Thalkis protect us (Action Comics 1031 comic review)
Action Comics # 1031
Writer: Philip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Daniel Sampere
Colorist: Andriad Lucas
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
In the previous issue Superman encountered a ship from Warworld, carrying a group of people speaking Kryptonian. Clearly, Johnson is setting up the introductory arc that will bring the series into its own and fully split from Superman (the series). With Jonathan Kent poised to become the new start of the Superman title, Clark has to eventually find his way towards Warworld (somewhat connected to the Future State event from early in the year). With a new status quo on the horizon a lot of new explanation and direction is needed before the series can get there. This issue sets the stage for what will eventually happen.
This comic is light on action and instead focuses on exposition. It picks up right after Superman encounters the Warworld ship, with the Kryptonian speaking members. The ship itself is not stable and crashes immediately but Superman is able to save one of the passengers and bring her to his fortress. There is some question on how she knows Kryptonian, and the reader is given some information on some of Krypton’s history. Nothing is fully explained but there are enough breadcrumbs to lead to an interesting future plotpoint. Superman also travels to Atlantis, since the remains of the ship has crashed there, and discovers that the ship was powered by a piece of the source. He also encounters some of the survivors of the crash who are not too happy to see him. Back at the fortress, the refugee shown earlier has a Superman “S” branding on her hand and the comic ends learning why and where it came from.
One of my least favorite things in comics is exposition. I would rather a comic be explained organically versus having things laid out in long dialogue scenes. Thankfully, Philip Kennedy Johnson skirts the line here and is able to explain while still holding onto his quick storytelling skills. This is one of very few exposition comics that still reads quickly, and is engaging. One trick he pulls is not staying in one place for too long. There are a number of mysteries being woven together here, and he explains just enough of each one and switches before we have a chance to get tired. I understand he has to set up a new status quo and a new direction for the series, so he cannot get away without a “set up” and thankfully he makes it enjoyable. He also shows a deep understanding of Superman’s character here. The only scene of direct action is a “fight” between Superman and a survivor from the crash. Superman can see these people are refugees from Warworld. One alien comes up to him ready for a fight, but Superman refuses. He stands there with a dedication to peace. It just shows that Johnson understands that Superman may be one of the most powerful people in the universe, but his dedication to helping others comes first and foremost. Even in the face of direct violence and attack, he will always choose the least harmful approach. It is a short moment, but one that shows that Superman is in good hands with his new writer.
Daniel Sampere is a brilliant artist, and it shows throughout this issue. The ship crash splash page is beautiful and impactful. The “fight” Superman has in this issue is perfectly illustrated, and highlights the thematic elements of Superman’s characterization. As stated previously, this is an issue that is light on action but his artwork here still brings the characters to life and makes even the dialogue heavy scenes a joy to look at. Also, hats off to Andriad Lucas who masterfully uses color to set the tone and mood of each scene. From the dark and isolating Atlantis, to the bright an colorful scene with Superboy and Supergirl, to the absolutely sinister feeling of Warworld.
Summary Actions Comics is starting to form its new identity. The creative team here is carving a new status quo for Superman, and the hook is intriguing. It will be interesting to see how Action Comics and Superman become two wildly different titles.