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.