Action Comics #1048 review

It’s Visiting Day in Metropolis.

Businessman and part-time supervillain Lex Luthor drops in on John Corben, aka Metallo, the man with the kryptonite heart.

Lois Lane takes houseguests Osul and Otho-Ra to see the critters at the city zoo, which isn’t meant to be a prison…

While Lois is beckoning an old pal to join her on panel, they’re followed by some decidedly unfriendly faces.

It’s Orion, Desaad and Kalibak, servants of Darkseid from the dread world of Apokolips. They’ve arrived in the wake of Superman’s recent liberation of Warworld, from where Osol and Othol hail. The twins are tough cookies, but aren’t asked to step up as the guy joining them and Lois above was none other than Sooperman’s Pal…


I love Bibbo. The pugnacious bartender with a heart of gold was a staple of the ‘Triangle Era‘ Superman line in the Nineties, so given that creators behind the upcoming tweaking of the current books have vowed to recapture that vibe, he’s right on time.

But can he really beat Kalibak, senior savage son of Darkseid? Don’t worry, I may not have shown Superman yet, but he’s around and he’s not going to see his family and friends suffer at the hands of space bullies.

He is going to be perturbed when another New God shows up, with a rather unreasonable – to Earth thinking, anyway – demand.

I’m not giving too much away because this is a pretty great jumping-on issue; if you’ve not tried Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s take on Superman, here’s your chance, as a Day in the Life issue becomes a matter of life and death. Yes, the story comes after the epic Warworld Saga, but Johnson plays fair, introducing characters and situations with flair.

Keep an eye out for subtle touches such as Metallo’s doodles – he’s thinking of family life but his clunky metal hands allow only stick people to emerge. Poignant. Lex Luthor could improve matters, yet still he tells the narcissist where to stick his offer. At heart, kryptonite or no, Corben is trying to be a good man.

This month’s guest artist is Mike Perkins, whose realistic illustrative style suits the script down to the ground. And speaking of ground, I especially like this page, which – I take it – shows Superman pulling back his telescopic vision after checking in on Lois and co from an off-planet position. The earthy colours are courtesy of Lee Loughridge, while Dave Sharpe letters with love.

And the artists’ depiction of a psycho-killer beardy cat is unmatched.

A what? I told you, buy the book.

Also buy Action Comics #1048 for the back-up, the linked Red Moon serial which this time stars Supergirl. She’s been tasked with guarding Metropolis, along with another Warworld refugee, Thao-La. Along the way, she’s helping the Phaelosian learn how to use the super powers that come with having a Kryptonian-style physiology under Earth’s sun.

As for the particular bad guy whose threat to the City of Tomorrow could be imminent, it’s one of defeated Warworld dictator Mongul’s lieutenants, who’s followed them to Earth. The nastiest one.

The growing relationship between Kara and Thao is charming, as the newcomer is welcomed into the Super Family, whose other members we see in a terrific montage sequence by illustrator David Lapham and colourist Trish Mulvihill. The fonts come, once more, from Dave Sharpe.

I’m not sure if Thao is sticking around in this book – I suspect she’ll be leading an exodus to help her fellow former Warworld prisoners find a permanent new home – but given how quickly she adjusts to super-hearing, she’d be an asset to Kara and co.

Steve Beach’s suitable-for-framing cover illo of Superman is glorious. More please.

Action Comics – edited by Jillian Grant and Paul Kaminski – is the only DC book I’ve bought this week, pretty much every other one being some variation of Batman. And while I like Batman. It’s very rarely these days that DC presents the variety of Batman I want – see World’s Finest, Batman Vs Robin or, heck, the Batman and Scooby Doo! Mysteries. So thank goodness for a(nother) superb issue of a dependably delightful dish. Taste it.

6 thoughts on “Action Comics #1048 review

  1. Great review of a great book. Johnson really has a feel for the voices of everyone. And Perkins art is (as always great). His Kalibak is monstrous.

    I do wonder why Orion is here on the Apokolips side of things. I thought he was a good guy. And frankly, with all the booting and rebooting, this might be the current state of the state. But it was odd to see him chummy with Kalibak.

    You’re better at keeping things out of the review. But Superman remembering Jon being taken away and deciding that he won’t let that happen again was THE moment of the book for me.

    And Kara certainly gets treated well here. I like her as a mentor for Thao. Already she is doing a better job here than she did with Ruthye in the book that shall not be named.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Is that Clark Kent on the cover or Les Dawson?
    Bibbo’s back! Forget Black Adam, Dwayne “The Artist formerly known as the Rock” Johnson should have made a movie as Bibbo Bibowski instead.
    The full body suit for Supergirl is ridiculous, dull, and unmemorable. Down there with red triangle over the groin and white t-shirt versions. Things have gotten so goofy that they may as well have Supergirl in a hijab (y’know, even tho’ she’s not a Muslim). It’s bizarre that with all the talk of diversity that there seems to be a drive to make all the female characters look the same. It’s incredibly sexist to presume that all women want to dress as “modestly” as the Amish (not to mention that this is all *fantasy*, they may as well have all the musclebound heroes wear baggy clothes – off with those capes boys, that’s so *unrealistic*!) Never let it be said that extremists of all kinds aren’t idiots. That said, the new designs that many of the Supercharacters are modelling now stink, both male and female. Regardless, there’s something unspeakably bizarre about liberals behaving as insanely about superheroines in skirts et cetera as conservative religious loons. Not very liberal at all. Sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great points, George, where are the Dream Girl-style body positive heroines and heroes proud to flaunt they body they’ve worked hard to get. Bring back the original Black Condor and Firebrand outfits. Get Hawkman in the Black Adam film in a sexy strap number. I would love go see Supergirl back in something with actual hot pants, or a mini skirt.


  3. Ha! Yes. Perhaps.
    As to the Black Condor and Firebrand outfits, yep, why not! Tarzan ran around in a loin cloth and I didn’t give a toot or feel threatened. Helen Slater looked unbelievably beautiful in her Supergirl costume but she didn’t seem any less strong to me. It seems body positivity goes only one way now. Hypocrites!
    Do they really think all young or older women want to slouch around in dungarees or not to look good if they are able. I’m not sure what world or which country they are living in. Earth Denial?!

    Liked by 1 person

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