While Superman contends with his own nightmare manifestation in the form of Super-Reaper in Knight Terrors: Superman, the Superman family, and cast of Action Comics face their own nightmare onslaughts being brought on universe-wide by the new villain Insomnia in Knight Terrors: Action Comics #1.
Rafa Sandoval and Matt Herms’ combine both the issues’ feature stories into one horror-themed cover with Power Girl and Cyborg Superman. Color and tone are everything here with subtle blood where metal meets flesh on Cyborg Superman, letting readers know that this isn’t a typical daytime Superman story. Sandoval has always been a great Action Comics artist, especially after the Cyborg Superman and Metallo story arc as has Hearns.
Mico Suayan’s variant cover turns the tables on Cyborg Superman as he comes face to face with Super-Reaper from Knight Terrors: Superman. Super-Reaper appears as a shadow on the cover itself and only in the reflection of Henshaw’s metallic skull. While his robot half can’t express much, there is nothing but fear in his human eye. The metal textures are details with that Terminator influence with an added nose to what is usually a skeletal face. The human textures look nearly photo-realistic. While Cyborg-Superman isn’t a victim of Insomnia, Suayan’s variant raises a good question of what his nightmare would be.
Gerald Parel also combines the two stories into one illustration with his variant, giving us a Cyborg Power Girl. It makes you wish she was an official character in DC. It’s a timely reference to having her rip her jacket from Action Comics. The neon textures give it a cyberpunk billboard feel and you could just hear the red electricity crackling from her robot eye and arm. Parel didn’t leave the background totally blank either with a blue laser light show.
Additional horror-themed covers by Dustin Nguyen, Otto Schmidt, and Meghan Hetrick feature Power Girl.
Coming right out of a confrontation with Johnny Sorrow, “Paige” Power Girl continues her adventures as one of Insomnia’s many victims across the DC Universe. However, the source of her own nightmares may be more based in reality. At the same time, it’s also an Earth-2 story. Power Girl’s story begins with a nightmare back on her home planet that’s straight out of Tales From The Crypt. It’s all scary to think about and surreal to see as she escapes her mad boyfriend and her parents refuse to help her. The nightmares only continue to spiral from there with her friend, Omen, becoming a focal point. Still, there is something extremely technical about the nightmares Paige is having.
Leah Williams, lettered by Becca Carey continues the definitive contemporary Power Girl saga from the pages of Action Comics. We’ve really come to care for Paige as she’s been redefined and the cast of characters that follow her. Vasco Georgiev illustrates a tale of science fiction horror rather than supernatural as the whole event of Knight Terrors is while Alex Guimaraes colors. They had their work cut out for them in the horror department with tech and surreal scares.
In the second story, Osul-Ra and the Kent family are coming off their own confrontation as well with Cyborg Superman – he’s still a bit shaken up by it. On a dark, scary movie night with his adoptive family, he wakes up in the quiet Kent house to find that he and the others aren’t alone. The cast here includes Conner, Kenan, Natalie, and his sister Otho –and they’re all just as charming as a family as they are in the pages of Action Comics. Now, we see them as a cast in a horror movie-like setting, not too different from the one they were just watching.
Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s Superfamily and everything that makes them great are all there in the first four pages of the story. Kenan is still learning English from Conner and Natalie continues to be a great babysitter for Osul and Otho. Johnson is also no stranger to the horror genre and the influence of scary movies here is undeniable. Mico Suayan and Fico Ossio illustrate while Romulo Fajardo Jr colors to create a gritty and more realistic art style that more than fits the story, the letters are done by Dave Sharpe.
Knight Terrors: Action Comics #1 concerns the new villain Insomnia attempting to unmake the DC Universe through endless nightmares and the hero Deadman’s efforts to stop him. No hero or villain is safe during this time, not even the Superman family. It’s also not too often to see horror-themed Superman stories.