Mild Mannered Reviews - Action Comics

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Action Comics #1050

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 27, 2022
Cover date: February 2023

"Project Blackout"

Writers: Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Tom Taylor and Joshua Williamson
Artist: Mike Perkins, Clayton Henry and Nick Dragotta
Cover: Steve Beach
Variant Covers: Various Artists

Reviewed by: James Lantz
Click to enlarge

Lex Luthor has Manchester Black hooked to a machine which will tap into his mental abilities. Perry White, upon entering the Kent home, suffers a heart attack and stroke when he sees Superman with Lois, Martha and Jonathan. A hyperpowerful signal watch calls to Superman from LexCorp. Whatever Luthor wants could bring great change to the Man of Steel very soon.

Manchester Black is dead, and Superman and Lex Luthor are on the moon battling one another. Luthor feels Clark lied to him by keeping his superpowers a secret when they were in Smallville. If he wasn't good enough to know the truth about Clark being Superman, then nobody else is. Lex created Project Blackout to use Manchester Black's telepathic abilities. In spite of media evidence of Clark and Jon being the Supermen, a planet wide psychic wave has blocked this memory, forcing people to reject the facts. Luthor did this so the Supermen wouldn't seem relatable to the world at large. Only Lois, Jay, Jonathan and Martha - who were protected by the protective shield around the Kent Farm (along with the Superhero community) - recall that Jon and Clark are Supermen. Clark is worried how Jon will take this news, but the Son of Kal-El is just enjoying what could finally be a normal life. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor is incarcerated in Stryker's Island while his hologram monitors a newly rebuilt, more organic Metallo, while other versions of Kal are being murdered throughout the multiverse. Jon Kent will be needed to investigate.

The Dawn of DC will begin with "Superman #1," "The Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent #1" and "Action Comics #1051".

3Story - 3: I feel like the three writers' styles clash in this issue. Granted, on their own, they work in the titles for which they write. Tom Taylor is hit and miss for me. Yet, Joshua Williamson and Philip Kennedy Johnson have done a lot of comics I have enjoyed. There are just some scenes that feel like filler material, forcing the book to lag somewhat. It isn't bad. However, I did expect more from such an important milestone issue. The future of Superman does look bright in hands of Johnson. However, I'm still on the fence about what the other creators will bring to the table when the next issue comes out. We'll just have to wait and see.

Speaking of being on the fence, I'm not sure how I feel about the decision to make Clark and Jon have secret identities again. On one hand, the creators did do better than Marvel did with their "One More Day/Brand New Day" debacle in their Spider-Man comics. On the other, I feel like the character evolution will be pushed back as it was in "One More Day/Brand New Day". Such a thing made me stop reading Spider-Man. Sure, some dynamics could return. However, what price will good storytelling pay as a result? I do have misgivings, but at the same time, I'm curious to see what direction Superman and his friends and family will go.

3Art - 3: It's no secret that I'm no fan of two artists drawing one book unless they have similar styles. The visuals suffer from many of the same flaws as the story. Those combined with panels that seem overinked and Superman's face looking like an Easter Island statue during some moments in his battle with Lex make this just an average issue.

5Cover Art - 5: While I'd probably choose an Alex Ross image for the main cover of such an important issue, the art is downright stupendous.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Except for digital first releases, the month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

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