Action Comics #1035 review

Action is the name of the game as this issue opens, with Superboy frantically fighting off a near-crazy Thao-La. The refugee from Warworld has seen her friends murdered by lackeys of Mongul, and believes that if she doesn’t kill Superman’s loved ones, the rest of her people will be slaughtered. She’s already attacked Lois in the Fortress of Solitude, but the reporter counsels Superman not to let Thao-La be hurt.

The Mongul-controlled blast doesn’t kill Thao-La, but she’s in a bad way. The device allows the Man of Steel to tell the warlord he’s coming for him. Before that, though, there’s sad business to be taken care of.

In ordinary times, the Justice League would be ready to join Clark for his trip to Warworld in a second, but Superman’s refusal to hand over the Genesis Fragment – a super-battery – means they have to stay on Earth for the moment to appease governments. But they’re not Superman’s only option.

Lois also worries that Clark is flying into a situation that may be too much for him, but his reassurance is mighty.

The issue closes with Superman and his new Authority setting off for Warworld.

The big surprise this issue is that the superb Grant Morrison/Mikel Janín Superman and the Authority mini-series is set in the present day. In it, Superman has referred to a secret mission, but we haven’t learned what it is. Yes, the Superman in there has weaker powers, a subplot that’s also been present in Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s stories, but they’re much weaker than we’ve seen in Superman and Action Comics. Also, Janín’s Superman has the Reed Richards temples… but it does indeed seem that the Authority book takes place between pages 9 and 10 of this issue. Yet all the evidence puts that book decades in the future… could it be that future Superman is sending help to his past self? There are outs as to why all the new Authority members look pretty much as they do in the present day…

… or do we just say, Infinite Frontier, everything counts? Any ideas?

Kennedy Johnson continues to impress with his sharp scripting – the funeral scene is touching, a father-son talk rings true and the Lois moments are exemplary. Here’s my favourite panel of the issue

Krypto is as much a member of the Super Family as anyone else, he matters! Talking of Super people, while Supergirl is still around at the start of the issue, she vanishes without a word, which is a shame.

Daniel Sampere really should be getting a big push from DC – his storytelling and finishes are just the business. Every page looks wonderful, whether it centers on conversation or conflict. Sampere’s Superman is particularly excellent, and the tenderness of his night flight with Lois is something else. And Adriano Lucas, who has been getting plaudits for his work on Nightwing, adds extra life, just look at the ice in the Fortress a few images back, and the glow of the city, below.

And the core creative team is completed by Dave Sharpe, whose letters have the drive demanded by the script.

With the Midnighter back-up ended, there’s room for something else – the Tales of Metropolis strip from recent issues of Superman. And I enjoyed this episode far more than any of the previous ones, as Jimmy Olsen investigates Bloody Mary, City of Tomorrow style. In his narration, the red-headed reporter tells us he needs ‘someone who can handle something this dark’. This excited me, I love teenage witch Traci-13!

Oh. The Manhattan Guardian. Not even the Metropolis version.

Still, this was good fun, courtesy of writer Sean Lewis, artist Sami Basri, colourist Ulises Arreola and that man Sharpe again.

The cover, by Daniel Sampere and colourist Alejandro Sanchez, is a corker, The body language, the expressions, the autumnal palette – it all works beautifully.

So, next month, an extended sequence on Warworld begins. Bring it on.

4 thoughts on “Action Comics #1035 review

  1. By “it does indeed seem that the Authority book takes place between pages 9 and 10 of this issue” are you referring to the editor’s note at the bottom of my page 14 that says “Continued in Batman/Superman & The Authority #1”? That’s a different story than Morrison’s mini-series – a one-shot, I think. But – that will be released on Nov 2, a lonnnnng time from now! Its solicit reads:

    “Following Mongul’s brazen attack on Earth, Superman’s world has been turned upside down: conflict between Atlantis and the surface world, the discovery of an immensely powerful new element, dead refugees with mysterious ties to Krypton, and expulsion from the Justice League! When Superman re- forms the experimental, antiestablishment Authority to join him in liberating Warworld, Batman comes to them with a request: join him for one unorthodox, off-the-books mission first, one he could never ask the Justice League to be a part of…and one he doesn’t expect everyone to come back from.”

    Join him for one mission “first?” Well that seems like a publication date goofup. The team left for Warworld at the end of this issue, but the Batman one-shot is coming out Nov 2 – in-between Action #1036 (Oct 26) and #1037 (Nov 23). The one-shot should come out before #1036. If they delay release of Action #1036 by just one week, it would come out the same day as the special, and then you could just say the special happens first, read it first. Lots of tie-ins have little interstitials where some other story should be inserted in its entirety, but it works best if the publication dates are better aligned.

    I suppose the Morrison series was already fully drawn and they just decided to release it rather than rework it. Since there will probably be some flashback material in Action showing how this Authority got together, maybe they will try to tie Action back to the Morrison series.

    What’s interesting is Midnighter, who is part of the team, was involved in a time loop in his own story. Maybe Superman is in a loop too – an older version of him creates this team and leaves it to his younger self to… but nah, doesn’t make too much sense.

    I agree, Daniel Sampere is superb.I also like Sami Basri a lot, though I still think the best work they (I think “he” but am not sure) did was on Harley Quinn. Basri drew a very expressive and really quite adorable version of HQ.

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    1. Oh, the embarrassment, I misread that editor’s note, missed the ‘Batman’ completely. Anyway, it wasn’t that, I noticed the funeral scene came ‘two days later’ from Superman telling Mongul II that he’s coming for him… he had to be doing some making of plans in that time. That special sounds possibly good – they should add a couple of Outsiders for good measure, as that’s apparently the deal… heroes going extra-vigilante.

      My favourite Sami Basri book was Power Girl – lovely stuff.

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      1. PKJ is writing the special, with an interesting set of artists. Trevor Hairsine, who drew DCeased – some of his stuff looks awkward but some is great, a kind of acquired taste. And — Ben Templesmith?! That’s a name I haven’t heard in a decade, when he was drawing sponge-type work in “30 Days of Night” (which for some reason I was reading). His work is kind of like a brilliant 5 year old drawing stick figures while spilling ink everywhere.

        I see Templesmith drew a Gotham by Midnight series, which is apparently not Gotham by Gaslight.

        Anyway, with the combination of Hairsine and Templesmith, I wonder if this will be a horror story. Too late for Halloween, though.

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