Action Comics #1039 is here! Superman and The Authority are weeks into their captivity on Warworld after having been bested in the previous issues, and now it feels like this Mongul arc has truly started in earnest.
The main cover by Daniel Sampere, by the artist’s own admission, is a beautiful homage to classic gladiator movie posters from the 70’s, “Le fils de Spartacus” in particular. The framing amid a stark white background gives it that vintage feel and the detail on the characters is gorgeous.
The first variant is by Julian Totino Tedesco and is a rare departure from his typically standalone classic Superman covers, with this one actually eluding to the plot within the book. Though Superman is still depicted in a version of his classic garb, rather than the on model look of the character within the issue. The rendering is amazingly beautiful as always, I dare say with his classic style and amazing talent, Tedesco is becoming the Norman Rockwell of comic books.
The third and final cover by Riccardo Ferderici gives us an epic painterly look at Gladiator Superman, standing among other slaves with a menacing looking Mongul in the background. This cover is beautifully detailed and also evokes a classic feel, but in a very sci-fi pulp “John Carter of Mars” sort of way.
As stated, in this issue Philip Kennedy Johnson gives us a look at the day to day life of the inhabitants of Warworld, which now also include Superman and his team. As discussed in our interview with PKJ on The Aspiring Kryptonians Podcast, he begins to delve deep into the ancient history and lore of Warworld, crafting a deep and fleshed out background for this arc’s setting. That is certainly coming to light in this issue.
Speaking of deep and fleshed out, the interior art by Riccardo Federici is absolutely stunning, it gives this book the feel of a classic sci-fi magazine or novel, as Federici did with his variant cover. It is jaw dropping artwork, that perfectly matches the tone of the issue and story-arc. The level of realism is unreal.
The last three issues, including this one, have given me strong “Planet Hulk” vibes, and if you know anything about that Marvel story arc, you know comparisons to it are NOT a bad thing. This series seems to be building up to a story just as epic and rich, and sure to deliver similar thrills and I can’t wait to see where this story goes.
Action Comics #1039 transports us back to the sci-fi pulp fiction of yesteryear with stunning painted art, epic writing and the classic backdrop of the gladiatorial slave genre.
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