Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Alex Maleev
Published by DC Comics
So far, Bendis’ mystery thriller, has been a slow burn of subtle twists and turns. The idea of the story promises a monumental conclusion to coincide with the reveal of Leviathan’s identity.
However, with four issues in, and two to go, it’s starting to feel like we’re being set up for disappointment. Superman appeared to aid Amanda Waller at the end of the last issue while confronting Leviathan in the process.
The fight that was teased in Action Comics over the past several months had finally arrived.
Only it didn’t.
Instead of a battle, the book opened with a room of demoralized detectives that can’t believe Superman got taken to the woodshed.
The result of the fight had been spoiled; however, the next few pages hyped how badly Superman got whopped.
When the moment came to reveal what happened, it was a poorly illustrated and executed kaleidoscope of power that hit the Man of Steel before he could even blink. There was no pain exhibited, and nothing that appeared to hurt Superman. +Yet, he was brought to his knees and needed time to recover. The one gem of enjoyment saw Damien Wayne eager to hear how Superman got beat up while everyone else is shook.
Lois Lane is pretty much the co-captain of the team of detectives helmed by Batman. She made a move of her own that brought about an unexpected reveal. The problem with what occurred with Lois is that with two issues left, it’s going to take a lot of explaining for it to make sense. It’s a good idea, but the execution could very well leave a lot to be desired.
Alex Maleev is money when it comes to illustrations that convey the eerie undertones of the narrative. This time around, we’re treated to a lackluster exhibition of muted colors and pale heroes who looked more cosplay than the genuine article. Superman looked anything but super, and the yellow s-shield on his cape came off as a yellow glob.
Brian Michael Bendis is praised as he is panned for his storytelling.
One aspect of his writing that is highly criticized is his penchant for heavy use of dialog in a visual medium. I’m all for a few extra words on the page, however, here, it’s a little too much. The narrative gets bogged down from too much exposition and recaps while the artwork gets few chances to shine and flounders when it’s time to do so. It’s a psychological thriller without the thrilling, which is a shame since this issue had so much promise going in.
There is a lot of ground to cover and a new plot point to explore with only two issues remaining. My optimism is starting to turn to pessimism, and I hope the next offering can change my mind.