Action Comics #1046, “Warworld Revolution” Part 4 pits Superman on a classic hero’s quest of strength, wisdom, and honor.
This penultimate chapter of Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s epic Warworld Saga is filled with nonstop action as Clark faces three trials in hopes to keep the true secrets of Warworld out of Mongul’s hands. Meanwhile on Earth, the present day House of El confront an old villain in an attempt to reclaim the stolen Genesis Fragment.
Lucio Parrillo does a fantastic cover showcasing John Henry Irons as he tinkers with the energies of the Genesis Fragment. Cleverly placing their previous two issue covers on monitors in the background, Parrillo incorporates the connection between the main and backup stories. Typically depicted with a shaved head, Parrillo adds a unique element to Steel by giving him a distinct hair line.
The variant by Lee Bermejo has Superman displaying a feat of invulnerability as he stands between a volley of bullets and a pair of innocent bystanders. It’s a great take on the Faster Than A Speeding Bullet aspect of his powers. I also think Bermejo’s Superman resembles Henry Cavill and it’s nice to see a version of him wearing the classic outfit.
Just in time to kick off the last days of Summer, Stanley “Artgerm” Lau treats us to the company wide Swimsuit Variant. Kara joyously taking a selfie at the beach with Clark posing in the background perfectly invokes a sense of lightheartedness associated with Summer vacations. Artgerm’s work is always phenomenal and I especially think this piece is poster/pin up material.
Artist Fico Ossio and colorist Lee Loughridge take on the interior art for Action Comics #1046. Adding even more alien and fantastical elements to Warworld, the issue takes place in the depths of the planet few have traveled. It’s cool to have a different art style than Riccardo Federici imagining the story at this point as Ossio and Loughridge bring a sense of otherworldly eeriness to Superman’s trials.
Like the mythical exploits of Hercules, Perseus, and Atreyu, Phillip Kennedy Johnson puts Superman through three heroic trials to obtain The Fire of Olgrun. The Warworld Saga on a whole is the struggle of maintaining hope through overwhelming circumstances. We’ve mainly witnessed Superman’s power to inspire, lead, and spread hope as he finds a way to end Mongul’s tyranny. Phillip Kennedy Johnson expertly uses these trials as a way to showcase and remind us the depths of strength Clark truly has. In a series full of heavy decisions, hard fought victories, and devastating loss, it’s nice to see Superman be more himself this issue. Of course things aren’t so easy when a surprising betrayal befalls The Man of Steel, setting the stage for a finale that’s sure to be epic.
The back up story in Action Comics #1046 continues to tie into the main story as Conduit faces Steel, Kara, Conner, Jon, and Keenan Kong for possession of the Genesis Fragment. Still needing the fragment to stabilize Thao-La, Team Superman finds Conduit a somewhat formidable foe. Able to hold his own for awhile, Conduit gets desperate and issues a warning of who’s to come. The mystery of why Conduit was tasked to retrieve the fragment is left unanswered with a promise to be continued in the finale, Superman: Warworld Apocalypse #1, which is out next week.
By contrast, David Lapham and colorist Trish Mulvihill gives us a more traditional comic art style in the “World Without Clark Kent” Part 3 back up story. Without the need of any kind of locational blurb we can definitely tell we’re back on Earth for this story. There’s a sense of animation captured in the 8 page story making it feel more like a regular length comic. It’s impressive how many characters are involved without getting confused in the action.
It’s hard to believe we’re reaching the end of this arc that quickly became one of the best Superman stories every written. I have little doubt PKJ will fail to deliver a satisfying finale and can’t wait to see what more he has in store for us.