Earlier this month, we learned that Superman would soon be making Warworld his home in a major shift of the franchise’s status quo. In Action Comics #1033, we begin to see why, including a surprising final page twist.
After last month’s introductory arc, we see the creative team dive deep into what seems to be their new long-term story. Its definitely a doozy, and potentially the biggest shift that we’ve seen in Superman’s world since Jon Kent’s introduction. It comes from Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Daniel Sampere, Adriano Lucas, and Dave Sharpe.
The aliens of the Breach have left behind a horrible mark. Their strange alien energy has injured Superman in some way that clearly has some lasting effect on the Man of Steel. Now, he has to figure out what to do next. However the choice may be taken out of his hands, as Warworld has returned to Earth…
Johnson sets up a lot here, but this isn’t just a story intended to move pieces on a chessboard. This issue is full of mysteries, such as a cloaked visitor who makes promises to Mongul in the issue’s opening. It has excellent character work with both Supermen especially in connection with others. Clark and Lois get a great spotlight that’s romantic, but comfortable in how they know and love each other. Jon meanwhile gets to sit down with Robin and have a heart to heart with his best friend, which shows how much they’ve both changed and how they still understand each other.
Sampere takes an issue that’s equal parts action, plot set-up, and character moments and meets the challenge. He’s able to shift between the different tones on a dime, with Mongul’s throne room’s foreboding, shifting into Clark battling robots. His layouts are standard, but he is able to convey emotion, tension, and shock all in equal measure. Lucas’ colors are great too. In just the opening scene, he’s able to create this stunning sense of foreboding just with his use of deep reds.
The Midnighter back-up, by Michael Conrad, Becky Cloonan, Michael Avon Oeming, Jordie Bellaire and Taki Soma is a bit less strong. The story has a drastically different tone, and it doesn’t seem to connect to the main story at all. It’s a well produced comic, but it just falls a bit flat.
Superman’s about to take a strange new journey. With what we see in this issue, it’s going to be a hell of a ride.
Action Comics #1030 is available now from DC Comics.
After a few interesting issues, we get into the meat of this run. The issue is tense, action packed, and understands its characters. The creative team are setting up some very cool things here.