Lois having a family so he's doing his best to break it and reform it in a way he wants. First he gets rid of Jon and then he has Lois acting completely out of character by acknowledging that Jon doesn't need her anymore. What? How does that fit in with literally everything we know about her relationship with her son? It seems that Bendis wants to take Lois and Clark back to the characters they were thirty years ago, character development be damned. The story itself involving the Invisible Mafia is fine, but in context of the reverse-character development it doesn't hold my interest. I also hate the way Bendis writes Batman. Not everyone has to be a quirky joke maker, dude. On the plus side at least he didn't drop some Yiddish. What did I like? The art was fantastic, I like the way Bendis writes Perry White and Jimmy Olsen and I like the Deputy Fire Chief. But man, I didn't like where things seemed to be heading most of the last volume and I like it even less here. I'm not sure whether I'm going to keep reading these Superman books at this rate. And that really fucking sucks because in the last few years I have loved what Dan Jurgens and Peter Tomasi did with Clark, Lois and Jon, and right now it's all being undone and rebuilt in a way that is quickly destroying my interest. I know this is all personal opinion and I'm sure Bendis has reinvigorated lots of interest in the character, but it comes at the expense of anyone who loved the Clark-Lois-Jon dynamic. That's gone and it's not coming back.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    I think overall I enjoyed this one more than Superman. And the art is better.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rory Wilding

    During his time at DC, Marvel’s top writer Brian Michael Bendis seems like an obvious choice to write Superman, although sadly his six-issue miniseries The Man of Steel felt like such a superficial read that takes a step-backwards after progressing the character during Rebirth. After the dull set-up from said miniseries, I have now read the first volumes of both Superman and Action Comics, the former of which is a decent start showcasing the cosmic side of the Man of Steel’s adventures that will During his time at DC, Marvel’s top writer Brian Michael Bendis seems like an obvious choice to write Superman, although sadly his six-issue miniseries The Man of Steel felt like such a superficial read that takes a step-backwards after progressing the character during Rebirth. After the dull set-up from said miniseries, I have now read the first volumes of both Superman and Action Comics, the former of which is a decent start showcasing the cosmic side of the Man of Steel’s adventures that will hopefully get better. With Action Comics, it is not so much about the superhero action than it is about exploring Clark Kent, one of the Daily Planet’s investigative reporters, as he investigates a number of mysterious fires occurring through the streets of Metropolis. Whilst he is still mourning over the absence of his wife Lois Lane and their son Jonathan, Clark faces a new threat known as the Red Cloud that has ties with an “invisible mafia” that has been secretly operating the city’s underworld without Superman having any knowledge of. In terms of the villains here, it does seem like Bendis is trying to do for Superman what Scott Snyder did when he co-created the Court of Owls during his New 52 Batman run. I don’t necessarily think you can place the Man of Steel into a story where he is psychologically challenged in the same way as his friend from Gotham City, and the villains themselves are the least interesting thing in this volume as they’re still hiding in the shadows, whilst the reveal of the Red Cloud wasn’t that surprising. Having previously made his name at Marvel for his crime comics with a superhero twist, Bendis puts a lot of his sensibilities in this title, which although is on a smaller scale compared to the cosmic angle from Bendis’s other Supes book, Action Comics blends intimate character drama and a street-based investigative thriller that cleverly balances the dual personas of Clark Kent/Superman. With the main setting being the Daily Planet, it is an environment where everyone has their own distinct voice and is heard, whether is the bossy nature of editor-in-chief Perry White or the youthful charm of photographer Jimmy Olsen. As for Clark Kent, Bendis knows how to write the hero in his duality. Superman may be the most powerful superhero in the DC universe, but the writer isn’t interested in depicting him as a man of action, with the only few grand action set-pieces are presented in a couple of double page-spreads that occur in mid-conversation. Bendis is all about the words and even when Superman does prevent crime, he is using his empathy to get the job done, leading to some funny results as well as summing up what makes this hero so poignant. Although I have criticised Bendis for taking Superman a step backwards from his role as a family man, Bendis is quickly rectified this with both titles and in issue #1004, it showcases the love between Clark and Lois that is not only romantic, but is also shaping into something new. Despite a common problem with Bendis, which is his desire to collaborate with every artist who has ever lived, the collaboration with three artists here isn’t as jarring. Beginning with the first two issues drawn by Patrick Gleason, who has previously made a run at the main Superman title with Peter Tomasi, continues to do stellar work as his presentation of Metropolis is stunning. Afterwards, the always great Yanick Paquette does one issue and shows off his skill of disorientating panel layouts in a suspenseful sequence featuring Kryptonite. The rest of the volume is drawn by Ryan Sook, who had done covers for Superman: American Alien, and although his style is similar to Paquette’s, has already proved himself to be one of the best artists on Superman. The main plot involving the Red Cloud might be lacking, but Bendis takes his sensibilities where he did his best work at Marvel and successfully applies it to the streets of Metropolis, with a spot-on approach to the heroism of Superman.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)

    You can find my review on my blog by clicking here. With The Man of Steel marking his debut into Superman’s lore, writer Brian Michael Bendis now has his knees deep in the only two comic book runs featuring the Big Blue Boy Scout: Superman and Superman: Action Comics. While the first volume of Superman, The Unity Saga – Phantom Earth, was an action-packed exploration of the iconic heroes’ most prominent traits, from his charisma to his sensational physical abilities, as well as the history of You can find my review on my blog by clicking here. With The Man of Steel marking his debut into Superman’s lore, writer Brian Michael Bendis now has his knees deep in the only two comic book runs featuring the Big Blue Boy Scout: Superman and Superman: Action Comics. While the first volume of Superman, The Unity Saga – Phantom Earth, was an action-packed exploration of the iconic heroes’ most prominent traits, from his charisma to his sensational physical abilities, as well as the history of Krypton, the first volume of Superman: Action Comics, The Invisible Mafia takes on a completely different tone and direction as it focuses on Clark Kent and the history of Metropolis. To simultaneously pen both existing Superman comic book runs is a colossal task, but it has also proven to be an original and efficient way to mold the character’s stories to the writer’s satisfaction as Brian Michael Bendis writes both story arcs in a congruent fashion without ever feeling redundant. What is Superman: Action Comics: The Invisible Mafia about? Collecting issues #1001-1006, this story arc brings us back to the numerous mysterious fires occurring throughout Metropolis that not even the world’s greatest hero could stop. As Clark Kent, Daily Planet’s most resourceful investigative reporter, the streets of Metropolis remain silent as rumours circulate that maybe our hero has decided to embrace some darkness and burn down houses for mere pleasure. While the enigma continues to haunt Clark Kent and Superman, the absence of his wife Lois Lane and son Jonathan Kent leads him to go on unfocused and disturbed in his daily routine. It doesn’t help when a new threat known as the Red Cloud looks to rule the city’s underworld. Remember how Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo effortlessly introduced the Court of Owls into Gotham’s mythology? Brian Michael Bendis looks to create the same staggering extension to Superman’s lore through this new series by introducing the Invisible Mafia. With much slower pacing focused on developing Clark Kent’s struggles as he progressively acknowledges the void in his heart with the absence of his loved ones, the story doesn’t hurry into unveiling too much too quickly, building a sense of suspense as to who’s behind all the futile crimes occurring throughout Metropolis. Interlaced with some exciting revelations, sometimes a bit predictable, Brian Michael Bendis still succeeds in setting the table for this series as he centers the narrative around the journalist rather than the superhero, allowing us to emotionally relate to the character. Unsurprisingly, Brian Michael Bendis continues to put his characters at the forefront of his stories as he deepens their internal conflicts while marrying them with their complex relationships with one another. While he does rip his way into his Superman costume a couple of times and showcase his valorous ways to defuse situations with words rather than violence, this story arc still curates its narrative into a mystery drenched in investigative journalism. Furthermore, attesting to the stellar quality of this much more human story, the artwork also plays a huge role in conveying these ideas that are infused in Clark Kent’s character, where he is always attentive for leads and ready for well-founded stories that don’t put people into harm’s way. Patrick Gleason’s and Yanick Paquette’s artwork does give the story the edge it needs to make it visually stunning but I struggled with certain facial expressions are drawn by Ryan Sook that had me less enthused. Nonetheless, the overall quality, while unfortunately not always consistent, does offer a rather compelling visual treatment. A special mention here for those full-page shots of certain character’s desks filled with little details on Bendis’ and DC’s publishing projects as well as insightful and funny memos related to certain characters. This gave every issue a fun little kick start that was adequately meta. Superman: Action Comics: Invisible Mafia is a splendid portrayal of Clark Kent’s character in the midst of the rise of a secret organization with great visual art to accompany the hero’s hunt for answers. Yours truly, Lashaan | Blogger and Book Reviewer Official blog: https://bookidote.com/

  11. 4 out of 5

    Aggelos

    Super-crime drama. Bendis known for his crime works brings that same energy to Superman. What I like about Bendis' Superman works is that they are ambitious and they make sense. How can crime exist in the city of Superman? How can a simple crime organization escape a speeding bullet, that can hear everything at once, see behind walls and beat you up in the blink of an eye? How you make sure the man who can do everything doesn't notice you? They are some negatives though. The romantic sub-plot Super-crime drama. Bendis known for his crime works brings that same energy to Superman. What I like about Bendis' Superman works is that they are ambitious and they make sense. How can crime exist in the city of Superman? How can a simple crime organization escape a speeding bullet, that can hear everything at once, see behind walls and beat you up in the blink of an eye? How you make sure the man who can do everything doesn't notice you? They are some negatives though. The romantic sub-plot doesn't resolve satisfactory and it is unclear what actually changed. The plethora of artists - although all are great- creates visual inconsistencies. In man of steel the different artists worked because it was in part a tribute title, here it's jarring. Great idea. Solid execution.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    I've never been a huge Superman fan, but it's Bendis, you know? This is okay, though it does have shades of Scott Snyder's Court of Owls in the "invisible" mafia that secretly runs Metropolis. The artwork throughout is great--they got three great artists to work on this in Patrick Gleason, Ryan Sook, and Yanick Paquette, though I do have to wonder why the constant turnover...Anyway, as far as a Bendis comic goes, this was pretty much par for the course, I guess.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Appelcline

    After disappointingly mediocre volumes of The Man of Steel and Superman from Bendis, here at last is the comic we might have hoped for from him. The notable improvement is in large part because it appears that Bendis has decided to clearly delineate the two books: Superman is the big cosmic adventure superhero book, while Action Comics is the down-to-earth story about Clark and his coworkers (and yeah, Clark is Superman too). The thing is, Bendis is tons better about writing the latter than the After disappointingly mediocre volumes of The Man of Steel and Superman from Bendis, here at last is the comic we might have hoped for from him. The notable improvement is in large part because it appears that Bendis has decided to clearly delineate the two books: Superman is the big cosmic adventure superhero book, while Action Comics is the down-to-earth story about Clark and his coworkers (and yeah, Clark is Superman too). The thing is, Bendis is tons better about writing the latter than the former (at least in view of the intro volumes of each, but it's not surprising given his past work). This volume is just full of greatness: Clark working as a reporting, Clark as a family man, the rest of the Daily Planet staff, the mystery of an interesting new villain, and the mystery of what's going on with Lois. Even when Bendis makes a weird misstep with an evolving relationship for Lois & Clark, you can see the edges of how it could be interesting. I think it's easier to write a great volume of Superman that focuses on Clark as a member of human society rather than Superman as a member of superhero society. I hope we'll continue to see more strong work from Bendis in this space.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Logan

    Superman's relationship with his city is something I could read about all day long.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tundextra

    This is much more like Bendis of old... I recommend this and Man of Steel as the best Bendis 'caped' DC books. . Bendis plays a great mystery arc with both Lois and Jon missing, new reporters at the Planet, both sniffing around Kent's personal life, some sneaking around by Luthor and the arson problem. Bendis works a nice idea in this volume and drops it quite well... crime goes on unabated in Metropolis.. how? Enter the Invisible Mafia! 8 out of 12

  16. 5 out of 5

    John Yelverton

    I realize that Brian Michael Bendis is world building here, but whereas he's being true to the Superman character, he's being untrue to all the supporting characters. It's a tired trope that has been going on far too long in Superman books, and I hope that he reverses course soon before people rage quit this book series on him too.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michael Caveney

    I've been critical of Bendis in the past for character voices that felt "off" and poor action, but I was pleasantly surprised by this volume. Lots of good ideas, he clearly understands Superman and his world, and has some fresh ideas. I;m looking forward to more of this!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ma'Belle

    Much better than the Man of Steel series Bendis wrote just before this, but still nothing too exciting here.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    This was okay. I think the art was the best part of this book. But I should read the volume prior to this to find out why the family is split.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Iris Nevers

    (Read in single issues) My favorite part of this series was all the little Easter eggs on the desk tops on the title page of every issue.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    More like 4.5. Really enjoyed this (and a lot more than the first volume of Bendis’ Superman, though that was good too). Love seeing Bendis’ take on Clark Kent and Superman.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Morris

    This is a solid second outing for Bendis that I enjoyed quite a bit more than the first. He seems to be much more comfortable with the characters in this one. Recommended! This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    DoctorWoofWoof

    So, I am still plowing through the Bendis SUPERMAN stuff, as I took full advantage of the Superman sale that Comixology is running until this Monday (6/22) Hella good deals, bringing me on board for all the Bendis goodness! Yup, I said "Bendis goodness"! This guy seems to be just what DC neeeded! He really truly cares about the character, bringing a sense of heroism back to him, making him truly stand for Truth, Justice, and the American Way (not "Trump AmeriKKKa" either!)! There's a lot of So, I am still plowing through the Bendis SUPERMAN stuff, as I took full advantage of the Superman sale that Comixology is running until this Monday (6/22) Hella good deals, bringing me on board for all the Bendis goodness! Yup, I said "Bendis goodness"! This guy seems to be just what DC neeeded! He really truly cares about the character, bringing a sense of heroism back to him, making him truly stand for Truth, Justice, and the American Way (not "Trump AmeriKKKa" either!)! There's a lot of set-up/world building going on, with a lot set-up for much that is to come during Bendis' run with the Big 'S'. There's some fun, much appreciated typical Jimmy Olsen dialogue. There's some introduction of new "big bad" in Metropolis. And, best of all, Clark Kent is Clark Kent, Superman is Superman, and his beloved Lois Lane is back! Yup, sounds like a heck of a good start for the new run! Bendis is given some tip-top talent to work with on ACTION COMICS! It starts out with Patrick Gleason, then Yanick Paquette, and finishes it out with Ryan Sook. All three artists compliment each other's style, offering a flawless transition all the way through to the end. Solid work, lads! It is a good read, one that leaves the wheels a'turnin' in yer mind, as it offers much potential in the next arc, "Leviathan Rising", which sets up the next big Event! Read it, fellow Superman fans, as you will not be disappointed in any way!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brian Poole

    The other side of Brian Michael Bendis’ vision for Superman is laid out in Action Comics: Invisible Mafia. With his family mysteriously absent, Clark Kent endures rumors and speculation about the state of marriage. As both a reporter and Superman, he pursues a string of mysterious fires that leads him close to a Metropolis criminal cabal using strict, subtle methods to operate under the Man of Steel’s radar. Lois Lane’s return and the debut of a dangerous and lethal villain called Red Cloud are The other side of Brian Michael Bendis’ vision for Superman is laid out in Action Comics: Invisible Mafia. With his family mysteriously absent, Clark Kent endures rumors and speculation about the state of marriage. As both a reporter and Superman, he pursues a string of mysterious fires that leads him close to a Metropolis criminal cabal using strict, subtle methods to operate under the Man of Steel’s radar. Lois Lane’s return and the debut of a dangerous and lethal villain called Red Cloud are steps along a path leading to a significant new threat. Bendis has indicated that while the Superman title is devoted to universe-spanning superhero action, his Action Comics run is centered more on Clark Kent as a reporter and the cast of characters at the Daily Planet. Not that the Superman persona doesn’t get plenty to do in this arc, but Bendis has come up with a good way to distinguish the two books, also allowing him to spend a little more time focusing on the man behind the superhero identity in Action. The focus on the Daily Planet is welcome and Bendis cannily uses the current state of traditional newspapers as a potent background element for Clark’s work life. Staples like Perry White and Jimmy Olsen are front and center, but Bendis also works in several new characters (co-workers, allies and adversaries), giving Clark/Superman a lot to bounce off and illustrating how both sides of the character balance out. Red Cloud is an intriguing new enemy, though the “secret” of her identity won’t be much of a surprise. More interesting is how Bendis elects to handle the Kent/Lane marriage. Before Bendis began his run, there was much concern among fans about the apparent de-emphasis of the family dynamic that had been so appealing in the Rebirth era. And while Bendis takes a different approach to the relationship, it’s still a crucial element of the mix. He plays into Lois’s strength and independence, devising a scenario that has the couple very much still together, even as they’re pursuing separate paths for the moment. Overall, Invisible Mafia shows Bendis effectively blending the kind of grittier crime comics that helped make his reputation with mainstream superhero action. It gives Action Comics a distinct identity and purpose and that bodes well for where the writer is taking the franchise. Invisible Mafia sees the work of three A-list artistic talents. Patrick Gleason, Yanick Paquette and Ryan Sook take similar approaches to the material, so the shift from one to another as the arc progresses is fairly smooth. They all produce clean, bold work with some unexpected stylistic flourishes and compositional choices that enhance the storytelling and effectively communicate the intentions of Bendis’ plotting. Each comes up with an expressive interpretation of the book’s star (as both Clark and Superman), that’s the best melding of classic and modern. Color artists Alejandro Sanchez, Brad Anderson and Nathan Fairbairn tackle different parts of the arc and contribute significantly to visual appeal, nailing the contrasts between bright, dazzling moments, dark, shadowy corners and some crucial shading choices that surround important elements of the story (Red Cloud’s appearances, a bout with Kryptonite). Much like with the first arc of the current Superman series, Action Comics: Invisible Mafia gets the new era off to a strong start, teasing some promising developments to come.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Angus

    Another snore fest by Bendis. Out of character Bendisman is married, but Bendiswriter can't handle that and thinks he is Alan Moore so he deconstructs the marriage because the 4 guys Bendis knows from the Silver Age say they think girls have cooties and dont want them in their comics. Bendiswriter obliges and Bendisman changes religion from Methodist to progressive believing anything that challenges the religious beliefs set forth from Portland Prophets are is assault, as if someone hit the Another snore fest by Bendis. Out of character Bendisman is married, but Bendiswriter can't handle that and thinks he is Alan Moore so he deconstructs the marriage because the 4 guys Bendis knows from the Silver Age say they think girls have cooties and dont want them in their comics. Bendiswriter obliges and Bendisman changes religion from Methodist to progressive believing anything that challenges the religious beliefs set forth from Portland Prophets are is assault, as if someone hit the snowflake with a baseball bat. As usual Bendis floats to the medocrity of the top of the toilet that is comics on the backs of the best artists the publisher employs. All the while sales drop and his personal imprint sales are next to nothing. Summary - * Lois Lane is no longer the best women in comics, she is stepping out on Superman because the most physically dominant being on earth is not enough for a modern feminist. She is empowered. * Jon Kent is aged up because having children is so icky unless you buy one from africa and like china just like Brangelin and Bendis. Jon Kent (the most loved character from Rebirth) has a problem to. His parents are white so he is white and now he needs to be undone. Abortion for 17 year olds incomming! (but only if they don't vote for AoC as empress). * Superman has been himself in a few scenes but laughably in "Action Comics" this comc is now about Clark Kent mostly and non-action aspects of Superman. Reverse truth, reverse reality, just like Bendis' agenda says so. * Red Fart - the new villain is super great. They used a brown marker. That makes her the most important being ever. Fleshing her out and making her a real person. NOT ON BENDIS watch! * Rogal Zar - alt-righter gone bad. Totes brotastic villain that is socially relevant. Bendis's antifa crew will be looking out to deal with this piece of garbage when Superman fails (because he is white and would side with him anyway). So all in all a great book for religious progressives who take everything they believe in on faith but demand evidence that the earth is round.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Bendis has a nice rhythm between his Action Comics and Superman books. Whereas Superman is an epic story that stretches the galaxy, AC is grounded in the city life of Metropolis. While the former has Superman thinking on his absent son and family life, his emotions in this title are very much rooted in his role as a husband. It makes for a good juxtaposition, but it also makes for very different stories. AC uses Clark Kent's day job as a reporter as the backbone and lens of this arc as he Bendis has a nice rhythm between his Action Comics and Superman books. Whereas Superman is an epic story that stretches the galaxy, AC is grounded in the city life of Metropolis. While the former has Superman thinking on his absent son and family life, his emotions in this title are very much rooted in his role as a husband. It makes for a good juxtaposition, but it also makes for very different stories. AC uses Clark Kent's day job as a reporter as the backbone and lens of this arc as he investigates a string of unsolved and deadly arson cases around the city. Whereas Superman trades in direct, titanic battles, AC's drama and dangers lurks in the shadows. It manages to build up an OK sense of mystery with a number of new characters in Clark's orbit, but the players are all still pretty distant in this arc, which makes it feel a bit stuck in the mud. The dialogue is great, and the various scenes are packed with rich details and behaviors and bits that really bring the world and characters to life a bit more. I absolutely adore the gimmick they use throughout the arc, where the first page of each issue is a first person view of the desk of various characters, replete with notes and memos and bits of writing that hint at future story beats and crossovers and events, or just add winking meta-commentary on the real world and DC and the creators of the book. In the end, this arc is mostly setup, but I'm not sure what for. The namesake 'Invisible Mafia' is, as a threat, largely invisible to the reader as well until the curtain gets cracked a bit in the last issue. But with Leviathan Rising coming, I'm worried this gets pushed back into the shadows. Hopefully it plays a part in the coming arc the organization keeps getting developed. I don't need them to be revealed, and I don't need them to be stopped, but I need them to do, or be, more.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Adam Fisher

    If this is Bendis' great start to Superman, I'm not happy about it. (Fortunately, I also read Superman V1, which is much better.) Like usual, Action Comics is much more focused on the world of Superman (Clark Kent stuff, Daily Planet, complicated villains, Lois stuff, etc) rather than Superman himself. In this Volume, they seem to spend quite a bit of time setting up the villains for future Volumes. The two new "big bad" are: 1) The Invisible Mafia - a group of shadowy criminals (think "Court of If this is Bendis' great start to Superman, I'm not happy about it. (Fortunately, I also read Superman V1, which is much better.) Like usual, Action Comics is much more focused on the world of Superman (Clark Kent stuff, Daily Planet, complicated villains, Lois stuff, etc) rather than Superman himself. In this Volume, they seem to spend quite a bit of time setting up the villains for future Volumes. The two new "big bad" are: 1) The Invisible Mafia - a group of shadowy criminals (think "Court of Owls" but nowhere as cool), who meet in a network of lead pipes (because Superman can't see through lead - UGH) and apparently have been running things for years in Metropolis. 2) The Red Cloud - the Invisible Mafia's enforcer. Revealed mid-Volume as Robinson Goode, Lois Lane's replacement at the Daily Planet (because Lois was off world with Jon and Jor-El, and also because she is writing a book, more on her in a moment...). Quite formidable due to her ability to change into an amorphous cloud of red gas that is toxic to Superman (and anyone else), using it to fill the lungs of a person, suffocating them. Overall, this Volume is very much a setup for what comes next. As such, it seems to suffer from feeling complete on its own. Not great, not horrible... but an essential read to continue with Action Comics. Recommend. P.S. Does Bendis actually think he can (kind of) break up Lois and Clark? They are still married and together, but the story has them getting rid of their attempt at trying to be normal. They both are busy and chaotic people, and they are going to live as such. P.P.S. Is that busted car at the end supposed to be the one Superman is holding on the cover of Action Comics #1?

  28. 4 out of 5

    Darcy

    To be clear, I am not rating this book 5 stars because it rivals Tolstoy or Hemingway, rather because it is just about the best Superman scripting I have ever read. Three cheers for Brian Michael Bendis. He has well and truly brought Superman into the present day, making him believable, yet keeping all that is Super about our favorite boy in blue. He has humor, he has pathos, he has humility, he has grit, hell, he has it all. Mr. Bendis even sneaks a peek at Clark taking his glasses off in front To be clear, I am not rating this book 5 stars because it rivals Tolstoy or Hemingway, rather because it is just about the best Superman scripting I have ever read. Three cheers for Brian Michael Bendis. He has well and truly brought Superman into the present day, making him believable, yet keeping all that is Super about our favorite boy in blue. He has humor, he has pathos, he has humility, he has grit, hell, he has it all. Mr. Bendis even sneaks a peek at Clark taking his glasses off in front of a fellow reporter. (Bet you didn't think I would notice, did you Brian?) This take on Superman is very engaging and it reads more like watching a motion picture than reading a comic book. In this tale a sinister underground organization, with tendrils all throughout Metropolis, is acting behind Superman's back while casting aspersions upon his character. Of course, how do you fight an enemy you cannot see? There is also a menace he can't quite defeat, called the Red Cloud, there are political machinations afoot, Luther is skulking around someplace and on it goes. This book is chock a block with intrigue and story that makes me certain to buy the next volume. I am also very happy about the depiction of Superman. To me he has always been a giant of a man and the art here does not disappoint in that regard. Additionally, there are several pages with no dialogue that lets the illustrations tell the story and they do with dramatic effect. Let me tell you, if you have been away from Supes for a while and are looking for a jumping on point, this is the time and this is the book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nicolas

    Props to my pals at Netgalley for the early access. I was excited about the prospect of Bendis taking on Superman but have been on the fence with the previous two volume. (Man of Steel left me underwhelmed but I thought Phantom Earth was a little closer.) I'm happy to report that this one found the sweet spot. With Lois and Jon still gallivanting around the cosmos with angsty Jor-El, Clark is getting down to business and settling back in to his life. Things go off the rails when a rash of crimes Props to my pals at Netgalley for the early access. I was excited about the prospect of Bendis taking on Superman but have been on the fence with the previous two volume. (Man of Steel left me underwhelmed but I thought Phantom Earth was a little closer.) I'm happy to report that this one found the sweet spot. With Lois and Jon still gallivanting around the cosmos with angsty Jor-El, Clark is getting down to business and settling back in to his life. Things go off the rails when a rash of crimes are blamed on Superman and a mysterious cloud lady gets in to some shenanigans. As Dean Cain can attest, I love Superman stories though focus on Clark's everyday life and struggling to find a balance with the power he has. Clark certainly took center stage in this volume and I thought Bendis did a great job of making the Daily Planet and crew feel like an actual newspaper. Superman is there plenty, but he's not moving planets or fighting some crazy powerful monster menace. To me, this is the right mojo. I also appreciate sidelining Jon and Lois. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Lois fan tried and true. And I think Jon was a good addition. That doesn't mean I want to read about everyone's favorite nuclear family, the Supers all the time. This is a clever way to recapture some of that old school feeling without just erasing those relationships. Hats off to Bendis for the subtle dig at Spider-man's infamous One More Day nonsense that did just that. I hate to rate Superman comics low because he's my pal, so I am pleased to report that this gets tops marks.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

    First off, I have to comment on the art for this comic. It was beautiful. Everything from the background to the characters were well balanced and felt jus t right. Now, on to the story... It has been some time since I read a Superman story. I did not realize just how out-of-date I had become. To catch anyone else who is back with me up... Krypton is back, Superman and Lois Lane have a son who is currently traveling with his grandfather, Lois and Clark are married but no one seems to mind her First off, I have to comment on the art for this comic. It was beautiful. Everything from the background to the characters were well balanced and felt jus t right. Now, on to the story... It has been some time since I read a Superman story. I did not realize just how out-of-date I had become. To catch anyone else who is back with me up... Krypton is back, Superman and Lois Lane have a son who is currently traveling with his grandfather, Lois and Clark are married but no one seems to mind her meeting-for a public make out session with Superman. Ok, caught-up? Great. Superman is back in Metropolis after traveling in space with his family but getting separated. The Daily Planet has had some shake-ups and there is a new gossip reporter who is VERY interested in why Lois ran off with Superman and how Clark feels about it. As a side note, there has been a series of mysterious fires which the fire department and Superman have no leads in solving. This sets the stage for the introduction of a group of criminals who have figured out that while Superman is can only be in one place at a time and if he isn't in Metropolis, then that is the time to act. Without giving everything away; there is a new villan (Red Cloud), a new ally (fire chief Melody Moore), and a new view of how life and even crime continues in Metropolis even with Superman. My favorite parts include a scene where Superman is facing off against two hoods with guns who know they can't win but aren't sure what else to do; surprising interludes in conversations where Clark has to disappear, fight the baddie, and return to the conversation as though nothing happened; Clark Kent acting as a true reporter to get a lead instead of relying on being Superman; and really any scene where the illustrator manages to show a glint the the Man of Steel's eye as he wryly moves through his life. I look forward to the second part of the story. Thank you to the publisher who provided me a preview copy of the graphic novel through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.#Superman #netgalley

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