Friday, August 26, 2022

Review: Action Comics #1046

Action Comics #1046 came out this week meaning the Warworld Saga is drawing to a close. No big surprise, this is another great issue in what has been a fantastic long form story. From the main story pushing the Flame of Orglun plot thread forward to the back up story of a complete super family pounding Conduit, this thing just sang.

Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson has really been weaving an incredible arc here. This issue the spotlight is completely on Superman. There is nary an Authority in site. Johnson has been world-building here so things like The Flame of Orglun to Kryptonian puzzle boxes, stuff mentioned in the past, all come round to give this a deep richness. His Superman is inspirational and heroic, a key to his success both in the rebellion and in the heart of the Necropolis. And the extended super family members all sound spot on.

And I have to add here, that Johnson laid down enough clues for me to figure out who the traitor was in the rebellion. I actually get to say 'this time I was right'!

The art on this whole arc has been stunning. And while it seems that no artist can stay longer than 4-5 issues, none of them have been a let down. Here we get 'new to me' artist Fico Ossio on the main story. There is a detailed feel to the proceedings even though it is high action in the topsy-turvy environment of the Necropolis. David Lapham brings a chunkier feeling to the back-up which also works well with Conduit. And the Steel focused cover by Lucio Parrillo is gorgeous. 

Another winning chapter! On to the details.

Last issue, Superman, Kryl-Ux, and Otho and Osul all made it deep into the Necropolis, close to the Fire of Orglun.

But to get to the innermost temple they have to get over a bridge guarded by a giant worm. Holy shades of Arrakis!

Kryl-Ux is almost eaten. The bridge is demolished. So it is up to Superman to get across through hard work and savvy.

I love these panels. First off, Osul and Otho have come a long way from making fun of Superman. They have been inspired, even quoting Truth and Justice. 

And then Ossio does this great panel showing Superman leap into action with his symbol present around him. It is just a powerful panel. 

Across the bridge, Superman runs into a small girl, made of energy perhaps?

She says many have made it that far, usually killers or the like. She wonders what an Unblooded Sword is even doing there.

I got a bit of a Strange Visitor vibe off of her. Given the deep cuts we have seen by Johnson, I wouldn't be surprised.

Once at the door, the girl gives Superman a 5 parted riddle to solve. At the door, there is a Koltari  puzzle box with the answers on it, acting as a key.

I won't spoil the riddle. But I do like the fact that the puzzle boxes we saw Superman carving for the kids a few months back show up here. Johnson is building and using foreshadowing.

The riddle solved, the doors open.

And then it seems that Superman is face to face with Orglun himself.

There is definitely something akin to Conan finding Crom in the DeLaurentis movie here. Heck, that pose is similar.

But that fiery girl is there too.

After one more test, one that Superman passes, the Fire Of Orglun is given to him. It seems to have coalesced into a dagger. No doubt the hooded figure wants to bury that into Mongul.

I don't want to ruin these moments by telling you the riddle or the conundrum. From the riddle to Superman showing how an Unblooded Sword is worthy, this whole scene dazzles. I love this heroic Superman, teaching all around him.

Unfortunately when he returns to his friend we learn that Kryl-Ux has been the hooded figure advising Mongul since Superman arrived. I called this a few issues ago and can't believe that I'm right for once!

What is Kryl hoping to get out of this alliance? Or is the whole purpose to be able to get close enough to Mongul to kill them with the Orglun blade, thus elevating him to the new Mongul? Hmmm ...

Great cliffhanger.  And great issue. This is Superman at his best, risking himself to save his friends and strangers, outwitting his opponents, and inspiring.

Back on Earth, the Superman Family gather to try and get the Genesis stone back from Conduit.

How great is this shot! Heck, even new Super-Man is there.

A great brouhaha erupts. How fantastic to see this team fight as a unit. 

Makes me want a Superman family anthology series. 

At the very least, Johnson does a great job here. It is a short back-up so not everyone gets dialogue or action. But what we get, I love.

When Jon shows up and lays a smack down, Conduit knows he can't win. Even Amanda Waller tells him it is tie to give up the ghost.

So Conduit grabs the Genesis piece and tries absorbing its power. He seems to imply he was using it as a beacon of some sort to bring someone to Earth. I wonder who that could be.

But instead of letting the stone consume and kill Conduit, Steel destroys the fragment. Without that it isn't clear how they'll save Thao-La. But I like that Steel was simply following the lead of his hero Superman. Superman couldn't let Conduit incinerate himself.

I love the art here. Lapham's style works well with this story. His Conduit is looks like a thick-cabled goon. And the interplay of the heroes worked well also.

So a crackling issue bringing us that closer to the end. Can't wait to see where this ends up!

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

Great review. Congratulations on getting the traitor right… don’t undersell your deductive abilities. Sometimes you’ve worked out what would be the answer if everyone played fair/was as smart as you.

How funny that Kenny Braverman has Eighties curtain hair.

Anonymous said...

Are we still worried about Thao La? Are we still taking action as to whether or not Thao La is gonna become “The New Supergirl”? Is DC even gonna exist a year from now? So many questions....


Anonymous said...

There seems to be a stealth anthology coming out in November - or something that wasn't solicited, anyway:

Death of Superman 30th Anniversary Special #1 (one-shot)

Very odd. Initial order date was 8/25, and FOC is today 8/28. On-sale 11/8.

I stumbled on it today and don't think I saw it previously. This is not the re-release of Superman #75, nor is it the hardcover special edition that's also appearing. It's just a large anthology by the original writers and artists of the Death of Superman.

Written by DAN JURGENS, ROGER STERN, LOUISE SIMONSON, and JERRY ORDWAY. Art by DAN JURGENS, BRETT BREEDING, BUTCH GUICE, JON BOGDANOVE, TOM GRUMMETT, and more! 30 years ago, the unthinkable happened. The Man of Steel died. After sacrificing himself to stop the unstoppable global threat, Doomsday, Metropolis and the rest of the DC Universe mourned the loss of their greatest hero. To mark this monumental moment in comics, DC has reunited the complete creative team behind the original event for four brand-new stories. Led by Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding, the special kicks off with a new Superman story and villain…DOOMBREAKER! Followed by a series of short stories revisiting some of Superman’s greatest allies and exclusive pinups done by some of comics’ greatest artistic talent including LEE WEEKS, GABRIEL RODRIGUEZ, BILL SIENKIEWICZ, and WALTER SIMONSON. • “The Life of Superman” by Dan Jurgens (W & A), Brett Breeding (A), Brad Anderson (C), and John Workman (L) - A young Jon Kent finds out in school that his dad had died years earlier, as his parents never told him about that fateful day. In the midst of dealing with this emotional news, Jon and Clark need to team up to fight a new villain connected to Doomsday called DOOMBREAKER. • “Standing Guard” by Roger Stern (W), Butch Guice (A), Glenn Whitmore (C), and Rob Leigh (L) - The epic battle between Superman and Doomsday from the Guardians’ perspective. • “Time” by Louise Simonson (W), Jon Bogdanove (A), Glenn Whitmore (C), and Rob Leigh (L) - The story of how the death of Superman looked from John Henry Irons’s perspective. • “Above and Beyond” by Jerry Ordway (W), Tom Grummett (P), Doug Hazelwood (I), Glenn Whitmore (C), and Rob Leigh (L) - A powerful story of Ma and Pa Kent watching their son fight Doomsday live on television and going through Clark’s photo albums with the feeling that their son always prevails.

The main cover by Jurgens and Brett Breeding is a gatefold featuring various scenes of the event.

Ivan Reiss drew one of the variants, an homage to Jurgen's Funeral for a Friend poster that was included with some versions of Superman #75 and also was on the cover of a TPB. A pretty famous drawing I guess. Supergirl is featured fairly prominently in the crowd, nicely wrapped in her cape in a way I've never seen before, but ah -- who is she? Not who, but what - it's Goopergirl! But you wouldn't know it.

Matrix was heavily featured in that event and the aftermath, but didn't appear in Superman #75.


Martin Gray said...

I dunno about stealth release, TN, I saw publicity for this a few weeks back in a few places. Anyway, it should be good.

Anonymous said...

I believe it. It must have been publicized somewhere! I don't think it was in the solicits, which I review at the sites (CBR and Newsarama) and also in DC Connect PDF pretty closely. And it's an El-family book that Anj would have highlighted when he discusses solicits. I definitely missed the publicity on this one.