We are but whispers in his dreams (Action Comics #1032 comic review)
Action Comics # 1032
Writer: Philip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Daniel Sampere
Colorist: Andriad Lucas
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Superman is starting to line up with his “Future State” reality, as Action Comics brings him closer and closer to War World. The previous issues have shown how a new Mongul is in charge of War World and is somehow far more sadistic than his predecessor. A ship full of War World refugees has crashed on Earth, bringing two mysteries along with it. The first is the fact there seem to be some Kryptonian refugees that speak a long-lost language, and bear the mark of Superman (branded on them by Mongul himself). The other mystery is a relic with strange writing upon it. This relic is now in Atlantis, where the ship crashed, and seems to possess a lot of energy. This week’s issue brings both these plot points a bit more into focus.
War World does not appear in this issue, as the comic deals with the fallout of the crashed refugee ship. The relic in Atlantis seems to be calling out to some unknown force and physically and psychologically alters an Atlantian into a Kaiju-esque monster. Superman has to deal with this new threat quickly before it becomes a full-on attack straight out of a Godzilla film. While that aspect focuses on the action, the Kryptonian refugee, at the fortress of solitude, gives the reader some more answers on how they came to be. Supergirl explains to Lois that there is a long-lost set of Kryptonians that left the planet long before its destruction. This explains why their language is different and how they are alive. The reasons they left seem to mirror a form of religious persecution. The refugee seems to only find comfort in Lois Lane and does not trust Superman. The issue ends with another new plotline introduced that will shake things up even further.
Philip Kennedy Johnson should be given an award for cramming so much into a single issue and still making the comic read quick and fun. There is political intrigue, Kaiju monster attacks, and HP Lovecraft-level cosmic horror. Seriously, it is all in there and somehow works together. Johnson has set up mysteries here that I just need to know more about. The relic that was powering the refugee ship seems to be calling out to some unknown godlike being. Since it is now at the bottom of the sea, the Lovecraftian elements are not a stretch to compare. The Kryptonian refugee situation is also really gripping. She does not trust or like Superman. We learn she was branded with his symbol and promised he would save her, and never did. Superman is a God that never answered her prayers, a really powerful message. Of course, Johnson shows us that Superman is not a God, but will do everything in his power to help others. As soon as he learns he is needed at War World he gets ready to go. Philip Kennedy Johnson understands Superman as a character (like Bendis did) but better yet he understands how to craft a great story to place him into (which Bendis struggled with). Action Comics has become a must-read book.
Daniel Sampere pulls together another stunning issue. The art matches the story in its ability to jump from plotline to plotline and make everything interesting. You can tell Sampere must have been having a lot of fun working on the Kaiju pages as they are just a blast to look at. The Lovecraftian cosmic horror splash page just highlights how small Superman is against the force that is about to come. Overall the art here sells the story completely and is just as gripping as any line of dialogue.
Summary Philip Kennedy Johnson creates one of the best issues of Action Comics in a long time. There are three interesting plotlines here, and each one could be their own entire arc. Somehow the team here weaves them all together in a fast paced and excited book.