Action Comics #1053 from DC brings very personal character stories into the midst of finely honed action. So loving the three stories per issue smorgasbord, and each is in the middle of some very personal Kryptonian storytelling. The first one is written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, drawn by Rafa Sandoval, eye-popping colors by Matt Herms, and excellent letters by Dave Sharpe.
‘Unmade’ continues the Metallo storyline. At the end of the last one, Metallo had kidnapped members of the anti-alien group Blue Earth and subjected them to cruelty and forced cybernetics. This issue opens up with those twisted victims-turned-monsters as they descend on Steel. The Steel focus as it opens is very good. Johnson sneaks us enough of what may come in this hero’s future series but doesn’t over-saturate the narrative with it.
The attack brings in some of the Super Family, and the fighting gets intense, even near fatal, right quick. These men play for keeps. So is Metallo, who believes Superman has kidnapped his sister. But Superman’s love, his humanity, resounds in the middle of this turmoil. Yeah, maybe, just maybe, Superman sounds old-fashioned in his speech. But heroes are so rarely this heartfelt in comics nowadays. Johnson hasn’t pulled back on what makes the Man of Tomorrow tick while showcasing that the rest of his impressive family does not see things the same way. There’s a bit of setup for future internal conflict. But this first story kills it with the dialogue, Sandoval’s winning art, Herms’ gorgeous coloring, and Sharpe’s superb lettering make this story a modern classic. There’s some beautiful light SFX stuff going on, plus more ‘fun’ with Luthor and Metallo just keeps getting more interesting.
Five stars, hands down, and we haven’t even gotten to the other stories yet.
‘Home Again, Part Three’ has brought Doombreaker to the Kents’ doorstep in Smallville in this tale told in the Rebirth past. Classic Supes writer Dan Jurgens pens this with the master Lee Weeks on pencils, Elizabeth Breitweiser on colors, and Rob Leigh on letters. Lois is threatened, but Superman in the Kryptonian black costume makes a triumphant defense courtesy of Weeks’ penchant for little details and a perfect handle on human anatomy.
This part gives us a lot of Doombreaker and some cool Superman lore. The story moves along at a good pace; the characterization is on point by a writer who knows these characters like old friends. Breitweiser has created a cool, soothing, yet eerie pastel nighttime color scheme that I love to death. Leigh borders panels with balloons with ease, making sure clarity is retained while images shine. This reads like an updated 90s issue of Superman. Five stars.
Action Comics #1053 soars even higher with its third act, the next part of ‘Head Like A Hole,’ featuring the newly psychic Karen, a.k.a Power Girl. Leah Williams writes this amazing gem of a story while Marguerite Sauvage continues to make the moves to become my fave artist (sorry, Mr. Weeks) and has a rich style of coloring. Becca Carey handles all the dialogue, lots of it, with deft skill. PG’s still doing superhero psychology with Omen, trying to uncover who input a mental language barrier into Kara (Supergirl) from the last issue. This attack is somehow indirectly aimed at Power Girl. Well, this time, the attack has spread to Jon Kent, who guest stars in a haze of teenage confusion. So here we get a fun head-to-head as Power Girl’s passive aggressive vibes about feeling ousted from the Super Family take center stage again.
The story is innovative in plot and how Sauvage coaxes Williams’ words into fun, bubblegum imagery. I still find this is my fave. Five stars, flawless execution. It’s as fun as it is character-revealing, quirky, and uses powerful heroes in an interesting way.
Great Caesar’s ghost, buy this! Three epic stories, not one is lacking. Each is drawing from the well of the Superman mythos while having a blast expanding it. The writing is top-tier from three brilliant writers in league with some of the brightest stars in the universe of comic book art, coloring, and lettering.
Action Comics #1053 is available wherever comic books are sold.
Action Comics #1053
Three epic stories, not one is lacking. Each is drawing from the well of the Superman mythos while having a blast expanding it. The writing is top-tier from three brilliant writers in league with some of the brightest stars in the universe of comic book art, coloring, and lettering.