Action Comics Vol 1 #1024
"The House of Kent Part Three"
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Klaus Jansen
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Colourist: Brad Anderson
Cover: John Romita, Jr. (pencils), Klaus Jansen (inks), Brad Anderson (colours)
Variant Cover: Lucio Parillo
Assistant Editor: Bixie Mathieu
Associate Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: James S. Rich
Mission Monitor Board:
Superboy (Jon Kent), Brainiac 5
Superboy (Conner Kent), Supergirl
Lois Lane; Jimmy Olsen (cameo)
Invisible Mafia (Dr. Glory, Marisol Leone, The Red Cloud, Whisper)
This story continues from the previous issue. The issue begins with a member of the Invisible Mafia, Whisper, keeping track of Superman, as he has for the Mafia since the beginning. However, he sees that Superman is not alone. He has Superboys Connor Kent and Jon Kent and Brainiac 5 with him. Interestingly enough, he has no files on the Superboy (Connor Kent) or Brainiac 5. He tells Lady L that perhaps it is time for the Mafia to go into lockdown and have the trail go dark. Superman doesn't seem to have the other major issues which were distracting from him, but the Man of Steel and his allies are all heading for the Daily Planet.
Meanwhile, Melody Moore, a former fire fighter and now the Deputy Mayor of Metropolis, is killed by the Red Cloud.
Superman, Superboy/Jon, Superboy/Connor and Brainiac 5 arrive at the Planet, where Agent Chase and the FBI are trying to gut the newspaper and the building. They know Ms. Leone own the Planet and they want all the files. In fact, the FBI seems irate that they weren't notified about this before the Planet ran their own damning story. Stacy Q is live streaming and wants out. Jimmy Olsen points out to Perry that the Planet's lawyers are Leone's lawyers and thus might not be the right folks to bring in. Perry is staunch in defending his paper. Brainiac 5, flying in a weird orientation, is overwhelmed with fanboy nerdiness at all the keyboards in the Planet's offices. Superman tells the two Superboys and Brainiac 5 to go outside, where they can show the latter the "big gold ball on top of the building." Outside, the two Superboys watch in mixed amusement and horror as Brainiac 5 has a lovefest with the Daily Planet Globe.
Back inside, before the conversation can go any further, Superman picks up something with his senses and flies off. The Superboys don't know whether they should follow him or not, but Jon says that he'll go ask his mom (Lois), but decides not to. The three follow Superman. Meanwhile, Superman arrives at his destination and he is horrified to find the body of Melody Moore. The police arrive on the scene, and Superman rockets into the sky in both grief and rage...
...Only to find Kara Zor-El, Supergirl, there! Supergirl is pleased to see him, as is Kal-El, and when he tells her that his friend, whom she doesn't know, has been killed, immediately gives him a hug. The Superboys and Brainiac 5 are spotted by Supergirl, and she greets Jon warmly but gives Connor a rather cool reception, saying they aren't related when he explains he's a clone of Superman and Lex Luthor. Kara then meets Brainiac 5 for the first time, who tell him he is a member of the 31st Century Legion of Super-Heroes. Supergirl tells him that she's insulted because, even though she's also a legend in their time, she wasn't invited to join the Legion.
The House of El and Brainiac 5 begin scanning for the Mafia. They search for lead-lined locations that obscure their vision.
However, Marisa Leone isn't slowing down any, as she thinks she is safely hidden and is planning a final counter. However, Dr. Glory (who recently looted S.T.A.R. Labs) arrives, asking for money so that she can flee and disappear from both the law and the Kent family.
While Superman and his family can't find the Invisible Mafia or Leone, Brainiac 5 uses his technology and mind to track down part of the Mafia, specifically Whisper. The Superman family land in Whisper's location, and surround him.
Leone removes her ear device with which she's been communicating with Whisper, and says to the Red Cloud and Dr. Glory that it's time for the huge counter-punch to put an end to this. The story continues in the next issue.
Right off the bat I will state here that I have no comments to make about the House of Kent storyline here and what is going on in the tales running through the Action family of comics, except as it relates to the Legion of Super-Heroes. I don’t read the comics, other than the Legion appearances, and have no idea of what's been going on in the Superman (and Action Comics) titles. So, with that out of the way...
I will start here by saying that this story is not a Legion tale, though it does have one Legionnaire in it. As I understand it, this issue marks the third chapter in the House of El/Kent story arc that is pitting the Superman family against something called the Invisible Mafia, but I'm not sure what they're all about. Furthermore, after doing a bit of research, Brainiac 5 arrived in the 21st Century with Jon Kent back in Action Comics Vol 1 #1022, as the former offered to show the latter the Fortress of Solitude. Something has obviously happened to keep Brainiac 5 in the 21st Century for the moment, and I think there's a hint of it this issue. Brainiac 5 literally is fanboyish about the (computer) keyboards in the sequence where Superman, the two Superboys, and he arrive at the Daily Planet. Furthermore, the is literally geeking out and *HUGGING* the Daily Planet Globe on the top of the building in another sequence. This tells me that Brainy is here on a history vacation, learning what he can and seeing what he can of famous and archaeological items of the past. Or perhaps he's just a geek when it comes to the history of the 21st Century and the Superman Family (notice the use of capitals there). That said, he is also obviously getting involved in the matter of the Invisible Mafia here, as noted that he was involved in the Black Label club incident (presumably in the previous issue) as he's actively helping the Superman Family to search for them at one point, and actually locates Whisper using his technology. It was also interesting to see that the Whisper doesn't have any information about Brainiac 5 in his database. Not surprising, given that Querl and the Legionnaires come from the 30th Century, though Whisper's algorithms flag him as a Brainiac.
The best thing for me in this issue was not just the re-union of Superman and Supergirl, showing the very much human, fragile side of Superman, but for the encounter between Brainiac 5 and Supergirl. There's a bit of banter between them that's interrupted by focusing more on the plot with finding the Invisible Mafia in the aftermath of Melody Moore's murder, but it's a fun bit. Kara seems to be put out that she didn't receive an invite to the Legion, but the dialogue between the two is left in favour of other matters. I have to wonder whether this is leading to a possible Supergirl/Brainiac 5 relationship down the line at some point, with perhaps Supergirl joining the Legion. (And for the record, I would have preferred Kara getting membership in the Legion, rather than Jon Kent.) I was just disappointed the scene between the two didn't go longer than it did.
I can't say that I'm a fan of John Romita, Jr.'s artwork, but it seems to work fine in this issue. The facial expressions he gives his characters in this story are quite good, very fitting, and definitely increase the feel and the humanity of the story. Brainiac 5 is drawn much older than the 15-year-old he is meant to be (which was revealed in Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #7), but I have no problem with that. I liked the scene where Superman found the body of Melody Moore. The reader doesn't get to see the body at all, not even a vague outline, so it is left to the imagination of the reader, but the expression on Superman's face says it all. The sequence of panels, his slumped posture, the look of sheer shock, the deflation of the Man of Steel, is made clear here, and actually feels a lot like a classic Kirby panel would.
Nothing else to add here, other than to say I'll be interested to see if Bendis does something with the Kara/Brainy relationship as the story goes on.
The story continues in the next issue...
Next Issue: Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #8