Action Comics #1055 is finally here and the cyborg menace behind the Necrohive menace and Metallo’s puppet master has been revealed as none other than Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg Superman. The rescue mission is on as the Super-Family and Metallo have nowhere left to go but after him. This run has been acclaimed for bringing a new Super-Family together and it all really comes full circle with the inclusion of Cyborg Superman and another new, yet old, supporting character.
The character of Cyborg Superman is also a product of his time, right in the 90s during the hype for the blockbuster Terminator 2 Judgement Day. Design-wise, he’s Superman combined with the Terminator which one could imagine several artists could have fun with. Sebastian Fiumara gives us a Norman Rockwell-like rendition with all the elements in place – the suit, the robot parts, and the tendrils are a nice touch. Being such an art style, the level of detail is just superb. You have the smooth, plain, suit contrasted with the complex, mechanized features.
The theme of robotics continues with Al Barrionuevo’s variant cover featuring John Henry Irons. He’s really going to be busy this year with his new series and this covers shows him at work both as himself and as Steel. Seeing him in the public light is also extremely nice and signifies his growing identity as a major hero in Metropolis after so many years of being seldom spoken about. Barrionuevo has one of those smooth art styles that look painted even if none were used which results in very pleasant textures.
David Talaski gives us a strong variant with Connor and Jon, the Super-Bros, lifting weights so large that it’s just as comical as it is impressive. Both are portrayed in their classic suits rather than the special ones they wear in this series. The blue and white snow-textured background indicates that they could be in the Fortress of Solitude. Talaski captures their personalities with how they lift and it really does fit with the theme of the Super-Family the series has been running with.
As well as these, there are two other variant covers which are by Bernard Chang and Rafa Sandoval.
Action Comics #1055 opens up with Clark, Jon, Connor, Natalie, and Kenan continuing to fight off Kryptonite cyborgs after getting Metallo to safety. It is here that the voice that Metallo has been hearing and being controlled by is revealed to be Cyborg Superman. At this point, he had been trapped in the Phantom Zone but his vast technopathic powers prevented him from ever truly being banished. In fact, Lex Luthor had a hand in bringing him back.
At the Fortress, Superman and the team along with Metallo mount a rescue mission to find his sister Tracy, who Cyborg Superman has had captive this whole time. However, Clark enlists the help of another party. One that represents his Kryptonian heritage a little too well and really reunites the whole Super-Family.
There’s some great stuff among this simple issue compared to other ones, perhaps that’s due to the mystery being wrapped up. Metallo feels like John Corbin in some moments during the rescue mission and reminds us why he’s one of the most tragic Superman rogues. Phillip Kennedy Johnson, lettered by Dave Sharpe continues his Action Comics tradition of including as many characters as he can that have the crest of El. It’s wild seeing Superman have a full team on a case that isn’t the Justice League. Johnson hopes to normalize it and the heart he has given the Super-family really helps.
Sandoval’s illustrations prioritize characters and actions over simplistic backgrounds. For panels of highly durable super beings being blasted and engulfed in lasers, this works really well. This issue can be described as a light show with all the effects and that can be difficult to capture in static images. The colors by Matt Herms help make it all happen in addition to Sandoval’s drawing.
The Doombreaker saga by Dan Jurgens and Lee Weeks continues in its fifth chapter in this issue. As Superman and Lois try to subdue Doombreaker, news of Jon’s interplanetary whereabouts reaches them. It’s interesting to see where this story which didn’t seem much at first glance goes at this point.
Steel: Engineer of Tomorrow by Dorado Quick and Yasmin Flores Montanez also continues into its second part. John Henry Irons shows what Steelworks has in store for Metropolis with the latest modern defense tech. However, Irons comes to find out that he may be opening a Pandora’s Box of sorts.
Let’s just say that with Actions Comics #1055, the Supermen reign again. This had to be one of Johnson’s many plans when he got his hands on the Superman lexicon. There’s explosive confrontation right out of the gate, and excellent character reveals as the story reaches the belly of the beast.