Superman: Action Comics Vol. 1: Invisible Mafia

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 09 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

ARC from Netgalley.
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?
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Clark Kent gets some good news - Lois is back, but off writing a book. And while Superman is trying to track down a mysterious Red Cloud killing gangsters, the Daily Planet is being bought. What will that do to the storyline and poor Clark Kent and the rest of the reporters. I enjoyed this title more because it was Superman and Clark Kent focused and had a sneaky plot line with a twisted ending.
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The comic has nice artwork,. It's great for fans of the current run and the writer. Some might find it confusing if they're just starting from this issue. But there is great world building. It has a very interesting sub-,plot and is overall a good read.
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I've tried. I've tried so hard. But, this just isn't my Superman.

We sorta get a finish to the fires thing, but, I felt that fell totally flat. And then there's a bunch of new stuff including a new bad guy (I think) called Red Cloud.

And then there's the stuff with Lois. That felt totally and utterly off. Actually, a good portion of the TPB just didn't feel right. Perry, Jimmy, even just seeing Lex on the page, it all seemed just slightly wrong.

Will I keep reading the series. Yeah, probably, I'm eternally optimistic when it comes to books, which, sometimes isn't a good thing. But, I have loved Superman longer, so much longer than Bendis has been writing him, so, I'm gonna tough it out, see where these stories go probably.

I received this book via Netgalley thanks to DC Entertainment.
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Bendis's Man of Steel mini-series was fine, but I didn't need another re-imagining of Superman's origin. This volume, however, is more along the lines of what I was expecting from Bendis at DC. We get a Superman who is upstanding and empathetic, willing to talk first instead of leading with his fists. We get a Clark Kent who is good at his job (he can even go undercover for a story if needed!) and misses his wife. (I didn't love Lois's dialogue, though; called Clark "baby" too many times.) We get a new, interesting villain and a mystery that will propel the story into the next volume. Overall a promising take on Superman!
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I’m not sure where exactly to start with this one. The artwork was good. But the story itself left me feeling very bored and tired. And confused? I have no idea what even happened in this. And the “plot twists” were really predictable, in my opinion, and so the story was pretty bland. I’ve read a lot of comics in the past. Superman is alright but I always liked him a lot less than other superheroes. I think the author captured the characters well enough but the dialogue could be a lot better. As I said, I was very bored, but maybe other people would like this more than I did. If I’m being completely honest Batman was the only thing that I liked about this. And it’s a Superman comic. I’ll still read the next installment if only to figure out what exactly is going on. I would probably rate this one a 2.5 out of 5. It’s not boring enough for a two but not exciting enough for a three. But since we can’t do half stars I will still rate this a 3. It wasn’t a total wash. But hopefully the next one is better.
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Brian Michael Bendis’ Superman: Action Comics Vol. 1: Invisible Mafia is a superhero-tinged but largely down-to-earth workplace drama, akin in ways to Gotham Central or even TV’s ye olde Lois & Clark. Bendis' Superman and Action Comics titles are excellent complements, offering together just about everything one could want from a Superman story. 

Add to that quite fine art by a trio of DC’s talents, and at the end of "round 1" I think the Brian Michael Bendis’ Superman era is off to a good start. Patrick Gleason looks as good as he ever has here, still recognizably Gleason but with a style that looks more mature and less animated. Alejandro Sanchez adds considerably with the colors and the effects on those chapters. Later chapters are by Yanick Paquette and Ryan Sook; Gleason appears close enough to them as to make the book visually cohesive, a rare but pleasant thing with three different artists.

This is the kind of Superman comics I like, not to mention that it seems like Superman and Action will finally be front and center of DC's next big crossover. That's as it should be; I think things are looking up for the Man of Steel.
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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.
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I really enjoyed Superman Invisible Mafia. There was a new organization that had dastardly plans for the city. A string of fires hit the city, and it is unclear what caused them. Turns out a new foes has come to Metropolis, and they are unlike anything this hero has faced before. Taking them down won’t be easy, and even he isn’t sure where to begin. If you are a fan of Superman then this is a graphic novel you will want to read.
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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!
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This Superman story focuses a lot more on Clark Kent as an investigative journalist. He is trying to find out what is behind a stream of arson in the city. I found this story particularly engaging, because we see Superman being a hero while also trying to balance his professional and personal life. I would recommend this as a good starting point to anyone interested in reading more about Superman, because it is easy to follow as well as well-written and engaging.
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Superman: Action Comics vol 1: Invisible Mafia 
by Brian Michael Bendis & Patrick Gleason
DC Comics, Action Comics #1001-1006
Pub Date April 9, 2019

I don't usually do personal reviews, but I love Superman! He is the icon of all icons in the Superhero genre. Since his inception during WWII, he has been a symbol of Hope & Compassion.  Truth, Justice & the American Way (or perhaps American Dream is more accurate).

I also love the writing of Brian Michael Bendis from his dark noir to his dark Powers series, to his dark take on Marvel icons and creation of dark characters like Jessica Jones in Alias.  The repeated word here is DARK!  What that man did to Daredevil and the Avengers was really good reading but DANG! was it DARK! (I also have a better vocabulary than just dark but when the Shadow Fits....)

Was I worried with what he would do to my beloved symbol for all that is good after his Man of Steel mini-series that kicked off his official run on Action and Superman? yes and no.  Bendis understands the light of Superman and why it is as important today in our topsy turvy current politically charged world as it was in the second Big War.  His re-write of Krypton reflects that clearly.  Action, however, is not The Big World or even Bigger Universe Book. 

Action is Metropolis: both the seemy underworld and the Supes-positive, protected upper.  In the everyday world of Metropolis, Superman cannot always get at the Truth.  He's just too big.  No, the Truth in this story is for the investigative reporter, Clark Kent, to uncover.  And yes, when I say that I love Superman, that also means his meeker, where's the fainting couch, Clark side.  Bendis  understands that Clark, in his limited, more human way, is as much a part of the icon as Big Blue.  

Of all the favorite writes and re-writes of the DCU, the family stories of Supes in his marriage to Lois and son, Jon are my favorite.  They are his strength and his weakness, just as much as his compassion is.  They are the Kansas boy achieving his American Dream! Bendis knows this, so at the end of Man of Steel, he takes our Hero's family away.  No, he doesn't kill them - Bendis is Dark but not deranged.

Action vol 1: Invisible Mafia is about what Loneliness does to Hope.  It is about what makes a family Normal, and if normal applies to anyone, much less the most powerful person on Earth.  By focusing on Clark, we can see the vulnerability that glasses can't hide.  What is Clark without his wife and child?  When Gossip takes form and shoots arrows at fidelity, how does Clark bend?  This book gets personal!

On the less personal side, we get the ingenuity of people, albeit bad people, still trying to do crime in a city blanketed by a big red cape.  The Invisible Mafia is a new villain, even  though it is an entire shadow organization.  It has existed for years under Superman's unknowing gaze.  It has learned to work around his estimable powers.  It's possible that even Lex Luthor does not know about it.  

Yes, Lex shows up, but not as the BIG BAD VILLAIN that he is in EVERY MOVIE, but in a more subtle and directed hit at Clark.  

Can't do a comic review without mentioning the art - and this is art worthy of our Icon!  Lots of dramatic Splash pages! Lots of alternate covers included.  Make sure to study everyone's desk for Easter eggs and story furthering notes and just well , the obvious fun the creative team had in setting up each one.  Bendis is always heavy on snappy dialogue and character driven plots but the art also tells a big part of this story, so take the time and don't miss what makes the graphic medium so awesome!
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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.

Overall, it's 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. 

Full review on 4/9/19: https://reviewsandrobots.com/2019/04/09/superman-invisible-mafia-book-review
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Thank you NetGalley and Publisher for this early copy!

I'm not typically a DC or any superhero comic reader but this one might have changed that! It was well-written, thrilling, and the art was amazing. I loved the Lois/Clark parts and wanted more of them.
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The art work was beautiful and made the whole story come to life.  I love how this story line has moved on since the early Superman comics that came out when I was a child.  I never dreamed that Clark and Lois would actually get together and have a child.  Wonderful in every way
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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.
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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.
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Bendis is a first-rate storyteller, and while I'm super sad that he's left Marvel I'm not disappointed with his new runs. This feels fresh, especially the relationship between Lois and Clark.
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