Action Comics #1059 is here and the mystery of the Blue Earth Movement begins to thin as Superman and Steel take on the role of knights of steel against this new regime coming to power in Metropolis. With plenty of callbacks to the Warworld Saga and Superman and The Authority, this is an issue that can’t be skimmed over.
Superman and Steel, that’s all you need to know to sell you on Steven Beach’s cover for this issue. With his power sapped from his last encounter with Blue Earth, Clark dons an armor fresh from Steelworks and his sword from Warworld. They really do look like knights here. Beach’s covers are always keepers with his epic, photorealistic handling of Superman and the current cast of Action Comics. There’s an artistic use of colors as Clark and John Henry defend their city with the orange hue of the rising sun from the literal forces of darkness. Ninjas may seem like a random choice, but it begins to make sense having read the issue.
Jorge Jimenez, who James Gunn himself has confirmed to be one of his favorite Superman artists, does a very welcome variant that is more or less a homage to a scene from the 1978 film. They’ll say it’s impossible, but isn’t that what Superman does? Here, he subsided in for a plane engine that just exploded mid-air. Jimenez’s Superman pieces are always bright in every literal way.
Tyler Kirkham gives us a fierce Superman variant with glowing eyes that could honestly go on a poster on its own – or any type of merch for that matter. It’s almost like Kirkham was doing his take on Superman as he was in For What Tomorrow by Jim Lee. Among all the creative and complex variants in this issue set, Kirkham’s is a refreshingly simple one.
Other great variants for this issue are by Carla Cohen, Mike Deodato Jr., and Francesco Tomaselli.
The Blue Earth Movement isn’t playing fair or nice anymore. They have their own squad of bootleg Supermen who really enjoy the power more than the responsibility. Superman isn’t going to let his temporary power drop stop him as he suits up with Steel and takes the fight directly to the Blue Earth Movement. They aren’t alone, the Super-Family is on the scene as well. But, Blue Earth’s leader Nora Stone is revealed to have an interest in someone other than Superman.
The Super-Family regroups at Steelworks and sees that Stone is also manipulating any and all media coverage about them to make them look like threats. Clark remains concerned about how she is somehow siphoning Kryptonian powers from the family to make her own Super-Family or even Justice League as Lois said. Clark also makes a startling discovery about the true identity of Nora Stone because this is actually not the first time they crossed paths.
Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s Super-Family saga seems to have a loose end that needs tying from back in the days of Warworld and Superman’s work with The Authority. Among all that action and saving the day, there continues to be a fun family dynamic among the main cast. Otho calls Kara “Aunt Kara” and Osul continues to be fascinated by Kryptonian fairy tales. He’s also cemented Superman’s status as a trained swordsman, and man, is it fun to watch him with one! Letters are done by Dave Sharpe.
Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira and Matt Herms bring this issue to life and there are some really great panels from this collaboration. Right off the bat – a chase, a confrontation, then a battle. Metal rips, Earth crumbles, and eyes light up in this brawl that feels much deserved after that last issue’s main battle being fought largely through speech bubbles. Superman’s armor design is also one of the best things to come out of this issue.
Kenan’s story, Secret Identity, comes to a close as he must make a decision between the Super-Family or Bat-man, who had sent him as a spy to gather intel on them in the first place. What will it mean for his continuing superhero career and identity as Super-Man? Gene Luen Yang concludes this significant chapter in his life with art by Viktor Bogdanovic and colors by Mike Spicer.
We also check in with Jon and how he’s doing with Jay in “A Heart in Metropolis” by Dan Parent with art by Marguerite Sauvage. That’s pretty much all it is. It’s great to know that they’re happy after not seeing Jay for a bit. But with Jon, didn’t he have electric blue powers at some point? His adventures on the Injustice Earth also go unmentioned. Still, it’s a nice cutesy story.
Action Comics #1059 is a break in the Blue Earth movement case and some readers may have underestimated our new antagonist. Stakes are more than raised and it’s clear that the Super-Family has just experienced the calm before the storm.