REVIEW: Action Comics #1065

Action Comics #1065, “House of Brainiac, Part 3” splits its focus between Superman & Lobo’s space fight with Brainiac’s Czarnian gang and Kara & Conner’s infiltration of Brainiac’s ship. There’s also a back-up story entitled “Brainiac and Son” that sheds more light on Brainiac’s motivations and answers the question of what’s happening to his descendants during this event. There’s plenty of twists and turns this issue which makes for an edge-of-your seat experience and leaves you wanting more.

The standard cover is by Rafa Sandoval and Alejandro Sanchez acts as a great recap of where we left off with Kara and Conner in ‘Superman’ #13 while simultaneously foreshadowing where they’re headed this issue. Surrounded by a horde of Brainiacs, Kara and Conner have each other’s back ready to fight. Even with it being a multitude of one character, Sandoval and Sanchez put plenty of detail into making each version of Brainiac distinct and recognizable which makes for a fun cover you don’t get tired of looking upon.

REVIEW: Action Comics #1065

The variant by Jorge Jimenez and Matt Herms is not only fun but also funny. Appearing to be racing each other, Lobo and Superman are full speed on their respective bikes. It just so happens, Clark’s is a bicycle! Obviously not needing the bicycle to propel at such speeds, the idea is enough to make one laugh. It’s definitely my favorite cover of the month.

REVIEW: Action Comics #1065

Putting a retro Silver Age spin on his art, Paolo Rivera captures the long time rivalry between Superman and Brainiac quite literally. Trapped in the bottled City of Kandor, Brainiac looks on proudly as Superman helplessly bangs against the glass. The subtle nuances of detail make it absolutely stunning and hits all the right nostalgic themes.

REVIEW: Action Comics #1065

Other great variants are by Mark Spears, Iván Talavera, and Ethan Young.

The main story’s art team is Rafa Sandoval and Miguel Mendonça along with Colorist Alejandro Sánchez. Between Lobo & Superman’s action sequences and Kara & Conner’s heist-like antics, there isn’t a single boring moment within these pages. There’s some pretty amazing imagery including an unexpected evolution of Brainiac’s ship. The Czarnian space battle is just spectacular and really plays like a summer blockbuster action movie. Throughout all this, the visual tone never loses its entertaining sense of high adventure.

The back-up story’s art drastically changes in mood and tone. Brought to us by Mirko Colak and Colorist Mike Spicer, “Brainiac and Son” has a more sinister and foreboding feel. This part of the book adds to the mystery of Brainiac’s ultimate plans and the art reflects it well.  

Joshua Williamson and Letterer Dave Sharpe handle the storytelling of both features in ‘Action Comics’ #1065. In “House of Brainiac, Part 3”, we pick right up from ‘Superman’ #13 with Lobo and Superman having to fight their way through General Chacal’s gang. Loosing their space cycles in the process, the unlikely partners end up needing to regroup at a seedy space station but it’s not long until Chacal tracks them done. Williamson then shows us, once again, the level of character understanding he has for everyone he writes as Chacal manages to appeal to Lobo’s ruffian nature. However, is it truly Lobo switching sides or just part of a unsuspecting plan? Only the next installment of ‘House of Brainiac’ has that answer. 

Meanwhile, Kara and Conner begin sneaking around Brainiac’s ship in their shrunken state trying to find answers of their own. Able to free Livewire and Parasite, the quartet resize the two Kryptonians before getting separated. We then follow Kara as she runs afoul of Brainiac Prime. Williamson plays up their storied past here, and it’s such a delight to have them both be unsettled by each other’s presence. Bearing witness to the evolution of Brainiac’s ship, Kara manages to reflexively jump to her escape with Lex only to remember she’s still powerless. Their fate also remains to be seen by issue’s end.

Then the back-up story in Action Comics #1065 takes an aside and addresses Brainiac’s present day “offspring”. Apparently, not only is he collecting various versions of himself but also his progeny. He seems to have a more sinister plan beyond recruitment for his children, however, as he has several already imprisoned. Here we get way more insight to what’s happening with, or to, Brainiac and what his end goals might be. More mysteries pop up as others are revealed in this third chapter of ‘House of Brainiac’.

(9/10) Even though some of the end results of this crossover has been revealed through the hype of ‘Absolute Power’, the journey has proven to be worth the ride. I’m especially impressed Williamson stayed true to Lobo by not boxing him into his “good guy” version that tends to happen when he teams up with heroes. The additions of Brainiac’s successors also makes the title of the crossover more than just a play on The House of El and keeps the uncertainty of the story’s outcome shrouded in mystery.

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