Friday, October 28, 2022

Review: Action Comics #1048

 Action Comics #1048 came out this week and was another wonderful issue in this great run that writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson. This is part three of the Kal-El Returns arc but really we are still in the aftermath of the Warworld Saga. 

The first part of the issue has the main story, Superman's story, set in Metropolis. The art in this part is by Mike Perkins, who I last saw on the Lois Lane book. The aftermath of Warworld, the legend of the First God Orglun, and the tangential touches on the Fourth World are all at play here. And it all really works. The addition of Otho and Osul Ra is so welcome here, giving Lois and Clark kids to care for. Johnson just adeptly shows how these two are still hurting from the years they lost with Jon. Moreover, all the 'Genesis' and 'Old Gods' stuff comes home with some of the New Gods showing up. 

Perkins just crackles here. His style works well for big battle art. I remember his fisticuffs being a strong part of the Lois book. The New Gods looks huge. And yet, at the same time, the smaller scenes of the kids at the zoo, have just as much polish. His Metallo is robotic and yet somehow forlorn. Wonderful.

But as great as the first part, the back up feature, the second part of Red Moon Rising, with art by David Lapham, is just as great. This is a Supergirl back-up, with Kara showing Thao-La the ropes, teaching her to be a hero, acting as protector of Metropolis, and ready to throw down against Mongul's lackeys. This is Supergirl. I love Lapham's style here, giving Supergirl a sort of classic look, powerful and graceful. 

Everyone should be buying this book.

On to the specifics.

We start with Lex talking to a suddenly powered and rebuilt Metallo, trying to goad him into fighting Superman. After all, Superman has brought Warworld, a planet of alien barbarians, to Earth's orbit.

At first Metallo tells Lex to stuff it, going so far to bash a table and briefly hurting or scaring Lex.

But I love how Lex immediately gets his composure back and makes a veiled threat to Metallo's sister, the one person who has been kind to the villain. Later we see that Tracy hasn't come to visit Metallo as she usually does. Hmmm ...

Luthor is awful. But that is what makes him so delicious.

In Metropolis, it's a day at the Zoo for Otho and Osul. It probably seems very familiar to them, very familiar.

But this small touch, of Otho being irritated by her zoo wrist band, was my favorite moment of the scene. She had lived her whole life with chains and shackles. Now she is out free. This thing on her wrist is bothersome where as before she embraced those chains.

This is why comics are a great medium.

Look who else is there, looming larger than life ... Bibbo. 

I am a big fan of the palooka. And I like a growing supporting cast.

And he is great with the kids.

High above it all is Superman.

Johnson has such a great handle of Superman's inner voice. He knows he was lucky to be found by the Kents. Now he is 'Jor-El', sending the Warworld people out into the universe. And he hopes they will be half as lucky as him.

For me, this story could have been 'Clark Kent Returns'. Clark knows the Kents made him who he was.

Such a nice inner monologue. 

But he can't be alone in his thoughts too much. A 'Boom Tube' opens up in the zoo. Orion, Kalibak, and Desaad all show up. Thankfully Superman returns before Kalibak can kill Bibbo.

The New Gods are upset because Superman ignored all the text in the Necropolis and awoke Orglun's flame. You can't wake an aspect of the Old Gods without repercussion.

I have to admit I haven't read much of the Fourth World recently. It seemed off to me that Orion is acting all chummy with Kalibak and Desaad. Is he ruling Apokolips these days? Or working with Darkseid??

Then Metron shows up to represent New Genesis.

When they all realize that the Flame of Orglun is inside Osul, they New Gods demand to take him away.

This was my favorite moment of the book. Superman remembers allowing Jon to go with Jor-El. He won't let another 'his' children be taken away. I love those piercing eyes with the dead pan 'over my dead body'. 


It's a brawl. 

Look at these behemoths as drawn by Perkins. Incredible. His Kalibak horrific!

The back-up shows Supergirl teaching Thao-La how to use her powers. How do you fly? How do you control your super-hearing.

Supergirl as a mentor is great step forward for Kara given recent stories. I love the graceful body language in that first panel while Thao looks so awkward. And then Kara extending her hands to Thao to stabilize.

So perfect. Lapham captures it so perfectly. And I love the sort of 40's starlet hairdo he gives Supergirl.

This is Supergirl.

The super-family knows that Chaytil, one of Mongul's Elite, had access to an Orphan Box and could be on Earth seeking revenge. We see every member scouring the Earth.

What I truly love here is that Superman put Supergirl in charge of protecting Metropolis. That is Clark's home town. And he put its safety in Kara's hand. That is how much he trusts her. Thank you Phillip Kennedy Johnson!

And I love the look of Metropolis. 

Chaytil is in Metropolis. And it looks like he has mutated the other Elite into some monstrous kaiju.

Looks like it is gonna be another throwdown. I hope Supergirl wipes the floor with him.

I've gushed enough. 

This book keeps chugging along. Everyone should be reading it.

Overall grade: A+


Bostondreams said...

Darkseid is under chains by Pariah and the Great Darkness right now in the timeline (this is all happening before Dark Crisis), so Orion has taken over.

Anj said...

Thanks for the info! Very appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Good to see Bibbo in continuity (AKA “In House Popeye”), Superman needs a few blue collar friends :) Love the artwork on this book across the board…its even good to see Supergirl once again ruling the back pages of Action Comics, its a place of honor for her IMHO.
As for her hair, it seems to be a modern approximation of her mid 1960’s modified bouffant, which probably depended on the extensive use of curlers…these days maybe not so much:)
Supergirl training Thao-La seems logical and gets Kara far away from the moral bankrupt depicted in “Woman of Tomorrow”, but it also makes me suspect she is still gonna be “kicked upstairs” as Superwoman to make room for Thao La the New Supergirl…but thats a mere suspicion derived from an otherwise worthwhile comic.


H said...

I really like that cover- who's the artist on that?

Martin Gray said...

I wondered that too, what a glorious variant.

Great review Anj, well spotted re: the wristband!

Anj said...

Pretty sure that is David Lapham on the variant.

Such a great cover!