Action Comics #1000 (June, 2018)
“From the City that Has Everything”
“An Enemy Within”
“The Fifth Season”
“Faster Than a Speeding Bullet”
Writers – Dan Jurgens, Peter J. Tomasi, Marv Wolfman, Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Louise Simonson, Paul Dini, Brad Meltzer & Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils – Dan Jurgens, Patrick Gleason, Curt Swan, Olivier Coipel, Rafael Albuquerque, Clay Mann, Jerry Ordway, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, John Cassaday & Jim Lee
Inks – Norm Rapmund, Butch Guice, Kurt Schaffenberger, Kevin Nowlan & Scott Williams
Colors – Hi-Fi, Alejandro Sanchez, Dave McCaig, Jordie Bellaire, Laura Martin & Alex Sinclair
Letters – Rob Leigh, Tom Napolitano, Nick Napolitano, John Workman, Carlos M. Mangual, Josh Reed, Chris Eliopoulo and Cory Petit
Assistant Editor – Andrea Shea
Associate Editor – Jessica Chen
Editors – Paul Kaminski & Mike Cotton
Group Editor – Brian Cunningham
Cover Price: $7.99
Hey everybody… welcome to the, ahem, ONE-THOUSANDTH DAILY DISCUSSION here at Chris is on Infinite Earths. Can you believe we’ve been talking about comics here every-single-day since January 30, 2016?!
I sure can’t!
I’ll save the personal beats for the “down below”, but we’ve got a long issue to discuss today, so… just in case my normally dazzling writing doesn’t hold your interest the whole way through, I’ll drop a THANK YOU up here in the pre-ramble. It’s been a heckuva ride to this point, I couldn’t have stuck with this without kind folks popping in from time to time and giving a wink, thumbs-up, and pat on the back.
Today we’re going to be talking about… well, really the only comic book we can discuss when it comes to discussing “one-thousandths”, and that is the semi-recent Action Comics #1000. Full disclosure… knowing that this blog milestone was on the horizon, I purposely did not read this issue cover-to-cover until quite recently. I wanted to come into this one “fresh”… and seeing as though it’s an anthology, I figured (outside of the Bendis story) nothing was going to be all that “time sensitive”.
Though, since this issue is new-ish, it’s not going to be quite as in-depth as a normal post here. I don’t want to risk ruining the entire thing for folks who might decide to pick it up.
Anyhoo, let’s get right to it.
Our first story opens with Superman sending some Khunds packing out in deep space. This happens to be going down on Metropolis’ Superman Day, where, one would assume he would be the guest of honor. Down on Earth, Jon is a bit nervous that his father won’t show up in time… Lois, however, has no doubt. Sure enough, Clark arrives just as the festivities are about to kick off.
Metropolis Mayor Barnes addresses the crowd, telling them what today is all about. While she speaks, Clark is distracted… he keeps using his telescopic vision to see if the Khunds have followed him home. While this is going on, Lois is on the phone with Perry.
One by one, folks take the stage and share their experience being saved or aided in some way by Superman. It’s really this scene that that makes the entire story. It’s something we might not think about much, and honestly, I don’t think we’re supposed to… but, for Superman, saving a person is just “anther day at work”, for that person however, it’s a life-changing experience!
A man named Benning takes the stage… a reformed criminal. Jon balks at the idea of a “bad guy” celebrating Superman Day. Clark tells him to calm down, as the fella shares his story about how Superman’s patience and kindness led him down a much better road in life. Worth noting, this Benning mentions how low-level criminals were often used by the big names as a distraction… another neat little detail, that we might not think about all that often!
Then, Perry White takes the stage… but, waitasec, isn’t Lois on the phone with “Perry”? At this point, Superman knows something’s up. He “supes up” and heads out… thrilling the crowd when they notice that he actually showed up. In the skies above Metropolis, he runs into Wonder Woman, who informs him that the Khundian threat has been neutralized. Ya see, Lois was really on the phone with Clark’s associates in the League, asking them for a hand so he could enjoy his day.
And we learn that it wasn’t only the League that came to help… it was damn near the entire superhero community… including, Deathstroke the Terminator? Well, that can’t be right…
Our next chapter features Superman telling a story about having battled Vandal Savage… during the fight, he is sent back in time… to the 1930’s. This whole tale provides a really neat opportunity to viably depict Superman in each of his eras/ages. These are all (beautiful) full-page spreads which we spend the first few of in the Golden-Age.
From there, into the more sci-fi and fantastical Silver-Age.
Straight through the Bronze-Age, and into the Grim and Gritty Dark Knight Returns era.
Into the post-Crisis, and the Death and Return.
Skipping past today, and jumping right into Kingdom Come!
At this point in the story, Lois and Jon are becoming rather bored… and insist that Superman stop yammering and just blow out his candles. Happy Birthday, Superman! And yeah, there are eighty candles on the cake!
Our third chapter is a shorter piece, which opens with Maggie Sawyer trying to convince a man to release a hostage. This fella, Mr. Davis, claims that there are voices in his head telling him to do bad things.
Even Mrs. Davis shows up to try and talk her husband down. In a weird bit, he shouts back that it’s too late for him… the voices won’t let him fight back. At the same time, however, he actually does release the hostage. I dunno, maybe I missed something. Davis is then shot with a rubber bullet.
Turns out Davis was being controlled… by Brainiac. Superman narrates, claiming that Davis was able to fight off the suggestion… and we can see that this will be a constant struggle. It’s really all about the power of humanity… and it kinda just ends. Really anticlimactic.
Chapter Four features a man having his car repaired. Upon checking out the damage, the mechanic wonders if he’d hit an elephant. The man corrects him, he actually hit a man… wearing red underwear (c’mon, you’re better than that, Geoff) who later hung him up on a telephone pole.
The mechanic continues to survey the wrecked rig, and more or less tells the goof that it’s totaled. As he walks home, he runs into the same “elephant” he hit the night before. They talk… and basically, Superman tells him to stop being a jerk. The story ends with the fella deciding to “fix” his life… by soaking some children with a fire hydrant. I think you can get fined for that… possibly added to a watch list too.
Our next chapter takes place at the Smallville Planetarium. Superman has found Lex Luthor, who himself, has found a few odd bits… the Eye of Xotar and the Time Scissors of Chronos. These things have the power to excise an entire genealogical line out of existence. Lex kinda shrugs off Superman’s accusations that he might use these to finally take him out.
Instead, he talks about Smallville’s propensity for having a “fifth season” every year, coming between Winter and Spring. He says that’s when his father would be most ruthless… and as such, when he himself would spend most of his time at the Planetarium as sort of a sanctuary.
During one of these times, he tried sending an S.O.S. into space using the Planetarium’s telescope. He nearly perished in the attempt… having forgotten to heat up the nitrogen he used. Lucky for him, young Clark Kent was there to give the assist.
Lex then comes clean… he did fetch the artifacts in order to kill Superman. And get this, he does just that! What’s more, the story ends with both of them vanishing. I guess without young Clark there to heat the Nitro… Lex wouldn’t make it to adulthood himself.
Next story features Superman in the far-flung future… and I mean faaaar-flung future. He is visiting… well, I’ll bury the lead here because it’s pretty obvious from the get-go, he’s visiting the graves of his parents for the five billionth time (his words).
It’s also the last time… because everything is about to end. We learn that by drinking something called “eternity formula” Lois has been able to remain at his side for all these years… and Jon’s still kickin’ around as well. The short story ends with everything being engulfed. Not sure if these panels are the “end” for Superman, though, if it is… I’m not sure why he’s at his parents’ grave instead of with his wife and son.
Next up, Perry White gives Clark five minutes to write up a story about House Corruption. While he’s ranting and raving, Clark is distracted, his super-hearing has picked up some nearby distress. A train looks to be going too fast to take a curve.
After “suping up”, the day is saved. Then, our old friend Bibbo is almost mugged by some geeks as he nonchalantly carries a bag of cash down a Hob’s Bay street. Superman saves him as well.
Then, some space junk threatens to hit the Earth. Superman takes to (further up in) the skies, and busts it into more fun-sized debris.
He rushes back to the Daily Planet to type up his story… only to have Perry put it on the back-burner, so Clark can write about the story of Superman saving that train from derailment. Wonk wonk.
Next, we’re off to Action Land… which gives me a similar vibe to that Superman Pavilion we talked about… yeesh, FIVE-HUNDRED DAYS AGO. That’s half this site’s life ago! Anyhoo, we’re being given a tour by a woman named Gspie… or, Ms. Gsptlsnz, if you prefer.
She takes some park-patrons on a tour of Superman’s life history, including his arrival on the Kent farm! From there, we get his association with other heroes of the DC Universe (not including the Legion of Super-Heroes, by the way), and even meet some of his rogues gallery (with an homage to the cover of a Bronze Age issue for good measure).
She then goes into spinning a yarn about Superman’s final battle… with his greatest foe, Mr. Mxyzptlk… whiiiiich, kinda peters out. Ya see, Mxy can’t commit to an ending for this story… there are just too many options.
Our next story opens in a subway… where a man has a woman held at gunpoint. Basically, over the next six pages, we learn that Superman is… in fact… faster than a speeding bullet. It may seem like a cop-out, but there’s really not much more to say about it. We’ll expound a bit more about this kinda thing in the “below”.
Our final story, is kind of the “main event” of the issue. It’s Brian Michael Bendis’ long-awaited debut… and it opens with a bang. Superman is sent careening through the LexCorp building before slamming into the street below.
He then bounces into what looks like a seafood restaurant. A couple of women try and drag him away to safety, but find he’s wayyy too heavy. At this point, the new beast on the block shows up! Also, we get the first cute remark about the “red shorts”.
Before the monster can lay into Superman, Supergirl shows up! She proceeds to pound away on the beastie, but it’s rather ineffective.
Inside, Superman pulls himself to his feet… amid more cute remarks about the “red shorts”. He is attacked once more by the monster, who finally introduces himself as Rogol Zaar… what’s more, he claims to be responsible for the destruction of Krypton!
Okay, I’m going to break one of my own rules here. I usually hate it when people start a sentence with “Am I the only one…?” or it’s cousin, “Is it just me…?”, but… am I the only one kinda done with the “Anniversary Anthology”?! I mean, I understand why they do it… but, I just can’t get excited for it. There are only so many times I can read a “love letter” to a character before I just wanna get on with a story.
Perhaps that’s unfair of me to say… I have read probably more than my fair share of milestone/anniversary issues, so maybe my “fatigue” isn’t indicative of everyone else’s. I’ll concede that that very well might be the case.
That said… whatta we got here?
Well, it’s… definitely a lot of “love letters”. And again, I get why they do this. I’d imagine creators were lining up for the opportunity to take part in this landmark issue… and, “anthological” love-letter stories is probably the best way to make them all fit.
If it were me though, and “love letter” was the route we were going, I’d have simply expanded upon the Tomasi/Gleason “Superman through the Ages” story, and shoved as many creators as possible in there. I feel like that story was the strongest part of this package… and really made it feel like something special. Everything else… and I hate to say it, kinda felt like back-ups that would’ve been stuffed in an Annual to eat up pages or something.
That’s not to say any of them were bad, because they weren’t… they just didn’t say “Action Comics One-Thousand” to me. I mean, let’s look at the “Faster than a Speeding Bullet” piece… was that really necessary? Six pages to prove that Superman is… faster than a speeding bullet? Do we still find that sort of thing clever? Again, it wasn’t bad (and the Cassaday art was wonderful), but… Why?! It ate up pages, that.. I’d have spent fleshing out that Tomasi/Gleason story, popping Superman into six more eras/ages.
And again… I know why they did it this way. I just wish they hadn’t. Then again, I’m a bit of an odd duck, so it’s quite possible you’re all rolling your eyes at me right now. The issue is worth checking out if for no other reason than the novelty of owning a (legitimate-ish) one-thousandth issue. Despite my crowing, it’s clear that the creators involved do have an affection and respect for the character, which is something I definitely can’t balk at. I wish we had some more nods to folks like Cary Bates, Elliot S! Maggin, Roger Stern and John Byrne in here… but, whattayagonnado? For your convenience, this issue is available digitally… and even has a “Deluxe Edition”.
And there ya have it. One-Thousand Consecutive Days… Tens of Thousands of Images… over a Million words. Not a bad little “body of work” for a fella who was just trying to overcome some academic writer’s block back in January, 2016. Worth mentioning, I recently discussed the “genesis” of this site on the podcast feed. If you’re interested, please feel free to check it out here:
It’s been an unexpected pleasure to be able to share so much of what I’m passionate about… this blog has afforded me the opportunity to broaden my horizons, overcome some fears, and meet some really great people.
I’m going to level with you though… it isn’t always easy. I think I have it in my head where “milestones” actually mean something. That might actually be because of comics… growing up in the 80’s/90’s… milestones were usually covered in sparkly-stuff, portraying them with a measure of ceremony and novelty.
I’ve approached every milestone here similarly. I try and pick out something “special”… and, when I finish typing, it’s almost like I expect trumpets to play and confetti to rain from the ceiling. But, it’s never really that way, is it? It’s just me, leaning back from my kitchen island and exhaling… for about a minute, before beginning to plan what’s next.
Which, hey, is a pretty good segue to… What’s next?
Ya see, that’s a difficult question… because, honestly… I don’t know. I’ll come right out and say it… if it isn’t eye-meltingly obvious, I have an addictive personality. The idea of breaking the streak… kinda gives me hives. I’ve actually lost a great deal of sleep in the past couple of weeks trying to figure out what comes after today. And here I sit… still, without an answer!
I guess we’ll just play it by ear.
I want to thank everybody who has popped in from time to time… reached out, said “hi”, “liked” and/or shared these posts on social media. That’s another thing that has been challenging, especially with these last hundred or so posts. Folks have reached out to me of late to let me know they hadn’t seen any of my tweets in weeks (that almost rhymes).
So, with Twitter “burying” my tweets, as well as the sheer amount of content that comes from our little corner of the internet, the sad reality is… if I’m out of sight, I’m out of mind. I can’t expect folks to keep up this site when there are so many others out there, if they don’t see my spam… er, “heads up” tweets.
I think I’ve probably said everything I want to say for this one. Once again, thank you to everybody… as cliche as it may sound, there’s no way I’d have stuck with this for 1000 days if not for the support and friendship of the community. It means the world to me.
|C’mon, couldn’t even edit it to say “Bendis is Here”?!|