Action Comics #1054 is full of exciting developments for each story involved. Maintaining the anthology format, three stories comprise this fantastic issue. As usual, we’ll dive into three of the stellar covers accompanying this release.
The standard cover by Steve Beach is an up-close view of Superman punching through Metallo. Reminiscent of the heroic trope of busting through rubble when buried, this image is very symbolic of the turning point in this issue. The artwork itself is superb as well, the image has a realistic quality to it that makes it feel more like a live action shot than a drawing.
The variant by Rafa Sandoval and Matt Herms mergers two story offerings into one great image. Superman using Steel’s hammer to break through a barrier may be a bit overkill, but it looks awesome. The blurred edges add a nice sense of motion to the debris while the no-nonsense look on Clark’s face adds a serious tone to the piece.
David Talaski’s variant is a very fun and playful cover. Otho and Osul are tossing huge free weights to each other while an annoyed looking Natasha tests the limits of her Steel suit. Regardless of showing off their superpowers, there’s something about the facial expressions that captures what life is like with eager younglings around. The cover speaks to the nature of the newly expanded El family and is simply a joy to gaze upon.
Keep an eye out for the other two amazing variants by Yasmín Flores Montañez and Ibrahim Moustafa.
The initial installment entitled “Power Like This!” is written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, lettered by Dave Sharpe, with art by Max Raynor, and colors by Matt Herms. This story is absolutely not to be missed! Several chilling scenes create the uneasy tension of the story. Jon’s panicked body language coupled with Metallo’s desperation make for a frantic and suspenseful mood.
The story picks up with Otho engaged with a Blue Earth protest from last issue. Things appear to have gotten out of hand until it’s revealed the incident was a trap all along. The action doesn’t stop as things lead to an epic showdown between Superman and Metallo. Sharpe’s work with this scene drives home the deterioration Metallo is experiencing until his unseen puppeteer relinquishes control. PKJ continues to accentuate both Clark’s ramped up power level as well as his compassionate nature with dealing with Metallo’s situation. Just as things seem to calm down, we’re left with a revelation of epic proportions adding to the 35th Anniversary of The Reign of The Supermen.
“Home Again” part four, written and penciled by Dan Jurgens, lettered by Rob Leigh, inks by Norm Rapmund, and colors by Elizabeth Breitweiser is the second story in Action #1054. Not everything is as it appears in this flashback tale of Jon’s youth. After escaping back to Earth, Jon is given an oral account of Glyanna’s situation on her home world and the perils placed upon her. Meanwhile, Lois and Clark are attempting to track Jon down as Doombreaker continues to stalk Clark. The art utilizes the nighttime setting well and creates a haunting, ominous atmosphere. The ambiance is a perfect set-up for the twist cliffhanger as the dual storylines begin to intersect.
Finishing off the issue is the first chapter of scribe Dorado Quick, artist Yasmin Flores Montanez, letterer Dave Sharpe, and colorist Brad Anderson’s Steel story “Engineer of Tomorrow“. Leading into this summer’s Steelworks series, Quick sets up a few interesting developments that’s sure to have lasting effects going forward. Starting us off in the middle of a fight, we segue into a nicely placed recap of Steel’s origins. The visual montage incorporates scenes from The Reign of The Supermen that are instantly recognizable. This is a brilliant way to get reacquainted with John Henry and his story since his last reoccurring appearance in the Superwoman series of 2016-18. Beginning with a fight on the streets with an old 90’s callback villain and ending up at a press conference addressing the entire world, the art direction and story flow plays as a metaphor to Steel’s journey as a character. We’re then hit with another cliffhanger ending as a mysterious figure watches John Henry’s big announcement with intensity form the shadows.
Action Comics #1054 continues its incredible new format as every story feels it could be the headliner with their in depth storytelling and amazing art. This particular issue alters the stakes in big ways for all three stories and it’s sure to be exciting to see where they take us.