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Monday, April 30, 2018 

Times-Record sugarcoats Bendis

The Fort Smith Times-Record predictably got all sugary about the 1000th issue of Action Comics, and the arrival of a most unwelcome scriptwriter:
DC Comics is celebrating by expanding “Action Comics” No. 1,000 to 80 pages, featuring 10 different covers and 10 stories by an all-star line-up of writers and artists. While the first nine stories are celebratory, the tenth is revelatory, with superstar writer Brian Michael Bendis (fresh from rival Marvel Comics) beginning his run on the Man of Tomorrow by introducing a mystery about Krypton’s destruction. Bendis’ story will continue in a six-issue, weekly “Man of Steel” miniseries, followed by a re-launch of “Superman” and, of course, “Action Comics” No. 1,001.
Not so much a mystery, if the prior discoveries say anything, and therefore, it's just a rehash of an older idea that was discarded because it was just an example of trying too hard to give Superman "motivation" for being a dedicated crimefighter.

And it's shameful that once again, we have here an example of fluff-coating Bendis' career by terming him as a "superstar" even though his comics at Marvel, for the most part, never sold massive numbers, and he trash-talked about fandom, even making sensationalized comments about how he was handling his writing. There's also an awkward note involving Supergirl:
When Supergirl arrived, she immediately became the main back-up feature (and the only one after 1960). Initially, Superman put her in a orphanage disguised as brunette Linda Lee, and instructed her to remain hidden from the world as his secret weapon. Yes, that sounds pretty cruel, but maybe a bachelor with a one-bedroom apartment in Metropolis (and a giant ice cave in the Arctic) didn’t feel capable of raising a teenage girl. Anyway, Supergirl finally “came out” in 1962. The Maid of Steel remained a regular feature in “Action” until 1969, when she moved to “Adventure Comics.”
Umm, that's not so at all, if we take the Bronze Age into consideration. The Atom became a backup in Action Comics several times during 1973-82 (I think 2 stories were also published in Detective Comics), and I may have an issue in my Superman collection from the late 70s where Lori Lemaris served as a backup story. And as for Kara Zor-El living at first in an orphanage and keeping a low profile, well, how else was it best to keep a secret identity? Besides, she had access to the Fortress of Solitude in the arctic just as much as Superman did (and I have an early 80s miniseries somewhere in my collection by E. Nelson Bridwell where she'd met Supes at the Fortress in preparation for a trip to Kandor). It's not that cruel, for heaven's sake, because of course he maintained relations with her, but encouraged her to develop confidence, and several years later, Kara reached college age and began working as a scientist at a university.

At the end of the article, it says:
In 2011, DC Comics rebooted their superhero universe, including Superman. Changes included renumbering “Action Comics,” with issue No. 904 followed by a new “Action Comics” No. 1. Fortunately, this tragic decision was reversed when “Action Comics” (second series) No. 52 was followed with “Action Comics” No. 957 in 2016.
Oh, now they tell us. How come all these steps went without any kind of protest from these mainstream media dimwits 7 years ago? If they'd wanted to, they could've spoken against DC's terrible mandates and may even prevented a lot of the worst directions from sticking as long as they did. But they didn't, and so, the above falls as flat as a pancake. Mainly because the artistic directions matter even more than the numbering, and that definitely went without protest at any negative step taken.

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