REVIEW: Action Comics #1066

The terrifying wrath of the Brainiac Queen continues in Action Comics #1066 in the fifth and penultimate entry in House of Brainiac. The Superfamily and the Brainiac family finally take up arms against each other and Lobo, again the last of his kind, must choose the kind of survivor he wants to be. Meanwhile, the nightmare seems to have only begun for the Luthors. 

Rafa Sandoval and Alejandro Sanchez’s cover isn’t the first to feature the Brainiac Queen with the character set to be a major antagonist in DC’s Absolute Power event next month. She is everything good about android and cyber horror with a face that seems partially torn away, dangling wires, and a terrifying AI designed to hate everything organic. She makes her hero-in-peril cover debut here, letting the readers know that she is truly on the loose. 

REVIEW: Action Comics #1066

Jorge Jimenez graces us with a Superman vs. Brainiac variant cover. It’s the simplicity that makes this one so great because that’s what this story is at its core despite all the characters – a Superman and Brainiac fight. Superman absolutely slams Brainiac in this one and some of his hardest hits have been drawn by Jimenez. He hits him so hard the background becomes the onomatopoeia. 

REVIEW: Action Comics #1066

Lobo brings out the best in artists like Mark Spears. Like Glen Fabry, Spears takes photoreal art to the next level with characters (and food) that no camera could ever capture. Space bars are the Daily Planet to Lobo’s Superman, whether he’s roughhousing the guests, cleaning out the bar and kitchen, or both. The detail here is out of this world, even Lobo’s drink has a reflection in it and some of the food actually looks tasty. You have to love Superman’s cape as a napkin too. 

REVIEW: Action Comics #1066

More great variants are done by Paolo Rivera and Betsy Cola. 

The Brainiac Queen has awakened and just wiped out all the Czarians that Brainiac had working for him simply because she was hungry. Lobo does what he does best and survives and realizes Superman and his family may have his best interests in mind. Our heroes face the Queen in battle while Brainiac turns his attention to Lena Luthor who he plans to use as an extension of his systems with his growing network, he’s barely able to control the Queen on his own. 

Superboy is able to overload the ship with his tactile telekinesis and the Brainiac Queen is subdued. But the battle is far from over with Lena in Brainiac’s clutches and his multiverse variants and now his very family enter the fray. For better or worse, not Superman, but Lex Luthor orchestrates a new plan to save his daughter and really stop Brainiac. 

Joshua Williamson’s techno horror is on par with Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s when he was the series writer. Metallo and Brainiac have that much in common. Brainiac’s usually pristine and efficient machinery takes a demented turn. Compared to Brainiac’s other schemes, this one doesn’t seem all calculated and logical. It feels as though there’s some personal motivation coming from the heart. Superman really has his work cut out for him juggling Lobo and Lex Luthor as allies. In a way, the theme here is family with all our characters having some sort of loved one involved – even Lobo with the Czarnians before they were killed. Letters are by Dave Sharpe. 

Rafa Sandoval, Miguel Mendonça and Alejandro Sanchez keep the action coming in this issue – probably more so than any other issue in the arc thus far. If Sandoval has proved one thing as an Action Comics artist for over a year now, it is that he can always draw evil robots. Needless to say, he takes right to the Brainiac Queen in her big debut. We also get some pretty great Superman vs. Brainiac panels. The House of Brainiac members also offer plenty of visual history eggs of the character’s appearance throughout the Ages.

Williamson, artist Laura Braga and colourist Prasad Rad (Pressy) also write a small secondary story centered around Lex and Lena, giving a heartfelt and slightly tragic story of Lex as a father, Lena growing up, and his attempt to rescue her from Brainiac.

(9/10) Action Comics #1066 is the latest in Brainiac’s fight against Superman, not just in this story but historically. The Brainiac Queen tests the waters of the universe she’s soon to inhabit as an antagonist. At the same time, as the houses of El and Brainiac continue to feud, the house of Luthor may be the ace in the hole. 

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