Action Comics #1031 is finally here and continues the epic storyline by Phillip Kennedy Johnson. Since the final page of the previous issue, I have been very eager to pick this issue up. We’re only a few issues into his run, but I have to say I am very impressed and intrigued so far.
But before we get into the issue itself, let’s take a look at the covers. The standard cover is by Mikel Janin and it is glorious, not only does it perfectly capture the contents of the issue, but it executes it with fantastic detail as Superman races towards the line of fire. Though it’s just a background, the detail on the sea level is spectacular too, this is a truly great cover.
The variant cover is by Julian Totino Tedesco and it is sensational. This piece feels like a real golden age tribute piece and that’s down to the clothing the the crooks seem to be wearing and the costume that Superman dons. I love it. The detail is absolutely incredible and feels very realistic, which is always a bonus for me. Totino Tedesco continues to impress with his incredible variant covers each time and I cannot wait to see more of his work on Superman.
Action Comics #1031 picks up directly where we left off in the previous issue, as Superman and Superboy continue their rescue mission. Once the danger has passed they find that the refugees have links to Krypton and decide to dig a little deeper to find out who these people are and what they are doing here.
This series and issue in particular really has a lot to unpack. Firstly we have Superman and Jon’s relationship blossoming, I am really enjoying seeing them work together in this way. Not only are we seeing Jonathan thrive and really take his stride, but we are seeing a different side to Superman too. Secondly, we have the (potentially Kryptonian) refugee that has been found branded with the symbol of ‘The House Of El’, and we also have the Warzoons who are wrapped in chains and looking for a fight.
There is so much going on, like I said so much to unpack, but writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson does a phenomenal job of drip feeding us information that really keeps us readers gripped. That can specifically be said in regard to one of the refugees in particular who this issue goes a long way to really set the story for. We don’t quite know WHO she is yet, but we do know why she has been sent here and by whom.
Phillip Kennedy Johnson does a great job of showcasing just how animalistic these ‘Warzoons’ are and the rather gory artwork by Daniel Sampere definitely helps here too. There is one moment in particular that made my jaw fall to the floor and if you’ve read the issue I’m sure you know what I’m referring to.
If I’m correct this will be the link between this story-arc and Superman: Worlds Of War from the Future State series, which I’m excited to explore. Not only that but in our interview with Phillip Kennedy Johnson, he also mentioned the importance of the chains and to look out for them. This issue goes a long way to start to explain that, which was great to see come together.
Once again Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s portrayal of Superman continues to impress. There’s something really touching about Superman introducing himself as Clark, and that seems to be something that PKJ is really going out of his way to make sure the readers understand. We’re so used to him hiding his identity, so for me it really just hits different when I hear it, it really opens up a new layer of Superman and I can’t wait to see more of it.
The artwork by Daniel Sampere and colours by Adriano Lucas are absolutely phenomenal, every single page and panel is gorgeous and there are so many frame-worthy moments! It’s not just the characters that are incredibly detailed here, it’s everything, from the atmospheres, to the backgrounds, to the costumes and facial details. This whole issue is truly a sight to behold. I particularly love the use of Superman’s silhouette in a few of the panels, the way that his body is shadowed in black, yet his emblem and cape is brightly coloured, like a true beacon of hope for all to see. It’s so beautiful.
The range that Sampere has is already impressive, and I feel like we are only scratching the surface in terms of what we have seen of his work so far. His Superman work is absolutely impeccable and he is fast becoming one of my top Superman artists to date, and that is something I do not say or take lightly.
Action Comics #1031 is another incredible and gripping entry to Phillip Kennedy Johnsons’s run, I truly cannot fault the writing or the artwork in this issue. It really goes a long way to unravel the mystery of these refugees and I cannot wait to find out more about them.
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