Superman: Warworld Apocalypse #1
Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 30, 2022
Cover date: October 2022
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artists: Brandon Peterson, Will Conrad, Max Rayner and Miguel Mendonca
Cover: Steve Beach
Variant Covers: Mario “Fox” Foccillo and Mikel Janin
Reviewed by: James Lantz
Nat Irons is still trying to convert the red sun energy in to white solar power as The Authority and the Phaelosians continue to fight Mongul’s forces. Superman is fighting Mongul after the dictator killed Osul, one of the children who accompanied the Man of Steel. Meanwhile, Orphan’s power has helped Nat and her group eliminate the soldiers attacking them in the Star Forge of Engine City. Everything can go well or badly as The Authority must combat their enslaved allies. As Orphan points out, if one fails, all fail.
Byla-Esh called the Fire of Olgrun that from which Warworld grew. To Superman, it’s life that belongs to the bravest of all. That is neither Kal-El nor Mongul in Clark’s eyes. The Man of Tomorrow uses the Fire of Olgrun to revive Osul. Mongul does not comprehend this, believing Superman would choose death and weakness over victory. Superman knows this is why Mongul will never win. However, both combatants will have to continue their battle. The Phaelosians’ destiny depends on the outcome.
Leonath has sacrificed himself to install the Genesis Reactor. On Warworld’s surface, the Justice League arrives to aid The Authority. Apollo is now back to his old self and together with Midnighter and The Authority. Yet, they must battle OMAC, who is on Mongul’s side, to get Lightray back. At the same time, Necropolis rumbles from the blows striking both Mongul and Superman. Things seem to be in Mongul’s favor until a blast of heat vision strikes him. The Genesis Reactor worked. Superman and the Phaelosians have superhuman abilities. However, before Kal-El can continue fighting Mongul, Kryl-Ux rips out the despot’s heart. OMAC and Lightray, in the meantime, are together in the heart of the new White Star Forge, with the latter saying her new knowledge will make the former better. Whatever Warworld’s future may be, it shall be better than its time under Mongul’s iron fist.
Kryl-Ux used Superman, Mongul and his own people to kill Mongul. Clark is unsure if he can trust Kryl-Ux. Yet, the road to Warworld’s becoming New Phaelosia has been paved. The freedom fighters who made that possible celebrated the unblooded sword of Superman. Weeks later, Kryl-Ux confronts Mongul’s right hand man in the United Planets, Lord Premier Thaaros. Now that Kryl-Ux has powers similar to those of Superman, he intends to make those, like Thaaros, who killed his family, feel his wrath. All this happens while Clark returns in the moment Lois needs him the most – during sunrise.
Story – 4: Is this the conclusion I expected? In some ways, yes. However, there are some things I felt needed to be done differently. I’ll discuss my dislikes of this issue first to get them off my chest. There are times when the book seems to go all over the place, like Phillip Kennedy Johnson had too many ideas and not enough space to execute them completely. This could possibly be the case with later issues of this entire saga if one considers their odd pace. I’m guessing Johnson’s intention was to do the entire arc in two core titles, but “Superman: Son of Kal-El” – a title where the main character feels like a minor supporting cast member – changed his plans.
Much like the sudden appearance of the Justice League in this issue, the death of Mongul feels cheap and tacked on at the last minute. I found myself not caring about it while wondering if Johnson had other more satisfying ways of ending the character’s arc. Maybe I’m just jaded in my old age and forty-seven years of reading and collecting comics.
One thing that really sticks out like a sore thumb is the lack of a conclusion to “World Without Clark Kent”, especially when Action Comics #1046 had a blurb stating it would be continued in this book. I loved that back-up feature and looked forward to it. I understand editorial surprises occur in publishing. However, I felt like DC lied to me as of this writing.
I gave this comic the same rating I’d give this overall serial. It had its ups and downs, particularly in later issues, but it was still a good story even with its need for improvements. Phillip Kennedy Johnson does have a better understanding of Superman and other characters than most of the new batch of writers. I look forward to “Kal-El Returns”. I just hope it and future story arcs don’t run as long as this one.
Art – 4: The art is surprisingly well done when one considers that more than one artist is on this conclusion. The visuals do have some flaws here and there. However, each image is pretty evenly set up in spite of them.
Cover Art – 5: This, like much of the story and art in this entire serial, reminds me of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard.
Fox Variant Cover Art – 5: It’s similar to the main cover, but that’s not a bad thing.
Janin Variant Cover Art – 5: This is perhaps my favorite cover for this issue. The others are amazing, but this one tops them.
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