This Action Comics adventure of Superman has screeched to a halt.
There is a threat on the streets of Metropolis and Superman has never noticed it before. There is an organization of street criminals that stay out of Superman’s gaze called the Invisible Mafia. After one of their own accidentally catches the attention of Superman, their leader begins cutting his losses by sending metahuman assassin, Red Cloud, to kill the members. Meanwhile, Clark and the new Daily Planet reporter Ms. Goode have been looking into this mafia from the outside. Clark tries to find the truth while Goode has secretly been working with the Invisible Mafia, but is soon taken off the assignment. By the end, we see that Goode wants insurance if she’ll be going against Superman. She wants Kryptonite.
**Some Spoilers Below**
We open our story with Goode heading to the Suicide Slums of Metropolis to go pick up kryptonite. She meets with Candy, who makes it very clear that she has to be careful with it. As expected, Kryptonite is one of the words that Superman tries to listen for, which Goode understands. The next day, she secretly takes it into the Daily Planet, and it affects Clark. While he can get away with explaining his reaction was merely something he ate, he realizes who had the radioactive stone. Instead of confronting her, however, Clark uses one of Superman’s best contacts to take the Kryptonite: Batman.
As I continue to read this story, it’s clear Bendis is missing what made the Superman stories of Rebirth great. While the Invisible Mafia is intriguing, last issue ended with Lois Lane and Superman coming face-to-face. Lois has been lying to Clark about her location for months at this point, leading us to believe something has gone wrong. We don’t get anything about that meeting here. If we weren’t going to learn why she is still here, why have her be included in the last issue? The Superman titles have always focused on the family and this needs to be addressed now.
Either include the family or keep them away until another story arc.
Besides that, the plot of this issue felt incredibly rushed and pointless. Goode getting Kryptonite appeared to be a major plot point last time, but by the end of this issue, it’s out of the picture. When you have Batman in your comic, it should be more than him stealing something. In one move, both the Batman cameo and the Kryptonite’s relevance was utterly wasted. The only major impact we had was the death of another Invisible Mafia member. As the issue ended, I was left with one question: What was the point of this chapter?
Despite the story’s flaws, the art is very well done. Yanick Paquette does a fantastic job illustrating this issue, especially during the Daily Planet scene. When Goode comes in with the Kryptonite, the panel style changes to be more curved and disorienting. This gives the reader the sick feeling of being affected by the Kryptonite as Superman does. The moment it leaves, the panels return to normal. It’s nice creative touches like that which almost saves rough issues such as this. Almost.
This story needs to come out more frequently or focus up if it wants to stay afloat. Nothing was accomplished in this issue, except for the phenomenal art. Any chance of story progress has either been pushed to the side. Something epic needs to happen next issue if they want to keep readers.