Friday, September 2, 2022

Review: Superman: Warworld Apocalypse

Superman: Warworld Apocalypse #1 came out this week, the ending of the Warworld Saga. It was brilliant. 

Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson has given us a story arc for the ages, one were Superman inspires the masses to do good, who infuses people with hope, and who despite being depowered wins the fight. Call me impressed. I was blown away by this book. Even in the scenes where Superman isn't physically present, he is felt. While the super-family remain on Earth, the Authority is here. And each member has a moment in the sun. Remember, there are some bad folks on this team. Somehow Superman has turned them into agents of good. And there is a moment in the middle of the book where I honestly got goose bumps. That is writing.

Moreover, this whole saga reminds me of my cardinal rule. I want good stories. When this whole thing was announced, with Superman off world and Jon taking up the mantle, I was against it. I wanted Superman in Metropolis, interacting with his supporting cast. It became clear that this was going to be an incredible Superman story early on. Don't give me what I want. Give me what I need.

The art is a mash-up of artists who have been doing Action issues recently - Will Conrad, Miguel Mendonca, Brandon Peterson, and Max Raynor. Because we have seen their work throughout the arc and because they each deal with one subplot, the art sings. Everything is big and bold, like a finale should be.

Let's get into some of the specifics I loved.

The rebellion is on.

I love that Midnighter, someone who made fun of Superman, is leading an army of people who dismissed and ridiculed Superman initially. This is the power of Superman. No longer are people measuring their worth by links of chain. Now they are rallying behind Superman's name.


In the Necropolis, Superman stands against Mongul and the traitor Kryl-Ux. Mongul wants the Fire of Orglun. And if Superman doesn't hand it over, he'll kill Otho and Osul. Knowing there is always another way, Superman promises to hand over the knife.

But the rebellion is on. Even Otho, the young girl who was truly mocking Superman early in this arc, is fueled by the ideas of truth and justice. Just a little girl! And she attacks Mongul. 

In the aftermath of her futile strike, Osul is killed, stabbed by Mongul's sword.

At the red sun generator, Steel and Leonath square off against the Teacher and the Darling.

But Orphan is more interested reuniting with Darling than in following orders. And Darling feels the same. The Unmade is destroyed leaving the Steel and Leonath to do their work.

Mongul doesn't inspire. Mongul is not a leader. People won't follow him. 

And then this moment.

The moment.

Superman uses the Fire of Orglun to revive Osul. 

Of course using the Fire that way makes little sense to Mongul who sees it as a waste of power.

Superman's response is so pitch perfect. That is why Mongul can't win. And that is why Superman will fight.

Goose bumps.

The best moment in the book.

Meanwhile the brawl between the rebels and the rest of the Unmade continues.

The Enchantress is able to hold off Blackrazor.

But Apollo is the big gun. He is filled the Teacher's neuroimplants and the only one strong enough to remove them is himself.

So good old Manchester Black, a character I have previously despised, uses his hallucinations to trick Apollo into ripping them out himself. Imagine that? Black being a hero! I was glad to see all the Authority getting a moment.

And then a sacrifice for the better good. The Genesis Reactor has to be placed within the Star Forge itself.

Leonath is a proud man. And he will matter.

With that the red sun goes white. Suddenly Superman and the Phaelosians are powered up. 

Now it's a real fight.

And, as expected, Kryl-Ux kills Mongul. Sure he wanted the Fire of Orglun to do it. But this new pure Phaelosian power is good enough.

He basically is Boromir. I've been saying that for a while. He wanted the Fire as a weapon, not as a way to bring justice.


And then another sacrifice.

OMAC never followed Mongul. They were just faithful to Lightray.

Mack wants to save Lightray and so carries her into white sun, burning away the residue of the Mother and releasing her from the Black Razor curse.

I didn't see that coming. OMAC, we hardly knew you. 

And is that Black Racer in the background??

Touching art here.

As for Kryl-Ux, he has been planning this for a while. He wants revenge for the Phaelosians and is ready to take on anyone who was part of that. Mongul was the first.

But the steps he took for this revenge, serving up hundreds of his own people just to get close enough to the man. The needling of Mongul to bring Superman on board, without Mongul knowing that he was bringing his own destruction. That is a dark path. 

And yet, Kryl-Ux admits Superman taught him hope.

Even the most jaded have been impacted by Superman.

But Kryl-Ux is the definition of anti-hero. And it is hard to get behind his cause when he orchestrated the death of the very people he was trying to avenge.

The rebellion is quickly over. Super-powered Phaelosians quickly overpower the Warzoon. 

There are hugs.

There are cheers of Unblooded Sword and Superman. 

They won. And there is Superman hugging the kids.

Okay, maybe I got goose bumps here too. 


The book ends with Superman back on Earth, hugging Lois. And yes, I loved that too.

But let's not forget the UP Ambassador who turned away Superman's ask for help. Turns out Thaarog was on Mongul's payroll. And that means he is on Kryl-Ux's hit list.

So Warworld is free. Superman is back on Earth. And Kryl-Ux is now powered and angry.


There are still a lot of things I hope get answered. What about Thao-La? Are the Phaelosians going to live on Warworld? Is Superman cured by the white sun?

But those questions can be answered another day. For now, I'll just bask in this ending.

Overall grade: A+


Martin Gray said...

Talk about sticking the landing, this was wonderful. I’m not worried about the loose ends, I imagine they’ll be picked up on in the Kal-El Returns story, or Phillip’s upcoming Action Comics… I think he gave us the Lois reunion here as the emotional capper, but doesn’t plan to neglect the details.

Rob S. said...

This whole epic was fantastic. I'm looking forward to giving it a second read, all at once.