Monday, October 4, 2021

Review: Action Comics #1035

Action Comics #1035 came out this last week and was another solid chapter in this Warworld arc. We are moving to the next stage and we are closer to Clark being offworld for what could be a long time given the Future State-ness of it all.

Even though I like my Superman on Earth, I have to give writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson a lot of credit here. He has crafted a very quality story that I am very engaged in. I want to see where this is going. He has written a highly ethical, highly moral, heroic Superman. I want to read more. I want the next issue in my hands right after I finish the current one. 

Daniel Sampere continues to give us stellar art on the title. And Johnson is putting him through the paces, going from major super-power brawls, to crowd shots with the JLA, to a romantic interlude with Lois right before he heads off world. It all shines.

I don't have much to complain about here. But as Superman does his goodbye tour, it would have been great to see him say his farewells to Kara. I worry that we won't see her in this book anymore. Pity since Johnson treated her so well.

On to the book.

Last issue Thao-La tried to kill Lois. The Supers streak to the Fortress.

Armed with the blue weapon Mongul smuggled onto Earth, she is holding her own, tossing  Kara around like a rag doll.

I love how Lois puts it succinctly. 'Mongul happened."

I do love how Supergirl is there, fighting beside her family. Sampere really draws a great Kara.

Superman steps in trying to convince Thao-La not to listen to Mongul. The tyrant is communicating to her through the blue weapon, commanding her to kill the Els.

Remember Superman is her hero, her inspiration. When he tells her that he will go to Warworld and free her people, she trusts him.

Nothing says new member of the Super-family like a classic chain snap. And I truly love that she decides to trust her hero, the pinnacle of goodness rather than give into Mongul's threats.

In fact, I wonder if now that Tom King has set our Kara on this path if Thao-La isn't going to step into the role.

Still, great art here, reminiscent of the classic Kryptonite Nevermore cover of Superman #233.

After this betrayal, Mongul uses the weapon to inflict pain on Thao-La. That is, until Superman takes it from her. 

Somehow the device temporarily takes Superman to Warworld. 

There he delivers a pretty big threat. 'Only one of us will be standing.' Hoo boy!

Johnson has had this be a pretty proactive Superman, one who isn't afraid to slam a table or talk to his friends curtly when he disagrees. His Superman is laser focused on these Kryptonian refugees on Warworld. And he is willing to throw some punches to get his point across.

This is great stuff.

I'm not sure why but Superman blips back to Earth.

Thao-La is in a healing tank. 

In another nice moment, Superman mourns the death of  the other two Phaelosians. He speaks how he will seek out people who knew these men who were branded with the S-shield.

There is no doubt we will see that. Certainly these men have family on Warworld. 

But it is very Superman to give these beings a proper burial. Again, how great to see Supergirl standing there with her family. No sullen, lonely being here. 

But the mission is clear. Superman is on his way to Warworld.

First the JLA stops by. Given all the political unrest set off by Superman's grabbing the Source Wall stone, they can't join him on his mission. They ask him to wait. But he can't.

There is a sort of stiff interaction with Batman after everyone else leaves. Bruce wants Superman to not go since it is clear it is a trap. He wants to know what happened to the Source stone. And moreover, he knows that Superman is assembling another team.

There is friction here, something which has been building in prior issues and even in last month's Justice League book. They aren't quite enemies. But they aren't friends here either. Interesting.

After that prickly goodbye, we move on to the more intimate farewells.

He tells Jon that the time has come for the son to assume the mantle. Yes, this is just what Jon feared. But Superman has a mission. He has to go. And Jon has to trust him that he'll be back.

It is a wonderful moment. 

In a sweet moment, we hear how he says goodbye to Krypto so the dog won't wonder where he has gone to.

Let's hope Krypto survives the Supergirl miniseries.

Nothing is sweeter than a boy and his dog. 

Finally we get to the goodbye to Lois.

It is another beautiful scene as Superman says he will come home. His love for her is the strongest thing there is.

Seriously, this whole scene. The profession of love. The promise to return. A nighttime flight. 

Beautiful. And drawn beautifully by Sampere. 

Before she wakes, he is already off. Batman was right that Superman has a team ready for Warworld.

The Authority.

Yes, it is the Authority from the Morrison mini-series. You know the one with the aging Superman. So what is going on here. Is the Morrison series set in the 'now'.  Is this a team from the future? I mean we have the new Lightray, the first girl born on Mars. Is that 'now'?

Maybe I just need to roll with it? But this is a big roll.

But in the end, that is a minor head scratch. The rest of this issue is just a perfect ending to the Thao-La story and the perfect prologue for the Warworld arc. This shows us just who Superman is. He fights for the helpless. He takes a stand. He loves his family. 

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

Fine review, sir, and great point about chain breaking being a Superman Family habit. But I shudder at the thought Thao-La - anybody - might replace Kara. They’d never take, but we’d have a few more years/decades without real Supergirl. No ta.

Anonymous said...

My brain went "ding ding ding" at the idea of it. DC will finally have a Supergirl based on a serious trauma - that's what they want, but many fans object, and they may find it not so easy to try to keep Kara in that box. But no one can deny Thao-La's traumatic past. And in the future there will be plenty of Phaelosians in the House of El.

I had not remembered this, but Thao-La is the prominent little girl in the Action Annual, dressed like Supergirl, and asking about her.

But in that Annual, Kara will still be Superwoman in the future, leading the House and conducting weddings, and there is no sign of Thao-La. Looking to the future, Mr. Byla says Brandon Kent will retire and train his daughter Theand'r to become Superwoman eventually.

At the end, Mr. Byla implies there is much more to Thao-La's story.

Who are the parents of Rowan (the Blue Lantern) and Ronan Kent? Do we know the answer already? I can't keep that family tree in my head. They are "Kents," and they are black. Are Jon and Thao-La their ancestors? Maybe Kryptonians live longer than Phaelosians, explaining why we see Kara but not Thao-La. But where is Jon?


Anonymous said...

Wait, what, why are Superman's powers waning? I must've missed something here.

Waal ah tolja that DC was gonna debut a New Supergirl at the end of this process, Thao-La would seem to be a good candidate, although this is DC they could easily have another much more dubious scheme in mind.
On the other hand, it would mean that both "The New Supergirl" (Thao-La) and "Superwoman" (Kara Zor El, AKA "The Super Spinster of the Moon") will both have essentially the same backstory, Being as they are "Children of Pain".
It'll be months, possibly years before DC figures this out, that in a bid to make Supergirl NEW & DIFFERENT they've achieved nothing save making her as miserable and boring as everyone else in the DCU.

Nowhere to go, but Up All The Same.