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Action Comics Vol 1 #1027

Here's another recent read of the Legion of Super-Heroes. This time out, Brainiac 5 helps the Superman Family one last time before heading back to the 31st Century. Enjoy! :)

Action Comics Vol 1 #1027
January, 2021
"The House of Kent Epilogue"
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Colourist: Brad Anderson
Cover: John Romita, Jr. (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Brad Anderson (colours)
Variant Cover: Gary Frank (art) and Brad Anderson (colours)
Assistant Editor: Bixie Mathieu
Associate Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: James S. Rich


Mission Monitor Board:
Superboy (Jon Kent), Brainiac 5

Guest Stars:
Superboy (Conner Kent), Supergirl

Supporting Cast:
Lois Lane; Perry White; Jimmy Olsen

The Red Cloud; Marisol Leone (cameo)

The story continues from the previous issue. The issue starts with Agent Chase sending an e-mail to her boss that Lois Lane has assaulted Marisol Leone, the alleged head of the Invisible Mafia. The notes and photos beind the e-mail give the reader a good look at Agent Chase's investigation. It is clear she doesn't know who Brainiac 5 and the extra-dimensional Parasite are.

The story proper begins with Agent Chase interrogating Lois Lane in a room in the FBI's Metropolis base of operations about the claims that Lois is from another dimension. Lois looks somewhat haggard, but doesn't say anything to Chase. Before Agent Chase can pursue matters further, Kate Spencer, Lois's lawyer enters the room and manages to hustle Lois out of there since the charges aren't sticking too well as Marisa Leone isn't anywhere to be found.

The scene jumps back to Metropolis some two hours earlier, when the hubbub at the Daily Planet is going on and the Superman Family is battling it out with the Red Cloud. Supergirl says she'll save the plunging to the ground Man of Steel, while Superboys Connor and Jon Kent along with Brainiac 5 have to deal with red Cloud without getting near her. Supergirl saves Superman, while the two Superboys move toward Red Cloud.

At the Daily Planet, Agent Chase arrests Lois Lane, but their attention is diverted as Jimmy Olsen calls attention to what's going on outside.

Carrying the Man of Steel, it is pretty obvious to Supergirl that he is completely out of it and in bad shape. Meanwhile, the two Superboys circle the Red Cloud at super-speed, Brainiac 5 having devised a plan. Supergirl attempts to revive Superman, but doesn't seem to be having any luck with that.

Perry White orders everyone out of the Daily Planet building, but wants to get the story. Jimmy says he's getting the photos, and Lois says she's on the story. Marisol Leone slinks out of the Daily Planet building.

Outside, there are flashes of what appear to be red air escaping, and the Red Cloud loses consciousness.

The next thing the reader sees is the entire Superman Family, Brainiac 5, and Red Cloud in what is clearly the Phantom Zone. Superman is miraculously back to his normal self, and Brainiac 5 is holding a Phantom Zone projector while Connor Kent is holding the containment field holding the extra-dimensional Parasite. Superman tells Red Cloud that she can stay in the Phantom Zone for all eternity or that she can return to Earth and be imprisoned there. It's her choice.

Back in the present, Kate Spencer gets Lois Lane out of the FBI interrogation room. Agent Chase is still ticked off and still wondering if Lois is from another dimension, but Lois knows that Chase can figure it out. In the time it takes for the elevator to reach the ground floor, Chase realizes that it isn't Lois who's from another world - it's Leone.

The sequence moves to Stryker's Island prison, where the House of Kent and Brainiac 5 drop off the Red Cloud, she obviously having made her choice. This is followed by a scene where a prison guard is given a bribe to drop off a letter to Robinson Goode from Marisol Leone. Leone blames the Red Cloud gunning for Superman as the act that brought down the Invisible Mafia operation. The one rule of the Invisible Mafia was to never engage Superman directly. The Red Cloud's insistence brought down ruin upon them all. So now, the letter informs her, Leone hopes she goes straight to hell. Leone has left this planet to go to another Earth.

The Superman Family and Brainiac 5 discuss the recent events, and realizes that S.T.A.R. Labs has been behind all the recent woes. In a fit of anger, the reader watches as Superman demolishes the S.T.A.R. Labs building using his various super-powers, much to the shock and consternation of the others. However, we then see the same scene again, and realize the destruction was all in Superman's imagination. He wanted, wants to do that...but he won't.

In the aftermath of the events that have occurred, Brainiac 5 announces that it's time for him to return to the 31st Century and the Legion of Super-Heroes. He tells them that this has been a life-changing experience for him, and that he's grateful to them for so many things. Superman tells him that he was an enormous help to them in the struggle with the Invisible Mafia, and Jon Kent tells Brainiac 5 that he'll see him in the future tomorrow, as he's going to stay behind for a bit and hang out with his father. Supergirl tells Brainiac 5 that she would love an invitation to visit the 31st Century and the Legion of Super-Heroes; Brainiac 5 tells her that that's going to happen, actually. Supergirl then asks Brainiac 5 for some hopeful, but not too spoilery, news about the future, as she need some hope this day. Brainiac 5 whispers something in her ear, and she's very pleased. "I'll see you there, then," she tells him. Brainiac 5 departs into the timestream (via a time bubble?) saying,

"My honour. Thank you for showing me why the Age of Heroes was so apppropriately named. Thank you, Superman. Thank you, House of Kent."

As Brainiac 5 departs, Jon Kent asks him to tell Wildfire not to touch his stuff until he gets back.

Superman, Supergirl and the two Superboys are drawn back to the Daily Planet when Superman's super-hearing catches Lois's emergency word. The four heroes head for the Planet. They arrive there and learn that the emergency is a Clark thing, but Superman-level emergency. It turns out the Daily Planet has been bought by...Jimmy Olsen.

Once again, I will state here that I have no comments to make about the House of Kent storyline 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...

This story is the sixth and final part, the epilogue, of the "The House of Kent" storyline. While it is not a Legion of Super-Heroes story, it does have one Legionnaire (Brainiac 5) in it, and once again he plays a pivotal part in the story, using a Phantom Zone projector to deal with the Red Cloud. The story is mostly about wrapping up the odds and ends of the Invisible Mafia plot that's been going on for some time in the comic now, apparently since Brian Bendis first took over the comic actually, but I will say that I felt things wrapped up here a bit too quickly and a bit too easily. I suspect that this has to do with the impending Future State/5G/DC Bloodbath business that's going on behind the scenes, and Bendis is also said to be leaving the Superman Family of titles. That includes the Legion of Super-Heroes book as well, so I am wondering if he'll be leaving that title as well, and whether his storyline(s) there will be wrapping up.

As for Brainiac 5, his best scenes this issue come at the end, just before he returns to the 31st Century. There seems to be a set-up for a Brainiac 5/Supergirl...something, perhaps a romance, perhaps something else, but it makes me think that perhaps Supergirl will be paying a visit to the 31st Century and the Legion of Super-Heroes before too long. And I have to say I was intrigued by what Brainy whispered to Supergirl in that one panel, though I have to wonder whether the super-hearing of Superman and the two Superboys caught whatever it was.

In terms of the artwork this issue, John Romita, Jr. is at it once again, and to be honest, the artwork this issue was pretty...rough. There was a lot here in terms of scene shifting from huge action sequences and quiet interrogation scenes. I'm not crazy about his work this issue once more, but I will say that his layouts in the story worked quite well. There are two pages that are 9-panel grid pages. The story being told on those pages turns on the centre panel, almost like it is the axle the sequence rotates and focuses on, and I appreciated the cleverness of these.

I don't know whether I'm reading too much between the lines, but... The issue ends with the same "To be concluded..." blurb that this month's issue of Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #11 ends with, in a pretty similar font by Dave Sharpe. Since next month's issue is Bendis's last on the Superman titles, what this means for the Legion title remains to be seen.

Final Notes:
The story continues in the next issue...but since it doesn't concern the Legion of Super-Heroes, I won't be writing an entry here concerning it!

Next Issue: Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #11


John Kahane

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