Review – Superman: Action Comics #1033 – Brink of War

Comic Books DC This Week
Action Comics #1033 cover, via DC Comics.

Superman: Action Comics #1033 – Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Becky Cloonan/Michael W. Conrad, Writers; Daniel Sampere, Michael Avon Oeming, Artists; Adriano Lucas, Taki Soma, Colorists

Ray – 8.5/10

Ray: While Johnson is down to one Superman book right now, he’s packing enough thrills for two into this title. With a Warworld refugee taking up residence in the Fortress and Atlantis holding a powerful artifact from the destroyed ship, tensions are high—and they only get higher when agents of Amanda Waller try to steal the power source from Atlantis, leading to a state of near-war between Atlantis and the United States. As Murk and his soldiers blockade the Atlantic Ocean and even Aquaman is powerless to defuse tensions, Superman tries to hold off the US military and broker peace—but it seems like the only way to do that might be to go to war himself. Daniel Sampere’s art is especially excellent when depicting the Atlantean army.

Invasion. Via DC Comics.

The less high-octane but no less compelling part of the story involves the Fortress, as Lois tries to keep the young refugee from losing control as she battles to save her fellow slaves. This issue is a pretty nuanced look at trauma, more than we usually get from a non-Tom King superhero comic. And something else Johnson deserves praise for is how he’s developing Mongul as a villain. The character is usually more of a brute-force alien tyrant, but here he’s build essentially a cult of slavery. With his subjects all either broken in mind and spirit or possessing a religious-like loyalty to him, he’s a terrifying villain without even much of a presence. It’s one of the best level-ups I’ve seen in a while.

The Midnighter backup this month actually feels like more of a Mister Miracle backup, as Lucas and Shiloh battle to escape an enemy base. The story is a little decompressed and feels like it would work better in larger segments—this issue really just builds to a cliffhanger that delivers the beginning of an action scene. But the art by Michael Avon Oeming continues to be a massive highlight and it’s good to see the original antihero back in action. I just wish he had a better villain to go with his story.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

Liked it? Take a second to support GeekDad and GeekMom on Patreon!