Superman: Action Comics #1034 – Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Becky Cloonan/Michael W. Conrad, Writers; Christian Duce, Michael Avon Oeming, Artists; Adriano Lucas, Taki Soma, Colorists
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: As Phillip Kennedy Johnson takes Superman towards an extended journey in space, based on solicitations, he seems to be trying to break him down as much as possible. Part of that is putting him in impossible situations—such as the current standoff between the United States and Atlantis over the Warworld artifact. Both sides are acting irrationally, and it doesn’t take long before it turns from a standoff into a hot war and Superman has to decide whether to let his allies go to war or to do something that will make him their mutual target instead. His decision is very Superman-esque, but I imagine it’s going to put Superman in a position he’s rarely been in—the outlaw.
Equally intense is the other main story, focusing on Lois Lane alone in the Fortress against an army of Warworld invaders, with only one unpredictable refugee as her protection. This story could have easily turned Lois into a generic damsel in distress, but Johnson gives her a lot of agency and even some badass moments no matter how outgunned she is. There is some surprisingly brutal violence in this segment, driving home just how cruel the world of Warworld is, and the tension builds until a shocking cliffhanger. This is how you elevate a villain into an A-lister—Mongul’s presence looms large over this entire series even without him appearing on a single page of this issue.
Then it’s the penultimate issue of the Midnighter backup, with the story dovetailing into next week’s oversized annual for the conclusion. It’s been an interesting ride, with the partnership between Midnighter and Mister Miracle being particularly fun to watch. The action is great, but the story can be a little convoluted and the villain remains fairly generic. But as the issue ends and we finally get the confrontation we’ve been waiting for, I expect this creative team will bring it home for the finale.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.