Friday, March 26, 2021

Review: Action Comics #1029

Action Comics #1029 came out this week and was a decent middle chapter in 'The Golden Age' story that new writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson Last issue we saw how Jon thought this 'breach' fight was Superman's last known mission. Jon was dealing with the fact that his father was no longer infallible or immortal. And just as importantly, Jon was dealing with having to step into the role of Superman if his father did die. 

This issue builds on all those fears. Another battle rages. Jon does his best to protect his father. And when it is all done, there is some home spun Pa Kent wisdom and we all learn something. Oh, and we get a cliffhanger leaning into the Future State books. 

Phil Hester remains on art and again does a great job conveying the action with an economical, clean style. He does a good job distinguishing Jon and Clark, something which could be an issue when the two are flying in tandem in battle. 

While I did like the message of the story, in essence that it is Jon's time to grow up and shine on his own, I wonder if this was a great arc as a 'jumping on' point with a new creative team/ Do we really want to see Superman being old, sick, dying in the first story? This was not the palate cleanser I was hoping to get after Superman Red and Blue #1 gave us stories of a sad Superman mostly failing or worse, people blaming Superman for not solving their own problems.

On to the book.

The Golden Age Part Two opens with our heroes fighting the latest batch of beasts which have come through the open breach. Unlike last issue's smaller plankton like aliens, these are bigger and meaner.
Almost immediately you see them gouging Superman's body, battering him and bloodying him up.

And throughout, we get those same text boxes once again talking about how at some point children realize that their parents are not invulnerable. For Jon, today is the day that he fears he will see his hero fall.

I do wonder why Superman is effected by whatever is happening and Superboy isn't. I do hope there will be some explanation at some point. Even comic book science would be appreciated. Because Superman is pretty beaten up here. 

As I said before, I don't know if that is the best way to bring new readers in ... having your title hero be ineffective.

The two heroes break off from battle to help the workers on the STAR Lab satellite. 

Here they learn that STAR has been reopening the breach on the order of Amanda Waller who wanted to see the effects on Superman. But now when the breach reopens, the aliens are always bigger and stronger. Huh, sounds like Pacific Rim!

I recently read the new Suicide Squad book and in that Waller is really harsh. So I suppose this is the new Amanda.

Now the STAR Labs crew know their folly. And they know a way to seal the breach forever. From the other side.

When Superman agrees to fly in and use it, Jon stops him. 

Superman has internal bleeding and cracked bones. He really is injured. And Jon isn't about to let his hurt Dad get any worse. For Jon, the history books say this might be Superman's last adventure. Can he just watch his father die?

As for Jon, he is unscratched. It is a little crazy. 

All that said, I get the worry. This is the moment when Jon's Pollyanna 'my parents are going to live forever' beliefs end. But between this dialogue and the text boxes, it is almost like we are getting the message hammered home.

Hester's work here is exemplar as you really see Jon's concern on his face. And you see Clark's confidence that this is just another fight is clear too.

But the battle is mayhem. And Superman almost sees outclassed.

As the narrator says at some point a kid sees their parents as human.

It really looks like Superman is about to get killed. 

But there is a silver lining to the end of the Golden Age.

Once children see their parents aren't infallible, they can step up and lead their own lives. They have learned from their parents lessons and mistakes and can go further. 

Here Jon seeing his dad isn't going to make it into the breach and certainly won't survive sealing it, he takes the initiative. He grabs the cannon and flies into the breach himself.

Good panel composition here. You can see how winded but also just how scared Clark is, seeing Jon fly in. Just like no kid wants to see their parents frail, no parent wants to see their kid die before them.

But Jon is strong, maybe stronger than anyone. He seals things up and is able to get back out before it is closed tight.

You would think that Jon would be happy that the history books were wrong and his dad survived.

But the weight of the moment isn't lost. Jon was the hero here; he was Superman.

Suddenly he realizes that he will one day be Superman. How can he be ready? We saw how this weighed on Jon in Future State.

I do like that last panel as Clark pauses to figure out how to give Jon this life lesson. 


Now I admit I am a sucker for Pa Kent Wisdom. I love it.

So Clark talks about a similar time when Pa fell off a ladder and it made Clark's Golden Age end. 

But Pa knows that the Golden Age helps kids feel safe as they push limits and grow. But everyone falls. As long as someone is there to help, it's okay. It's human. And parents are proud when that happens because they can see their kids become adults and take responsibility.

If only this was sepia colored!

But this was an okay ending. 

Jon isn't a kid anymore.


Well, we do get a cliffhanger.

Someone has been watching this fight. Mongul.

We know Warworld was a big part of Future State. Superman being 'lost' while stuck on Warworld is also a big part of this. Maybe that is why Superman is 'missing' in the history books. He doesn't die. He is kidnapped.

So this story is over I suppose. But it sets up Jon becoming Superman. It sets up Amanda Waller as an antagonist. And it shows that Mongul and Warworld are on the horizon.  And while I don't mind seeing Jon mature and step up, I wish it wasn't at the expense of Superman himself.

Overall grade: B-

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

Top review, I agree, this is the the best way to start a new run, the whole thing seems to be setting up Jon’s Future State. I don’t want to read about Sad Jon... you’re in for such a treat when Peter Tomasi and Max Raynor’s Challenge of the Super-Sons appears in print, it’s pure delight, starring the Jon and Damian that work.

As a doctor, you may know... is there any reason the child of a Kryptonian and an Earthling would be stronger than both parents? Surely they would be diluted?

That Midnighter back-up, Lordy! Can’t they give us Supergirl? Or Krypto, Air Wave, Green Arrow, the Atom... heck, I’d take the Human Cannonball at this point.