Action Comics #1040 is finally here and with every issue that arrives I find myself further engulfed in the story.
But before we get into the issue itself, let’s take a look at the covers. The standard cover is by Daniel Sampere and Alejandro Sánchez and features a sneering Mongul holding the tatters of Superman’s cape. It’s an epic cover, reminding me of the 90’s Doomsday images where he strikes a similar pose. Such a parallel truly elevates Mongul in the Superman pantheon of villains.
Cover B by Julian Totino Tedesco continues his “Rockwellian”streak of iconic Superman covers evoking a man of Steel from days gone by. In this composition, members of the superhero community all work together failing to win an arm wrestling match against a smiling Superman. It’s a fun and playful composition, sure to ruffle the feathers of Superman detractors, and bolster the spirits of faithful fans.
The final cover for this issue by Alexis Franklin, is a Black History Month Special cover featuring Natasha Irons donning her Steel suit, Tony Stark Style, utilizing nano technology. This is a great cover for a great character, even though she doesn’t appear in this issue.
Inside the issue, Philip Kennedy Johnson deftly continues to spin more epic John Carter of Mars style classic pulp storytelling, complete with gladiator matches, strange creatures, and lots of blood, sweat, and sand. Superman continues his crusade to educate the shackled of Warworld about the lies they’ve been told, and about the hope they can have for their future. Meanwhile, plans are drawn for an eventual uprising, while Mongul’s dark designs come together in the dark.
Each moment is expertly rendered in amazing classic-sci-fi-magazine-cover-detail by Riccardo Federici, who is giving Supergirl Artist, Bilquis Evely, a run for her money for the title of most beautifully rendered interior art. Each panel is layered, textured, and composed in cinematic glory, giving us a story we can almost tactically feel. Mongul in particular this issue is depicted as the pinnacle of a well muscled warrior, looking unbeatable by just standing there, giving him an impressive and imposing presence.
Action Comics #1040 thrills us with beautiful rendered gladiator pulp fiction, and heartfelt hope in the darkest places. This is a Superman story worth your time.
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