REVIEW: Action Comics #1067

Action Comics #1067, “Challenge from the Stars: Part 1” marks the beginning of Gail Simone’s Superman Superstars story. Set somewhere in Superman’s earlier career, the tale masterfully bypasses the events of Absolute Power for those that may be feeling crossover fatigue. The back-up story is also a brilliant look into Lois and Clark’s professional life and how their roles as Editor and Superman can clash.

The standard cover is by Eddy Barrows, Danny Miki, and Tomeu Morey. Their work is an instant classic playing on the shirt opening transformation from Clark to Superman. The use of a Max Fleischer inspired emblem along with Clark’s old signature fedora instantly transports us to a different time. The shading from off panel blinds also gives a noir feel to the piece which adds to the yesteryear ambience. A perfect cover to match the interior art, it’s also given the foil variant treatment.

REVIEW: Action Comics #1067

Wes Craig’s variant plays with the Max Fleischer era of Superman as well. Superman barehandedly blocks the oncoming laser assault of a giant 50’s style robot to protect innocent bystanders. It’s a great way to show the shear power Superman displayed back then as well as a fun take on that era of the character.

REVIEW: Action Comics #1067

Keeping in the theme of fashion from days past, the variant by Pablo Villalobos lands Lois somewhere in the 70’s. It’s definitely a great look for her as she stands confidently with a splash of sass meeting Superman atop the Daily Planet building. It also serves as a great reminder that Lois’s spunk has always dominated her personality as she commands any scene she’s in, even if it’s just the cover.

REVIEW: Action Comics #1067

There’s a retailer incentive variant by Ben Oliver that gives us the rock’s perspective from Action Comics #1. Effortlessly lifting a vehicle above his head, the shadows stop as soon as it touches the emblem of hope. It’s also a great concept piece as what Superman looks like isn’t important suggesting it’s the deeds, not just the man, that defines greatness.

REVIEW: Action Comics #1067

The main story’s interior art team is Eddy Barrows, Colorist Danny Miki, and Inker Rex Lokus. Together they instantly set the scene of this throwback tale with their fashion designs and art style. There’s a brightness to the lighting that adds an extra pop of vibrancy to each panel while maintaining a grounded sense of realism. From page one the art screams adventure and the story delivers. There couldn’t be a better creative team to capture the essence of this issue.

The back-up story’s art is done by Cian Tormey and Colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr. We last saw Tormey when he worked on Superman: Son of Kal-El, and Fajardo is currently rocking it on Power Girl. Together they deliver some engaging visuals to compliment this character driven story between Lois and Clark. They even cleverly homage the Lois & Clark logo from the “New Adventures of Superman” TV show as part of their title sequence.  

Gail Simone, lettered by Dave Sharpe, comes out swinging with this first installment to her Action Comics run. The newsie trio of Clark, Lois, and Jimmy all work for WGBS Telecommunications and the banter between these three immediately sets the tone of their relationships. Lois being dismissive of Jimmy wanting to be called Mr. Action and Clark correcting himself when he refers to him otherwise is just gold, and that’s only the first few pages. Simone then sneaks in a cameo of Black Lightning before aliens arrive and want to conquer Earth. Once Superman realizes things can’t be dealt with peacefully, he accepts their trial by combat scenario. The fight scenes that follow are spectacular as well as the final twist at the end. This is sure to be a story that lives up to the title of the book as this winner-take-all battle is just getting started.

Then to ease us off the adrenaline high of the main story, Rainbow Rowell, also lettered by Dave Sharpe, brings us to a more present day conflict with Lois struggling to transition from reporter to editor entitled “Lois & Clark: In Love. At Work”. After giving some sage advice, Clark rushes off to be Superman and gets kicked off his own story as Lois feels his involvement as The Man of Steel is a conflict of interest. A flabbergasted Clark feels like he’s being treated unfairly but Lois points out Perry didn’t know his dual identity all those years before. It definitely sets up an interesting dynamic as Clark finds himself married to his boss and how that may affect both their professional and personal life going forward.

(9/10) For a first chapter story, you couldn’t ask for much better. Instant set up and execution, cliffhanger twist ending, superb art, and a great jumping on point for new and/or returning readers. This easily has the makings of being something special as it’s already a lot of fun.

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