Action Comics Annual 2021 #1
Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 6, 2021
Cover date: 2021
Reviewed by: James Lantz
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Penciller: Siya Oum and Scott Godlewski
Inker: Siya Oum and Scott Godlewski
Cover: Scott Godlewski
Variant Cover: Valentine De Landro
In a future time, children on Warworld secretly hear a tale of another future where the House of El welcomes a new family member. Phaelosian Warmaster Khan and Kryptonian Valkyrie of the Warworld Engines and Alura Van-El, Kara Zor-El’s niece, are about to marry. Khan gives his sword to the House of El and his blood to Alura. Then, as per Phaelosian tradition, he must combat one of the House of El’s family members. Pyrrhos, fallen son of Superman who killed Darkseid and took over as ruler of Apokolips, accepts Khan’s challenge, but his means of fighting meant sending many from the House of El to the Phantom Zone. There they find Henry Henshaw, the destroyer of Coast City who is better known as the Cyborg Superman.
Henshaw has helped Brandon Kent, Khan, Brainiac 4 and the others while Pyrrhos holds Kara prisoner. The latest line in the House of El is saved many times over by the Cyborg Superman. However, he merely used them to active a Mother Box belonging to the dead Mister Miracle, who was murdered by Henshaw. Kara, meanwhile, looks to a metal model of Kal-El, the same one as child’s toy in the beginning of the story, for hope. As if to answer her, Brandon Kent and those stranded in the Phantom Zone return with Hank Henshaw, who is pardoned by Kara. The Cyborg Superman leaves, but we may not have seen the last of him or Pyrrhos, who has returned to Apokolips.
The wedding of Khan and Alura goes on without any problems. Brandon’s son Ronan takes over as Earth’s Superman. He and his sister, the Blue Lantern Rowan Kent, defended the universe while Brandon trained daughter Theand’r to one day become Superwoman. More stories will entertain Warworld’s children another day. Yet, little Thao-La wonders how her Superman toy came into Kara Zor-El’s possession. That is but another tale for another time.
Story – 3: Inasmuch as the story itself is in fact good, I can’t help but wonder if all the time jumps in Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s run at this point are necessary? Perhaps other issue will quell my doubts. Still, we had “Future State,” and gradual nuggets of that have been shown coming to pass. I had hoped for a story to answer my many questions during Kennedy’s run on the title. Instead, I’m left asking more. It feels like readers are left in the middle of a movie whose beginning and end have not yet been filmed.
Art – 3: I’m a bit on the fence about the art. On some pages, it’s great. On others it’s atrocious, and still, others are mediocre. It feels like both artists had problems sticking with a style.
Cover Art – 5: This cover is utterly incredible.
Variant Cover Art – 4: I waffled back and forth on this one. Much like “Star Trek: Nemesis,” I hated it at first. Then after a couple more views it grew on me. It still has its flaws, but it’s a decent effort.
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