The Red Cloud
The Red Cloud is introduced to the gangsters by Mister Strong as the newest member of their family, but instantly it seems like there’s a hierarchy at play that puts her above the rest of the crew -- she introduces herself to them as “your new personal hell,” after all. It seems that Strong has brought her in with a focus on keeping his organization operating like a Swiss watch, with the main goal being to remain undetected by Superman at any cost.
The Red Cloud’s debut in Action Comics is definitely being treated as a big deal by DC Comics, because every DC book this week featured a full page feature dedicated to her arrival, confirming that she’ll be serving as an enforcer on the streets of Metropolis with the power to challenge Superman in a very physical way. The back-matter feature also poses the question of her true identity. If you just read Action Comics #1001, you might think she’s just a new villain on the scene but it seems that the reveal of her identity will be key plot point revealed in Action Comics #1005, with several suggestions floated by DC as to who it may be.
The first suggestion, that she is Lois Lane, is highly unlikely as 80 years of character development run counter to the idea that Lois would become a supervillain dedicated to fooling Superman. We also see her working across the city at the same time, giving her an airtight alibi. The feature also suggests that Daily Planet employees Robinson Goode and Trish Q could be the villain and, while Goode has been seen to have ulterior motives regarding both Clark Kent and Superman, her story seems to be somewhat separate.
The most likely candidate then is Melody Moore, the new deputy fire chief who you’d expect to be on the up-and-up, but time and time again in superhero comics we’ve seen that the people we expect to be the nicest and friendliest can actually be the most sinister. Her role as deputy fire chief in charge of investigating the rash of arsons throughout Metropolis may explain The Red Cloud’s contempt for Yogurt and why she killed him so coldly. Considering Mister Strong’s organization enjoys working right under Superman’s nose so much, who better to be his new greatest villain than his new, most trusted ally?
Whoever the Red Cloud actually is, it's great to see a new addition to Superman's rogues' gallery along with Rogol Zaar in the pages of Superman. Bendis seems dedicated to not just playing around with DC's most iconic character, but further adding to the mythos and story of one of the most recognizable fictional icons in the entire world.