04th Oct2021

‘Action Comics #1035’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson | Art by Daniel Sampere | Published by DC Comics

If someone ever said to me you can only read one character from DC going forward, everyone who knows me wouldn’t even need to hesitate before giving an answer. Clark Kent. I say Clark, as I love pre-Crisis Superboy almost as much as Superman himself, though Super-Baby was a bit of a stretch. Time have, of course, been changing in the Super-books. Always interesting storylines, but I’ve not always been thrilled with how Clark is being increasingly sidelined, as Jon is being increasingly positioned as the new Superman. My misgivings aren’t just based on preference and history, DC after all owes its existence pretty much to Superman, but also on a feeling that this is all being done with an eye on exploiting a franchise even more. Younger, or female, versions of characters seem to be all the vogue at the moment it seems.

But I digress.

A good story can make minds change, and I’m always open to persuasion. Times change after all. Although this is part six of ‘Warworld Rising’, and I normally wouldn’t review the sixth part of a storyline as it would be a little confusing, this issue has been signposted as the end of a era. It begins though with the Warworld wrap up, as Jon Kent and Supergirl continue their bone crunching battle with Thao-La, who has been forced into fighting them by Mongul, who holds her people hostage on Warworld. Clark intervenes, bringing his trademark reason to the fight. He promises Thao-La he will help her to free every slave on Warworld if she trusts him. How could you not? She does, though at heavy cost. Superman manages to connect to Mongul across space and tells him he’s coming for him. The future is becoming clearer by the page.

Time for the Justice League to drop by, but it’s not the nicest of social calls. Although they’ve dropped by to check on Clark, it’s also to confirm that he’s out of the League. His involvement in forcefully taking the incredibly powerful Genesis Fragment (despite the requests of both Atlantis and the U.S to keep it) have made Superman something of a world pariah at the moment. As the League have to work with governments across the world, they right now have to cut ties. This also means they won’t help Clark with his mission to Warworld. It’s a sad day. As always, the last word goes to Batman. Bruce tries to convince Clark not to go, as his dropping power levels and Mongul setting an obvious trap make it almost suicide. Clark, of course, does have help in the shape of The Authority, though no-one knows about that yet. Except Bruce of course.

Time, now, for goodbyes. Although Clark keeps assuring everyone he will be back soon, it all sure has the feeling of someone knowing they might not return. Farewells with son Jon are hard enough, the one with Lois is a killer. Beautifully written and drawn by Johnson and Sampere though. Goodbyes over, time to meet up with The Authority, and time to go to work. The times are most definitely a-changin’. The issue rounds out with a Guardian back up by Sean Lewis and Sami Basri, which is ok but too short to really get much of a feel for. Not bad though.

An issue that almost delivers on the build up that preceded it. I probably expected a little more than what I got, but it was nonetheless a strong read. It most definitely felt like the passing of the baton, and Johnson handled it with the affection and care you would hope for. As ever, Superman does what’s right, not what’s easy, and at personal risk and personal loss. I’d expect nothing less. The art by Daniel Sampere and colouring by Adriano Lucas made this a pure visual treat. Sampere draws a majestic Superman, with a handful of stand out single panels scattered throughout. My favourite, though, is that with Clark and Lois in the sky, harking back to the original Superman film, and panel that sums up why I love Superman so much. Not the powers, it’s the man behind them. An alien more human than those he lives among. Lovely stuff.

Still sad to see Clark being sidelined so much, but happy it was done so well. Comics is usually about the illusion of change, and I know Clark will be front and centre at some point in the future. For now, this is now Jon Kent’s job, so let’s give him a chance.

I’m sure he’ll be Super.

****½  4.5/5


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