Action Comics #1052
Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 28, 2023
Cover date: April 2023
Cover: Dan Mora
Variant Covers: Steve Beach, Clayton Henry, Lee Weeks, Rafa Sandoval, Jorge Fornes And Khary Randolph
Reviewed by: James Lantz
“House of Metallo”
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Rafa Sandoval
To buy the rest of the Superfamily some time, Steel and Nat Irons attack John Corben/Metallo, allowing Superman to launch the Kryptonite powered cyborg into space. Frozen, Metallo remembers childhood trauma he and his sister Tracey shared. A communication from her brings him out of suspended animation. She says he must kill Superman and his entire family if he is to see her again. Meanwhile, Superman knows Corben spoke to Lex Luthor. Yet, Luthor is still in prison, and Metallo’s new body seems similar to Warworld’s Unmade.
Metallo has returned to Earth just as extremist environmentalist group Blue Earth plan an attack. Corben takes the Blue Earth soldiers with him. His intent is make his own family more powerful than the Superfamily. Will he succeed? Is Lex Luthor behind Metallo’s recent actions and the kidnapping of his sister? If not, who is?
Story – 5: I’ve stated that Philip Kennedy Johnson is one of the few modern comic book writers who has been doing well with his work on this title. If more creators had his understanding of Superman and his supporting cast, perhaps the comics industry wouldn’t be in its current state. This chapter feels more complete than the previous one, and it seems like what was missing from issue #1051 is in this story. Granted, that could be an editing choice, but I found that it helped the overall published version of Johnson’s contribution to Action Comics. It’s a thought provoking and entertaining comic that seems influenced by today’s headlines and some of the best episodes of “The Twilight Zone” or “Star Trek”. If you aren’t reading this book, you should. It’s one of the few that gives me hope for the future of the medium.
Art – 4: There are images that look like they’ve been over-inked, thereby ruining the overall look of the art. There are some great moments from a visual standpoint, but it is far from perfect. Some cool details look like they are hidden way too much on certain panels.
“Home Again” – Part 2
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Lee Weeks
The alien girl who introduced herself to Jon Kent is Princess Glyanna from the planet P’luhnn. Her father’s enemy has taken over her world and considers her a traitor. The gigantic Killamek robot has attacked Glyanna and Jon. Yet, as Superman races to rescue his son, Doombreaker arrives at the Kents’ front door for help.
Story – 5: I still question the editorial decision to merely make this a back-up feature. Perhaps like the Power Girl story, which we’ll get to in a moment, DC is testing this out before making it into a complete book of 20-30 pages. However, I feel like talent like Dan Jurgens and Lee Weeks deserve better than how Lois and Clark is currently presented. Would I go as far as to say it’s the best story in this issue? Yes. That’s because the old school comic fan in me likes it and feels it blows much of the current crop of comics out of the water. In a market where DC’s titles are dominated by Batman, this is refreshing.
Art – 5: It’s great to see Lee Weeks’ art in a comic again. His style melds well with Jurgens’ story. The roughness of it gives it a different atmosphere that works well for Superman’s part of the DC Universe.
“Head Like A Hole” – Part 2
Writer: Leah Williams
Artist: Marguerite Sauvage
With Beast Boy healed, Power Girl and Omen must help their next patient – Kara Zor-El. While Power Girl thinks Beast Boy’s quick recuperation could be connected to something else, She must understand why Kara is unable to express herself verbally. Kara’s mindscape is an almost-too-perfect version of Argo City. Power Girl begins destroying parts of it as therapy. Kara’s anger helps her communicate. This is another success for Power Girl and Omen. However, within Kara’s psyche is the following message for Power Girl:
“Power Girl, can you sense the coming curtain call? – J.S.”
Story – 3: While this chapter is a slight improvement from the previous one, it does suffer from a lot of part one’s flaws and problems. Pacing feels off in places, and it needs to be more reader friendly. I feel like I’m in the middle of the chapter instead of the beginning. I’m not sure if the creative team intended for this series to have more pages, but reading this story arc gave me that sensation. Is DC testing the waters for a full-fledged Power Girl comic with the extra pages left out of this? I hope so because this series has great potential. It just feels poorly edited at this point.
Art – 5: This style of art isn’t normally my cup of tea, but it does fit perfectly for this Power Girl feature.
Cover Art – 5: I like what Steve Beach is doing for covers of this series. He blends the various ages of comics with the current age in a masterful art style.
Variant Cover Art – 3: The insane amount of variant covers is getting on my nerves. Back when “Robin II: The Joker’s Wild” came out variants were a new curiosity for me. I bought all of them. Keep in mind, I’m nearly 50 as of this writing, so digital copies didn’t exist back then. Now, aside from books whose variants have a deluxe edition of the comic inside, I rarely purchase them. Perhaps this is coloring my average for the score. However, I did like the Clayton Henry, Lee Weeks and Khary Randolph covers. The rest weren’t as well drawn as the others, and one was just a different version of the main cover image. If DC wants to get new readers to buy their books, focus on the quality of stories and art, as has been done with this title. Stop over saturating the market with multiple covers.
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