Action Comics #1052 has released and every story picks up where last issue left off. All three stories presented come with their own set of new developments and insights making this a thrilling must-read issue.
All the covers are must-haves as well, so let’s take a look. Steve Beach plays with the colour scheme in a fun way on the standard cover. The Super Family is all gathered and the reds and blues of every outfit blend into the background as if they were in front of a green screen. Their heads and hands, along with the rest of their suits, are drawn in a more detailed and defined way that really adds to the effect. Apparently it’s good enough to warrant a foil variant which is sure to be an eye catcher. The uniqueness of using such drastic art styles in the same piece really shows off Steve Beach’s talents.
Clayton Henry and Marcelo Maiolo tease the Power Girl instalment for their variant. Power Girl and Supergirl stories are fairly unpredictable and the bright yellows on white background suggest this one gets heated. The panicked look in Omen’s eyes and the clear agitation of both Women of Krypton cleverly summarises their story within.
There’s a sport inspired look to the variant by Rafa Sandoval and Matt Herms. We’re looking up at the members of the Kent/El legacy gathering in a huddle with the sunlight shining through the middle. The smiles on all their faces encapsulate the joyful approach this new era of Superman seems to be conveying with fans.
The incentive variant by Jorge Fornes is a great horror take of Metallo’s former body. Obviously broken with wires exposed, the one red eye hangs aglow with life, a vibrant colour on a dark and haunting image. Down but never out, this cover captures the formidable spirit of this deadly villain.
Lee Weeks takes us to Jon Kent’s Treehouse of Solitude for their variant. Using shades of purple to show a moonlit forest, Jon’s red cape really stands out. The sense of isolation Jon’s feeling in this lonely image is powerful and relatable to that age of adolescence. Unsure if the intention was meant or not, the particular use of colours feel like an homage to Superman: Red & Blue.
The company wide Black History Month variant is by Khary Randolph and Alex Guimarães. Showcasing the Irons family, John Henry and niece Natasha are both suited up as Steel. Appearing ready and determined, beams of sunlight flash off the senior Steel’s armour for a classic heroic pose. They really capture the iconic look of John’s Steel armour and masterfully add style and attitude to Natasha’s suit. It may be wishful thinking, but here’s hoping Randolph and Guimarães end up working on the upcoming Steelworks comic.
The main story, “House of Metallo” is drawn by Rafa Sandoval with colourist Matt Herms. Their visuals are nothing short of stunning. The way they direct the action sequences is full of motion and sound. Metallo’s memory flashbacks are done in a clever and amusing way as well. Even the living room scenes are full of details that keep them light and interesting.
Phillip Kennedy Johnson, lettered by Dave Sharpe, deliver a great issue full of escalating circumstances. Just as quickly as Metallo came on the scene, Steel and Superman exit him. This initial fight sequence also serves to answer which origin belongs to Metallo as John Henry and him exchange blows. The aftermath of the first round brings into question who Metallo is really hearing in his head as evidence suggests it isn’t Luthor. Realising he’s outnumbered in his endeavour to vanquish The Man of Steel and his newly united family, Metallo sets a plan in motion to even the odds a bit. This story really leaves you wanting more and it’ll be exciting to see what happens next.
“Home Again” part two is the second story in Action Comics #1052 with art by Lee Weeks and colours by Elizabeth Breitweiser. Taking place at night on a farm it stands to reason there’d be a darker tone to this story, but Weeks and Breitweiser find a way to fill the pages with just the right amount of colour to avoid it being too gloomy. There’s a very 1950-60’s era sci-fi feel to their art which adds to the nostalgic nature of this story.
Dan Jurgens with letterer Rob Leigh, continue the encounter Jon has with a newly arrived alien visitor. Trying his best to help a situation he doesn’t fully grasp, he’s quickly whisked away on an impromptu adventure. Meanwhile, the being known as Doombreaker travels cross-country in hopes of finding help outside of Star Labs. It’s always helpful to remind yourself these types of stories set in the past already have a known outcome, but Jurgens knows how to keep you guessing and worry for the character’s safety.
The third instalment of Action Comics #1052, entitled “Head Like A Whole” part two has art by Marguerite Sauvage. Her hyper colour style really suits this story of going into people’s mindsets well and is a real treat to the eyes. She effortlessly transitions her art style between the “real world” and that of the “psychic plane” by simply altering her colour palette. It’s simply gorgeous and it’s fantastic it gets to be in the pages of Action Comics.
Leah Williams, lettered by Becca Carey, tell a fascinating story involving Power Girl and Supergirl. Although it’s still a little unclear what origin is being used for Power Girl, she’s clearly an alternate version of Kara Zor-El. Tensions run a tad high between her and Supergirl as they try and figure out why Kara has lost her ability to speak anything but nonsense. While in Supergirl’s mind, Karen discovers a mysterious message to her and talks about the distance and isolation she feels from the El family. It’s something rarely addressed and it’s good to see Williams tackle that bit of continuity insight. Knowing this is only a three part story within Action Comics, here’s hoping this may lead to another Power Girl solo title somewhere in the future.
Action Comics #1052 contains stories that really sets the bar high for future Superman endeavours, the Dawn Of DC is in full swing and so far I think the talent has proven itself worthy of the challenge.