Action Comics #1045 continues a truly compelling and iconic story arc by Phillip Kennedy Johnson. Each issue we are treated to stunning art, great writing and legendary Superman moments. I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying this series.
Before we get into the issue itself, let’s take a look at the covers. The standard cover is by Lucio Parrillo and it is magnificent! I’ve been a fan of Parrillo’s work for a while now and this is no exception. The realism is perfect as Superman is pulled towards the ground. Whilst I’ve been loving Superman’s new Warworld look, it is SO good to see him back in his classic costume.
The variant cover is by Rafael Sarmento and is a very detailed side profile of the Man Of Steel. There is some excellent realism here, I particularly love the differences in skin tone and the detailing on the suit, not to mention the Daily Planet globe just behind him.
The opening sequence to Action Comics #1045 really acts as a reminder to just how high the stakes are and how against the odds Superman and his allies are with this fight on Warworld. Regardless of this, the hope that Superman has instilled in the people exceeds their fear and it is so inspiring to see. With that in mind there is only one option left for them, and it’s a risky one at that.
During the debates on what to do, Superman makes an endearing speech that acts as a reminder to why he is their hero and why the people have so much hope instilled within him. He often carries burdens and all of his actions have consequences, but this situation in particular us on another level – he is risking the lives of people who have chosen to follow him, not only adults but children. The way that writer, Phillip Kennedy Johnson has portrayed this is fantastic, not only do these people have hope because of him, they look up to him and see him as their saviour.
This issue connects a lot of the dots for this series, though there are many more to go. We learn exactly who or rather WHAT Byla is and how he has so much knowledge when it comes to Superman and his exploits. I have to say I was not expecting this turn, but it is a welcome one as it made for some excellent surprises and artwork.
Speaking of, the artwork is this issue is by Will Conrad and Brent Peeples, with colours by Lee Loughridge and letters by Dave Sharpe. I have to say it is particularly stunning in the first half of this issue, a lot of the story is told through flashbacks which are action packed and incredibly detailed. The colour palette used for the candlelight effect lighting really allows us to experience the location and really adds to the gladiator-esque feel that this series has.
I will admit there is a rather drastic change of art teams within the issue. Both art styles are great and perfectly suit the tone of the issue, however the switch just felt a little disjointed. With that said the second half of the artwork is a little more simplistic in terms of details, but man, the reveal of Byla towards the end of the issue is a sight to behold. I’m looking forward to seeing more of that.
The second story in Action Comics #1045, ‘A World Without Clark Kent’ is written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, with art by David Lapham, colours by Trish Mulvihill and letters by Dave Sharpe. This short story goes a long way to explain the plan previously mentioned and I really enjoyed it. It was great to get a bit more insight into the plan and how it will all work.
We also saw the reintroduction of a classic Superman villain who has been out of play for a while, which was great! The action sequences within this story were phenomenal, especially considering it was only a few pages long. Not to mention, the outcome of the showdown, that will make for some awesome moments in the issue to come I’m sure. Not to mention THAT excellent Lois Lane moment!
The artwork was great here, it had a really classic 90’s style to it and that’s thanks to the cartoonistic vibe and vibrant colour palette that it had. I am a sucker for that era of comic art, so it was a very warm welcome from me.