COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Action Comics #1000! (Holy Crap!)

The landmark issue of Action Comics, featuring stories from A list talent important to Superman’s past, present and future! Big Blue has changed lives for 8 decades, and likely will until the end of time. Here’s to the last son of Krypton!

Title: Action Comics #1000
Credits:

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Publisher: DC Comics

What You Need to Know:

The man needs no introduction, The Last Son of Krypton, The Man of Tomorrow, The Man of Steel, Superman! For 80 years Superman has been one of the most famous fictional characters in the world, the epitome of superhuman perfection, Superman is gifted with a slew of superpowers and the moral high standing to use them for good!

It goes without saying that this massive landmark is a once in a lifetime moment, and we at Comic Watch decided to do the review as a collaboration, each review will be credited to the writer, enjoy!

REVIEW BY: Cody White

Action Comics #1000 – “For the City That Has Everything”
Release Date: April 18th, 2018
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Dan Jurgens
Inker: Norm Rapmund
Colors: HI-FI
Letters: Rob Leigh
Based on the DC Comics Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Let me lead off with the fact that Dan Jurgen’s Superman is my generation’s Superman. When I think about Superman stories from my childhood and adolescence, nine times out of ten Jurgens was behind those tales. Reading “For the City That Has Everything” was like bumping into a friend you hadn’t seen for years and picking up right where you left off. I realize that Jurgens has been writing Superman books of late, but in this kick-off story to the Action Comics anniversary, there is something embedded in the writing that makes me feel like a kid again, in the best way possible.

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The story begins with an unsynchronized narrative. Clark is off having an adventure in space while Lois and Jon dominate the textual narrative. It is revealed that Clark is stalling his arrival to a Superman Day celebration by fighting off a Khundian invasion.

Why would Clark be so actively avoiding the celebration? Because that is the type of hero he is—modest, humble, human. As Clark watches story after story of not only his own heroism but his ability to inspire the people of Metropolis to become their own heroes, he continues to catch fading glimpses of crisis impending, only to be “mistaken.” As the joke plays out, it turns out the Justice League and other heroes are handling the invasion and purposely hiding it from Clark to make him attend the celebration. The moment that Clark realizes that something is amiss, he does what he always does—up, up, and away to handle the threat. When he is clued into the plot, he returns to enjoy his celebration.

Among the testimonials is an extended story about a young criminal caught in a cycle of imprisonment and poverty that felt particularly noteworthy as a beautiful example of what the spirit of Superman represents (panels below).

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As for the gesture by the other heroes, I can’t help but be reminded of another Dan Jurgens story from the early 1990s. Superman #76 was the fourth chapter in the “Funeral for a Friend” story-arc that immediately followed Superman’s death. In this issue, many members of the Justice League grieve his death by gathering to read his fan mail. Many of the letters feature requests or thanks, things like rebuilding a home that was destroyed by Doomsday and the like (I wish I had the issue in front of me right now, but I’m also glad because it makes me cry every time I read it, and I’m not in the mood to cry right now). The essence of the issue is that in order to fill the bright red go-go boots Superman left behind, only the entire League banding together could even make the attempt. But still, they tried, because that is what Superman does: he inspires us to be our best selves.

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Rating: 9/10

Final Thought: Tried to avoid getting emotional. Failed.

REVIEW BY: Rob Fisher

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez
Publisher: DC Comics

What You Need to Know:

On the way home from his nightly patrol, Superman is whisked away by Vandal Savage and finds himself in the villain’s underground layer, where the “immortal” reveals his clever plan.

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Savage has weaponized Hypertime and has trapped Superman in a never-ending loop of yesterdays. By taking him outside history, Vandal has neutralized the Man of Steel.

What You Will Find Out: Told by Clark after the fact, the story follows the Man of Steel trying to escape Vandal Savage. The immortal has strapped Superman to a device that would destroy him by using Hypertime. His goal is to undue Clark by removing him from all that he holds dear and trapping him in the past.

As the machine is activated Superman finds himself transported into the body of his 1940s self. He is exhilarated as he relishes the pure simplicity of saving people in need. He thrills to the chatter of submachine guns. Fighting in World War II, he is seduced by the simple morality of good and evil.

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Suddenly, he recognizes that longing for a simpler time is merely a distraction for the Golden Age is actually a trap. As he battles across a multitude of past realities, he finds the strength to fight his way back to the present.

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What Just Happened:

“Never-Ending Battle” shows Superman finding a path back home. As he fights his way to the present, he jumps into various unfamiliar versions of himself.

The entire tale is a look back at the long history of Superman. From stopping trains to facing alien tyrants, the story is full of nostalgia for any fan of the Man of Steel.

Rating: 8.5/10

Final Thought:

The highlight of the story is the artwork. Patrick Gleason’s illustrating is fantastic. The only problem is the long voice-over. Up until the final page of the story, the Man of Steel himself is the only one talking! It’s all good – it just gets a little long.

Although this story may not be as exciting as some of the others in the issue, it’s a great tribute to Superman and his entire 80 years publication history.

REVIEW BY: John Jack

Title: An Enemy Within
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Art: Curt Swan
Inks: Butch Guice & Kurt Schaffenberger
Color: Hi-fi
Letters: Rob Leigh

What You’ll Find Out:

We open on Police Captain Maggie Sawyer handling a hostage situation while Superman is in Japan fighting Braniac’s drones, a school principal is holding his students hostage with a gun. A voiceover informs us Superman is aware, but busy with the robots. Luckily he has faith in the people of earth being good.

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The principal seems dazed, speaking strangely, he mentions sounds and Superman tunes in to discover a hidden frequency, Braniac’s drones are connected to this hostage situation! The police are forced to act, and the principal is hit before Superman can stop the signal, luckily they’re rubber bullets, and he’ll be fine, Superman stops the signal a second later. Thanks to human compassion, the man didn’t end his days in front of that school.

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What Just Happened?

Thought this story was pretty cool, I’m a big fan of the Curt Swan era of Superman (mid 60’s through the late 70’s) and it was nice to see a “new” story by the artist, who died 20 years ago. That said, I don’t think I care for this retooling old art and sketches to make new stories attributed to long-dead creators trend, which was also employed in a certain recent Captain America issue as well.

The story does carry a bit of emotional gravitas, which is nice, I like the idea of Superman being confident in Sawyer to do the right thing, and it’s always nice to read a story highlighting his background cast.

Rating: 8/10

Final Thought:

Decent story, hard to say where it rates, in concept the very existence bothers me, but nostalgia makes it hard. I guess I’ll call it forgivable, for now.

REVIEW BY: John Jack

Title: The Car
Writer: Geoff Johns & Richard Donner
Art: Olivier Coipel
Colors: Alexandro Sanchez
Letters: Nick Napolitano

What You’ll Find Out:

We open on a mechanic working on a smashed car, which is strangely familiar looking… They ask the customer what he could’ve hit to destroy the car in such a way, he responds that he hit a man wearing red underwear, who then hung him off a telephone pole. They tell him to lay off the sauce, he asks for a ride and they tell him to walk.

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As the mans walks dejectedly down the road, he looks up and sees a bird, then a plane, then Superman! Superman asks the man if he should’ve hung him higher, he tells him he has two choices in life, to fix the problems in his life, or to give up, the choice is his. The story ends with The man standing next to his fixed car, apparently having turned his life around, although technically he’s breaking the law in the last panel!

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What Just Happened?

This is the story that I liked the best, great message, interesting subject matter, and a phenomenal rendering of the golden age Superman’s look. The art in this story is among the best in the book, I love it!

Rating: 10/10

Final Thought: If the entire book was like this, it would be perfection, but the perfect comic doesn’t exist, probably.

REVIEW BY: Austin Braun

REVIEW: Action Comics #1000 (The Fifth Season)

What happens when Superman and his mortal enemy, Lex Luthor, end up in a room
together. Sometimes they fight, sometimes they talk but they almost never see eye to
eye. Witness the complex relationship between one of comics oldest rivalries within the
pivotal issue of Action Comics #1000!

Action Comics #1000
Author: Scott Snyder
Artists: Rafael Albuquerque
Colors: Dave McCaig
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Publisher: DC Comics

What You Need to Know:

Everyone who is anyone in the DC universe knows who Lex Luthor is right? And we as readers of DC Comics also know quite a bit about him even if he isn’t our favorite villain.
He’s a genius, a philanthropist, a business icon… But most importantly he is Superman’s arch enemy!

What You’ll Find Out:

In this five-page story by Scott Snyder, we see the depth of Superman and Luthor’s relationship. We begin with the dark raw art from Albuquerque as Lex phases in from the darkness. Lex looks calm and collective as Superman enters looking frustrated with him. Superman asks him why he is here when we learn that Lex and Superman are standing in the Smallville Planetarium. Lex has stolen two cosmic items that when used properly together could erase a strip of time right from existence. Lex excuses this theory by stating he is simply using the items for stargazing. Everyone knows that this isn’t the truth as Lex goes on to talk about the past relationship he had with the Planetarium. He talks of the few weeks between Winter and Spring that Smallville calls its “Fifth Season”. He explains that due to the randomness of the weather during this time his parents were more abusive and this is where he found solace. Lex wanted a
savior from the gods so he took a laser he created as a project and went to send a message the to heavens. He reminds himself that he had even made a mistake when sending the message…

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Lex had forgotten to heat the Nitrogen and said he had just gotten lucky when he sent the message. The reader finds out that Clark had actually heated up the Nitrogen with his heat vision right prior to sending it off. This just shows that Lex had a savior the whole time, but always sought to destroy him instead of giving gratitude towards him. The two stand there looking at the story of the universe pass them by as Lex admits he had retrieved the items in order to kill Superman. Superman admits he knew that all along and goes to say something else as Lex succeeds in his mission and wipes the memory of Superman from existence mid-sentence.

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What Just Happened?

This incredible study of Superman and Lex Luthor’s relationship was an amazing addition to an already amazing issue all about the first and best superhero. This is actually the only Lex-centric story within all AC #1000 and for good reason. Through the years the two have met and fought hundreds if not thousands of times… but this time all they do is talk. They talk about the past and what its connection with the present is. Scott does an amazing job humanizing Luthor and at one point you almost want to believe he is truly just there to stargaze.

Albuquerque and McCaig’s raw art fits perfectly with this story. The thick line work from
Albuquerque made this part of the issue as dark as necessary for the events going on and no matter how sad the Tom King story may have been… the thought of Lex succeeding in this mission would make any Superman fan cry. Even with no action, the cosmic story happening in the background made for some stunning scenery. Superman had a very authentic look to him that reminded me of his post-crisis look which makes sense seeing as how we see many different variations of the character through the stories in AC #1000.

Rating: 9.5/10

Final Thoughts:

Although this story was a little confusing… Snyder really knocked this
five-page short out of the park. From Lex’s calm demeanor to the fact that Clark actually saved Lex as a child, Snyder and Albuquerque made this the highlight of AC #1000 for me personally as Lex and Superman have always been one my favorite rivalries in comics. Definitely, check this story out if you are a fan of Snyder and his gloomy presence… or if you just want to read a short but awesome Superman/Lex Luthor story

REVIEW BY: Ross Hutchinson

Writer Tom King and artist Clay Mann bring us a solitary and winsome moment in the future of the man of steel at the end of earth’s days.

ACTION COMICS #1000 (Of Tomorrow)
Authors: Tom King
Artists: Clay Mann
Inkers: Clay Mann
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: John Workman
Publisher: DC Comics

What You Need to Know:

Superman has come on what has become a regular pilgrimage to the abandoned and dying planet that was once humanity’s home to pay respects and remember the adoptive parents that raised him and in no small way helped shaped the man he grew up to be.

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What You’ll Find Out:

As the Earth is in its final death throws Superman talks to his long-dead adoptive parents letting them know what life is like now so far in the future, that there is still always someone to help, there are still wars and that Lois is still alive even 4 billion years after earth has been abandoned, kept alive by something called the eternity formula. He goes on to explain that Jon (Jonathan Kent) has grown up to be someone that the last full-blooded Kryptonian is proud of all while the earth continues to break and crack apart around him.

It is to be his final visit as we find out the earth will soon be obliterated under the pressure of the dying sun and that even though he could alter the dying planets fate he has chosen not to and that this is his last visit to the planet that was his adopted home and he has made the journey to say a final goodbye. there is a nice philosophical moment where he voices out loud that maybe he has wasted his time visiting the dying planet over the millenia and recounts how Pa Kent once told him that science, myth, and religion are all the same and that we are all just stardust waiting to be reclaimed by the universe… he carves a small statue, of himself as boy with the two loving human beings that guided him and shaped him, out of earth he has compressed to diamond, shaped with his heat vision and places it on the ground next to a plaque he has made in memorium of them and bids them farewell and thank you as he heads up up and away from the Earth for the last time.

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What Just Happened?

Tom King confirms his status once again as ]one of the best writers in comics today by writing a monologue piece for the man of steel that is powerful, poignant and poetic right down to the odd stutter of grief in Superman’s soliloquy. The melancholy of the moment is perfectly accentuated by Mann’s understated art style. The fact that we see a Superman that does not appear to have aged and seems to still be in his physical peak more than 4 billion years in the future seems to answer the question of whether Superman is immortal or not in the affirmative.

Rating: 8/10

Final Thoughts:

A worthy vignette in the legacy of the Man of Steel and though it is a wistful piece, it also carries an underlying sense of hope and sense of continuity that the Superman will always be there to protect his larger adopted family of humanity long after the earth has breathed its last.

REVIEW BY: Cody White

Action Comics #1000 – “Faster than a Speeding Bullet”
Release Date: April 18th, 2018
Writer: Brad Meltzer
Artist: John Cassaday
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Chris Euopoulos
Based on the DC Comics Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

“Faster than a Speeding Bullet” manages to take a mere five pages to capture the spirit of Superman in one of the most clear-cut and concise ways I’ve read in nearly thirty years of reading the character.

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In the story, Superman speeds to a hostage situation with the “scariest villain of all” – a desperate man with three strikes and nothing to lose. As the man holds the gun to a young woman’s head, Kal runs down the situation in his head only to realize that, even with all his myriad powers, the laws of math and physics are against him. He will not make it to the scene in time to stop the bullet.

At that moment, dear readers, we see what makes a man a Superman. He does not panic. He does not despair. He doesn’t even push harder, because he’s always pushing as hard as he can. No, he merely continues on, ever forward, and hopes for the best. And then it hits him. The young woman, held at gunpoint, facing certain death, fights back. She buys the fraction of a second necessary for Superman to arrive and save the day.

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At the heart of many Superman debates over the ages lies the notion that Superman, for all his strength and abilities, is detrimental to the human race because he supplies too wide a safety net. The citizens of Metropolis are frequently argued to be more haphazard than others because they are confident that Superman will deliver them unto salvation. Meltzer, a consummate humanist if ever I’ve seen one, turns the argument on its head, showing Lila as taking control of her own life. She has an agency of her own, unlike the typical characterization of the citizens of Metropolis, and in the final voiceover sequence, Lois points to this agency as the essence of hope that keeps Superman on the mission.

Also of note in this beautiful tale is the use of a cinematic style of artistic narrative that John Cassaday provides. In many ways, this story is a micro-scale narrative that highlights a few moments in the life of Kal, yet the deployment of “wide-screen” panels and splash pages by the former film student from Texas creates a sense of gravitas, of grandiosity. Cassaday’s rhythm helps to elevate Meltzer’s humanism, and together the pair (along Martin and Euopoulos, who should not be neglected for their roles in creating this masterpiece) manage to raise the minutia of the every day in the life of Superman into a celebration of human spirit and the importance of living in the present.

Rating: 10/10

Final Thought:

I suspected when it was announced that the combination of Meltzer and Cassaday would be a perfect pairing, and I was not let down. I can only hope that powers that be at DC take notice because the potential for future team-ups between what I consider two top-talent individuals is simply too good to pass up.


Final, Final Thought: (See Below)

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Final Rating: 9.5/10

Final, Final Thought: (See Below)

Phenomenal milestone in the history of the Man of Steel, I’m touched that I was a part of it, and the more I think about it the happier I am, here’s to Superman, I hope he goes another thousand issues, if I’m still alive in 2098 when it happens I’ll probably review it then too. Joking. Anyway, a huge thanks to everyone who worked to make this article, and the hundreds of creators involved in the hero over the years.


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