Superman: Action Comics #1029 – Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Becky Cloonan/Michael W. Conrad, Writers; Phil Hester/Eric Gapstur, Michael Avon Oeming, Artists; Hi-Fi, Taki Soma, Colorists
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: Phillip Kennedy Johnson is taking a leisurely approach to the start of his Superman run—which is funny to think about, given that he’s starting out by pitting Superman and son against an army of interstellar invaders. But the backdrop to the battle against the Breach is a nuanced father-son story about what happens when children realize their parents aren’t invincible. Why is Superman vulnerable to the creatures of the Breach, bleeding when cut? What does Jon know about the future from his time in the Legion? These questions create a compelling backstory to the battle that makes up most of the main story, even if the narration seems to be the main reading material for much of this issue.
I’ve been skeptical about the decision to age Jon up for a while, especially since his dynamic with Damian used to be so much fun. But this is easily the best anyone’s done with the older version of the character—giving him the same heroic instincts as his father but a more reckless streak that leads him to make a risky move to protect his father from a seemingly preordained fate. A flashback to Smallville involving a young Clark and the elder Jon Kent drives home that Johnson really knows how to write the super-family—I’m hoping to see his take on Lois soon. The reveal as to the villain isn’t much of a reveal given how Johnson’s run started, but it’s a compelling kickoff with some great character work.
I’m a little less positive on the Midnighter backup by Wonder Woman writers Cloonan and Conrad, with art by Michael Avon Oeming. Midnighter is back in the present with all the memories of the Future State timeline, unlike every other hero. Also back is his arch-nemesis from that period, now a sentient robot head with designs on making the reality come true in this timeline. Most of the story is the two of them verbally sparring as Midnightwer slowly loses his mind (with Apollo outside the door asking Midnighter to leave his lab). This is definitely vintage Midnighter, displaying over-the-top violence in the few action segments. The run is steeped in Wildstorm influences, and that’s now when Midnighter is at his best anymore. It’s an effective read, but I’m more interested in Midnighter and Apollo, not Midnighter and evil robot head.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.