Volume 1 of the new Superman: Action Comics series is a brilliant lead-in to a new Superman saga, giving us an intense villain and a Metropolis whose problems are more than skin deep. All of the excitement of a solid Superman tale is here, coupled with top-notch artwork that catches the Man of Steel at his best. This feels like the start of an epic saga in the always-evolving world of Superman.
Superman: Action Comics Volume 1: Invisible Mafia
Story by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Patrick Gleason
The story has all of the elements you’d expect and a few that surprised me. We pick up from Phantom Earth as the world gets back into the normal groove of things. What starts as a pretty standard series of crimes morphs into something more, revealing a criminal element in the city that had remained hidden for decades. Their methods of evasion are pretty interesting, creating this new side of Metropolis that feels similar to a Batman conspiracy.
The beauty of Invisible Mafia is in the details. The fight scenes are surprisingly minimal, but the volume doesn’t suffer from it. Instead, we get to see the everyday workings of Superman on display. It’s more about his journalism and his sleuthing than fighting monsters from other worlds. Returning to those roots is a fun time and it’s a reminder that Superman’s fight for the good of the world requires plenty of work at home.
The artwork is stunning, as always. The main villain, Red Cloud, is rendered brilliantly, creating this terrifying element that fills the panels unexpectedly. I especially enjoyed the introductory pages of each volume, filled with tiny details and snippets of story.
Overall, Superman: Action Comics Volume 1: Invisible Mafia is a solid return to Superman’s city-saving roots, reminding us of the dangers lurking at home. The work is never over for Krypton’s finest, and I look forward to following this series along its well drawn path.
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.