Review – Superman: Action Comics #1036 – The Warworld Saga Begins

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Action Comics #1036 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Superman: Action Comics #1036 – Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Sean Lewis, Writers; Daniel Sampere, Sami Basri, Artists; Adriano Lucas, Hi-Fi, Colorists

Ray – 9/10

Ray: It’s been building for a while, and the Warworld Saga is finally here. Superman and the Authority have blasted off to space, spinning out of the Grant Morrison mini and the recent Johnson one-shot, and this ragtag group of antiheroes has an interesting dynamic. The early scenes where they’re killing time on the ship are surprisingly fun and light, with even hardcore characters like Apollo and Manchester Black getting in on the action. But the tone shifts dramatically as soon as they arrive on Warworld, when they’re met not with a traditional supervillain attack, but with a grim trail of corpses. Mongul doesn’t fear them—he wants to send them a message, and it’s a surprisingly gruesome one.

The long journey. Via DC Comics.

The opening segment of the issues, as we learn that the United Planets knows more about this crisis than they’re letting on, sets the scales and tension. But as soon as the heroes arrive on Warworld, the tension ramps up and builds for the entire main story. We don’t actually see Mongul for most of the issue, but his presence is overwhelming. By the time he actually arrives, ready to go to war, we’ve already had a massive reveal that ties up a lot of the continuity hiccups from the two versions of this property. Why did Superman look older in one than the other? This is actually a very clever twist, and shows how well Johnson has been planning this story for the better part of a year. If they have to take Superman off Earth, this is the kind of story that makes it worth it.

The main story is fantastic, and after that the backup is just good. The Tales of Metropolis stories have been a great way to give the spotlight to some residents of the city that rarely get attention, and this is a fun conclusion to the Guardian story that pitted him against a digital-age boogeyman. Dismember, who kidnaps kids through their electronics, was a haunting presence last issue, but his menace is a little decreased this issue as the hero finally confronts him on his turf. The resolution is a little quick but satisfying, and it feels like a good setup to the Metropolis detective squad Jimmy Olsen is building. A fun backup, but anyone following Johnson on this title has their work cut out for them.

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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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