Action Comics 2022 Annual #1
Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 31, 2022
Cover date: 2022
“Tales of Two Titans”
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Si Spurrier
Artists: Dale Eaglesham and Ian Churchill
Cover: Francesco Francavilla
Variant Cover: Steve Rude
Reviewed by: James Lantz
Smallville. Warworld. Superman. Mongul. They are two beings who are different, yet similar, from varying parts of the universe. One learns the value of making a person feel special with the slightest gesture. The other does what he must to survive brutality of every kind. These are lessons passed on to them by their mothers. These same lessons will later form their characters. A Warzoon boy fails to defeat another in combat, while young Clark Kent must comprehend how to deal with bully Caleb Withers. What happens to both young men will literally change their lives forever.
The mother of the boy who will become Mongul vows vengeance on the Warzoons who banish her and her son to the desert called the Galogothian Wastes. On Earth, Martha Kent must undergo cancer treatments. Both incidents help Clark and Mongul in their respective environments. Mongul eventually kills a bull Mammoth and vows to kill his father to take his place as Warworld’s ruler, which as we know, he does in the future. Clark, in the meantime stands up to Caleb and tells him that he doesn’t have to be like his abusive father. This has an impact on Caleb as he apologizes for knocking Martha’s wig off her head with a soccer ball. He even shaved his own head before leaving for Metropolis, where Superman sees him helping children years later. On Warworld, the Mongul-Who-Will-Be is preparing to become the Mongul-Who-Is. Thus, a tale of two titans ends by showing how each one began their journey.
Story – 5: I’ve been rough on the main series lately due to recent issues slowing the pace that seemed more even in earlier chapters. This annual feels like it belongs with those books that began Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s run. He’s a great writer, but as his sagas in the monthly book have continued, they’ve felt like they were meant to be in two regular series instead of one. This, on the other hand, is perhaps one of the best stories Johnson has told. Perhaps he and Si Spurrier should work together on the remainder of the “Warworld” serials.
Art – 5: It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of having more than one artist on a single issue. However, with one doing the scenes with Clark and the other drawing Mongul’s beginning, Eaglesham and Churchill did an amazing job rendering what are perhaps the best pages in an Annual.
Cover Art – 4: The only problem with this cover is that it does look slightly over-inked. Aside from that, the art is great.
Variant Cover Art – 4: Steve Rude blends classic and new as usual with his awesome art for this variant. This would be perfect for an omnibus cover.
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