REVIEW: Action Comics #1048
Action Comics #1048 sees action begins to heat up and the pleasantries of Superman’s return are over. There’s something larger on the horizon as a result of Superman’s deeds on Warworld and it appears no good deed will go unpunished.
Action Comics #1048 is here and Superman may be back home on Earth after his time on Warworld, but this issue makes the unintended threat created as a result clear. At the same time, the Man of Steel’s supporting characters really shine in this issue. It goes to show that it’s really good to be back in Metropolis again and not the arenas of Warworld.
Steve Beach always creates memorable covers with his realism-based style with subtle influences from real people. Here, he illustrates Superman going where else, but up, up, and away through the cloudy skies. The influence of the George Reeves incarnation of the Man of Steel from the suit to the face is clear. The creases in the costume and the shading are all done so brilliantly that it looks photorealistic.
David Lapham gives us a pop art extravaganza with his variant. This was the supporting cast of Superman in the Silver Age – before Superboy, when it was him, Supergirl, and the Super pets. Comet the Superhorse and Beppo the Superchimp are old faces that haven’t been seen in quite some time. Naturally, Streaky and Krypto are there too. It’s so strange to see Superman and Clark Kent on the same cover – the last time that happened they were literally fighting each other. You have supporting characters like Lana, Lois, Supergirl, Cat Grant, Jimmy, and Perry – all in the perfect poses to complement their characters.
Rafael Sarmento takes Superman to the Fortress of Solitude’s entry hall, complete with the mammoth key he uses to lock it. In some iterations, a key is a small object of near-infinite mass. Here, it’s just absurdly huge. The finer details are on the key and Superman here. it’s smooth and feels cool, especially with Superman’s visible breaths and the surrounding ice crystals. The colors also help this cool feeling a bunch by keeping the lighting fixed and dim, much like in actual winter.
Riccardo Federici presents sketches of Metallo as his variant. With any other character, this wouldn’t be all that interesting, but with Metallo it makes sense. These sketches come across as design schematics on John Corbin’s metal body powered by Kryptonite. They’re more or less finished so that adds to the immersion for an incredibly unique cover.
Another great unique cover, especially for Action Comics, is the variant to celebrate the theatrical release of Black Adam with The Rock’s iteration of the character in all his glory by Ivan Tao. The details on his suit and likeness are accurate to his appearance on screen and sure to go with other variants that celebrate recent DC movie releases like The Suicide Squad and even Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
Right off the bat, we hit the ground running in Action Comics #1048 with Lex visiting Metallo in prison – trying to get him back in the supervillain game. Back on Earth, we’re already seeing action from Superman’s foremost enemies. However, Metallo isn’t having any of it and tells him off in a verbal blaze of glory. It’s fitting having Metallo be in the spotlight of the first story with Superman returning, after all, Metallo was the first villain in Superman’s debut solo series.
Reunions are over for Clark as he springs back into action doing what he does best – saving the world. Duty calls when two familiar foes come to Earth in search of what is known as Olgrun’s heir. Olgrun is an ancient presence released when Superman completed his trials on Warworld and his aspect is imbued in one of the Phaelosian refuges he has brought to Earth until he can find them a new home.
Phillip Kennedy Johnson lets the supporting cast of Superman shine here with Metallo, Lex Luthor, and even a great moment with Bibbo Bibbowski encountering the otherworldly foes. Action Comics’ strength has always been focused on such characters while leaving the main series to really focus on Superman. Johnson really writes here what could’ve been an episode of the animated tv series. There’s something big happening in issue #1050 and Johnson thickens the plot with each approaching issue as Superman returns.
Sometimes, Mike Perkins’ art feels too good for a mainstream DC book here – it’s Black Label quality. It’s a sort of graceful blend of realism and comic book art. His panel of one of the villains with Bibbo looks like a photo drawn over but using a scratch-like style. You have some big hits being thrown in this issue as well which is pure excitement. Again, stuff straight out of the animated series. Lee Loughridge colors have a dominant tone that suits each mood – metallic grey for Metallo and Lex Luthor’s conversation and bright grain for outdoor scenes with Superman.
Action Comics #1048 sees action begins to heat up and the pleasantries of Superman’s return are over. There’s something larger on the horizon as a result of Superman’s deeds on Warworld and it appears no good deed will go unpunished. We can also expect some heroes to rise within the House of El within the next couple of issues.
1 thought on “REVIEW: Action Comics #1048”