This review contains minor spoilers.
Even if you aren’t a fan of Superman, you can’t deny that he paved the way for all superheroes to follow. To say the first issue of Action Comics that shipped all the way back in 1938 was a game-changer is quite the understatement, for it forever reshaped the pop culture landscape.
With that, I find it highly appropriate that very title be the first ongoing series to reach the 1000 milestone. As such, DC pulled out all the stops with this oversized anniversary issue, assembling some of the greatest creators to have ever touched the Man of Steel for what is an anthology of sorts. Really, it’s a veritable who’s who, as they secured the services of Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Louise Simonson, Jerry Ordway, Scott Snyder, Marv Wolfman, Geoff Johns and Richard Donner, to name but a few.
Speaking of which, Dan Jurgens starts things off by writing and illustrating a quintessential Superman celebration tale. If anything, the outgoing scribe on this series has proven yet again that he remains among those who have the greatest understanding of the character. While somewhat disconnected from the rest of his run, Jurgens lays the groundwork for the rest of what’s to be found within those pages.
If anything, Jurgens and the others who’ve been invited to the party succeed at writing a pitch perfect Kal-El at every turn. A couple things I’ve always dug about Superman is how inspirational he can be and how he always knows the right thing to say in any given situation. Truth be told, I wouldn’t doubt it if a fair amount of people get a little choked up during their reading experience.
Now, if you’ve taken one look at the cover art, then you know by now that the red trunks are back. Jettisoned at the beginning of the New 52, one of the defining pieces of the Last Son of Krypton’s costume has often been thought as one of his key identifying qualities. So, like it or not, they’ve returned in all their glory.
In fact, I was half-expecting for an explanation regarding his bringing trunks back into fashion, but no such one is given. Still, Brian Michael Bendis does touch on their significance a little in the final story to be included, which is one you’ll definitely want to pay attention to.
Basically, not only does DC’s latest hire hint at where Superman books will soon be headed with his contribution, but he also introduces a new villain that turns what we know about the mythos on its head; what happens here is about as big as the Jor-El/Mr. Oz situation was. Oh yeah, it’s also illustrated by the one and only Jim Lee, so there’s that.
Before I get out of here, I feel the need to stress that this isn’t the same thing as the recently released Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman hardcover. I’m well aware that some of you out there may have gotten the impression that this issue was included in that collection, but that’s simply not the case. Rather, that trade compiles some of the more defining moments the series has been witness to over the past eight decades.
Getting back to the topic at hand, I must say that Action Comics #1000 is a piece of history that none should pass up. Some stories were better than others, sure, but this tome is loaded with moments that’ll make you smile. Here’s to a thousand more.