Action Comics #1047 review

Comics today aren’t cheap, but if Action Comics #1047 had consisted of just one particular page, I’d still have left the issue smiling. Superman saves a family from plunging into Metropolis Bay after he ends a pretty unusual car chase.

Adorable. But we are blessed, because there are more terrific scenes to enjoy in the days after Superman’s return from Warworld. Or rather, return with Warworld, as he positions the newly liberated artificial planet by Earth while he finds homes for its displaced peoples. Scenes such as a touching prison visit…

A promise to the UN from the Super Family.

Lex Luthor’s grand day out.

And Lois and Clark taking the air.

If you didn’t follow the just-ended Warworld Saga you won’t know the two orphans, Otho-Ra and Osul-Ra, but this issue is surely good enough to convince a new reader to stick around and see what becomes of them. Then there’s Lex, with a new plan to mess with Superman, and the problem of what to do with who knows how many super-powered extraterrestrial refugees.

Even more compelling is the emotional drama around Lois’s feelings for son Jon, who’s around but, in some ways, lost to her.

Family is all over this issue, from the rescued folk to Lois and Jon, the Warworld Kids, and prison visitor Tracy and con brother John. The warmth of Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s story is reflected in the soft, but strong, pencils of Riccardo Federici. The facial expressions are exemplary – I suspect Federici is drawing from life, in which case the little boy and baby in the car are one day going to see that they flew with Superman. I envy them. The background detail is also hugely appreciated – take a close look at the UN scene, for example… the delegates’ tablets have apps! And the action scene with the yet-to-be-explained hi-tech joyriders (why do they think they could be heroes?) looks tremendous.

Lee Loughridge’s colours are, as ever, a treat, with my highlights being the fire-filled arrival of Warworld in Earth’s solar system, and the romantic flight over the city. Letterer Dave Sharpe isn’t required to provide anything flashy this time, but his work is always a pleasure. One thing he does do that I love is drop the Superman logo in a word balloon, something I always enjoy.

Johnson’s back-up shows us the day Superman and the Authority returned to Earth, providing a wonderful surprise for Family members Supergirl, Steel and Superboy. Also on the scene is Thao-La, the Kryptonian-like refugee who brought the Warworld situation to Superman’s notice. She’s been in a coma for months but has just awoken, perhaps due to the proximity of Warworld – I wonder if she’ll wind up exploring the stars with fellow Phaelosians Otho and Osul. (Before that she could certainly do a spot of babysitting – I wonder who’s watching the bairns in the main strip while Clark and Lois are, well, watching them… oh, hang on, Mr & Mrs Superman are sharing pyjamas, it’s dawn and the kids are up early, excited to be on Earth – no childminder required!).

David Lapham’s art makes a fine fist of showing the joy of the occasion, and I like the clarity of the figurework a lot; also, look at the attention he pays to the relative heights of the characters. This is intelligent storytelling. Sharpe again provides the letters, while DC veteran Trish Mulvihill gives the art extra pop with her vivid colours.

Steve Beach’s cover is a bit of an oddity, and I love it – I’m guessing it’s a tribute to the Adventures of Superman TV series of the Fifties with its barrel-chested George Reeves-style hero, Jack Larson-alike Jimmy Olsen and…is that Lois in Seventies specs? I may have this all wrong! Whatever, I love the image, it’s so good-natured – even the zombie types are having a blast.

Everyone involved with this issue, from the core creatives to editors Jillian Grant and Paul Kaminski, to the unnamed production staff, should take a bow. This is a fabulous Superman comic.

4 thoughts on “Action Comics #1047 review

  1. Got some nice new plates spinning here. So Lex doesn’t have to use his teleporter now – he just projects his neural imprint onto an android. That’s much more practical.

    Does Metallo always look that creepy? That was excellent.

    I guess Superman’s gray hair is gone, and OMAC is alive. I thought she died. But there’s lots I don’t understand – why indeed did the team bring Warworld here if it is still filled with threats? And, there should be far more than 3 Phaelosians with powers (not just the 2 kids and Thao-La).

    I wonder if I will ever be a fan of Supergirl’s new, mature look? A hairstyle from the 1940s, an appearance that she’s in her late 20s, and a costume that lacks appeal. It’s just — there, with the right colors. She certainly looks like she’s due for a name change to Superwoman (though the last Superwoman, Lana Lang, looked a lot younger and sleeker than this Kara does). In fairness, Lapham draws all his women in the same “thick” way, and I was disappointed to see that he is starting off this new backup arc. Federici’s sparse renditions of Supergirl may be slightly better, though we don’t get to see much of it.

    Will Conrad was solicited to draw this issue, so it was a surprise to get Frederici. Mike Perkins is scheduled for October and November, while Lapham continues. December’s #1050 anniversary will see 3 writers and 3 artists, and no Lapham backup is mentioned for December. I’ve always liked Mike Perkins, so if he draws a matronly Supergirl too, it will suggest there’s an editorial edict in place about how to draw Supergirl going forward. And we are perhaps lucky she isn’t yet being drawn in her Future State Tulip Gown!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t recall Metallo ever looking quite so tragic. I’m pleased Corben is at least resisting Lex, I like the characterisation that he’s a good man who went mad for awhile.

      I think I heard that we’ll get an explanation of the hair in the upcoming short story special, it’s probably a matter of the big artificial sun blast on Warworld rejuvenating him.

      You won’t ever like this Supergirl look because it is AWFUL.


  2. Oh, man, the way Clark cups Kon’s head in that sideways hug in the reunion. Lotta character in just that one panel.

    This was a terrific issue, all the way round!

    Liked by 1 person

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