cover image Superman Action Comics, Vol. 1: Invisible Mafia

Superman Action Comics, Vol. 1: Invisible Mafia

Brian Michael Bendis et al. DC, $24.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-4012-8872-3

The Man of Tomorrow again flies high in this promising relaunch by Bendis (the Alias series). As the city of Metropolis is plagued by suspicious fires and the murder of a low-level mobster, Superman becomes the prime suspect when he’s accused (by a paid plant) of being behind it all. The mayhem is actually the work of an “invisible empire” of the city’s crime lords who carefully plan their every move, convening in strict stealth within a lead-lined safe space (that cannot be penetrated by Superman’s x-ray vision), with protocols dictating what they can and cannot say above a whisper or even aloud, lest they be heard by Metropolis’s alien guardian. They’ve also set him up against a capable new opponent: the mysterious Red Cloud, a vaporous female who might be able to get the better of him. His reputation on the line, Superman attempts to thwart the criminal syndicate while also weathering the soap opera, as Clark Kent, of newsroom office intrigue and loneliness in the wake of his wife, Lois Lane, having seemingly left him, with guest appearances by The Guardian, The Question, and Batman. Building on the groundwork laid by 2018’s The Man of Steel miniseries, Bendis works his signature scripting magic, supported by superb art (by varying individual artists, whose styles cohere fluidly) that lends the proceedings a cinematic flair. There have been many, many first volumes for the familiar broad-chested hero, but even those longtime followers who’ve found recent reboots lukewarm will have their fandoms reignited by this solid new arc. [em](Apr.) [/em]