Mild Mannered Reviews – Action Comics #1051

Action Comics #1051

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Action Comics #1051

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 24, 2023
Cover date: March 2023

Cover: Dan Mora
Variant Covers: Steve Beach, Lee Weeks, Rafa Sandoval, Jorge Fornes, Sergio Davila, Jordi Tarragona, David Nakayama, Jack Herbert and Warren Louw

Reviewed by: James Lantz

“Speeding Bullets” – Part 1

Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Rafa Sandoval

The people of Metropolis and the world are starting a new chapter in their lives. Lois Lane and Clark Kent are happy with their extended family. Jon and Nat Irons are about to open Steelworks Tower, a building that is officially the tallest in the city. They plan to use the technology there to help the world and the universe whenever possible. The City of Tomorrow is growing and evolving to be better. Yet, the happiness felt by Superman and those around him could be short lived, as Lex Luthor is using Metallo for his nefarious plans.

During the Steelworks Tower opening the Super Twins (Phaelosians Otho-Ra and Osul-Ra) have been introduced as part of the Superfamily alongside Clark, Jon and Connor Kent, Kara Zor-El and Kong Kenan. Celebration is cut short by an explosion caused by Metallo. The Superfamily goes into action to save people from the blast while Connor looks for the cause, only to be grabbed by Metallo. The Kryptonite powered cyborg must kill Superman and anyone who stands in his and Luthor’s way. If he doesn’t succeed, his sister will pay the ultimate price with her life.

4Story – 4: This first chapter is actually rather good. However, it does feel like some pages were omitted in editorial. Phillip Kennedy Johnson seemed to have more in mind for this issue. The pacing itself is fast, but had there been just slightly more story in the final product, it would have been perfect. Phillip Kennedy Johnson continues to show he has a great grasp on Superman’s part of the universe better than most modern comic writers.

4Art – 4: Some panels don’t seem to suit the superhero genre. Those perhaps would work better in a manga or an Archie comic book. However, the art is still very good. Metallo is particularly well drawn.

“Home Again”

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Lee Weeks

[NOTE: This story takes place after the events of “The Death of Superman 30th Anniversary Special”]

Lois, Clark and Jon Kent have returned to their old farm house. As they get settled in, a supposedly comatose Lloyd Crayton has disappeared. Doombreaker could be free once again. To further complicate things, Jon has secretly taken the bone of Doomsday that turned Crayton into Doombreaker. He believes nobody else can be trusted to protect his father from its power. Jon hides it before investigating a crashed space vessel. A young humanoid girl exits from the ship asking to meet this planet’s king. Can Jon trust her, or will she become a greater threat to the Kent family than both Doomsday and Doombreaker combined?

5Story – 5: I do feel like relegating the Lois and Clark feature to a back-up is a demotion for such a great title. At the very least this sequel merits its own mini-series. Hopefully, what we see in this book and future chapters will lead to that. I’m in ‘wait and see mode’, as I am with “Power Girl,” which I read before this. However, I did enjoy this nonetheless. The end of the first chapter feels like a tribute to various Superman comics from years ago. Newer creative teams could learn a thing or two from Jurgens and Weeks.

5Art – 5: I’m a big fan of Lee Weeks’ art, This is a bit rougher than his previous comics, but that roughness works perfectly for the style of story Dan Jurgens is trying to give us.

“Head Like A Hole”

Writer: Leah Williams
Artist: Marguerite Sauvage

Power Girl and Omen use their psychic connection created during the Lazarus Planet event to help heal the minds of heroes in the DC Universe. Their first patient is Beast Boy, who is stuck in calf form. The trauma of being shot at point blank range by Deathstroke has forced him into this form. He also hasn’t spoken for some time. Power Girl battles red animals in her astral form while she attempts to help with the mental anguish within Beast Boy as Omen reassures his physical self. They succeed in fixing the damage, but have Omen and Power Girl opened old wounds in order to heal new ones?

3Story – 3: The boob sweat dialogue is cringe worthy. Aside from that, I’d possibly categorize this as too soon to really give a solid rating, though I had to give one to this review. There is a lot to like about this, most notably, Power Girl having her own feature again. However, there are moments in the beginning of this where she comes across as a cheap knock off of Data from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” when she doesn’t understand idioms. That feels like a step backwards for the character.

The opening of this serial does a decent job of explaining the events that lead to what we see in this issue. Yet, I would have loved just a little bit more about Omen, as I’m not as familiar with her as I am with the other characters in this story. It is good that DC is getting their version of Doc Samson mixed in with a little bit of Charles Xavier. Overall, I look forward to future Power Girl instalments, as the series has potential in spite of its flaws. It’s off to a decent start. Yet, it does feel like it does start in the middle of the saga due to the “Dark Crisis” and “Lazarus Planet”. I haven’t read any of those as of this writing. A blurb like the one in the “Lois and Clark” story that explains things that the characters’ exposition didn’t would have helped a lot. That and the reasons in the previous paragraph are why I rated this lower than I would have liked to.

5Art – 5: The art works perfectly to set the tone of Power Girl’s new feature in this title.

5Cover Art – 5: This cover pretty much sums up the new chapter in the lives of everyone in the Superfamily and the perfect starting point for new readers.

4Variant Cover Art – 4: Like the previous issue, there’s a ridiculous amount of variants this month. I’ve therefore decided to give an over all rating because individual ones would make this review longer than it already is. Aside from Jorge Fornes’ cover, which seems more suited for a “Terminator” comic book, I felt the covers deserved a five. The Fornes image just wasn’t up to par in my opinion.

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