Warworld has brought chaos to Earth and Kal-El’s family. In Action Comics #1034, the Superman family face it head on, and they don’t come out of it unscathed.
The penultimate chapter of this opening arc hits hard, as Clark Kent starts to lose his patience with everything around him. It’s a big chapter in this new saga, from Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Christian Duce, Adriano Lucas, and Dave Sharpe.
The Warzoons have taken the Fortress of Solitude, with only Lois Lane and Thao-La to defend it. Even if they can defeat Mongul’s minions, Thao-La has an agenda of her own. Meanwhile, Clark, Jon and Kara face the growing war between the US and Atlantis, and they may not make the right call to end the conflict.
Johnson packs a lot of plot into this story but it never once feels too busy or overstuffed. The character drama is tense, and feels in character. Clark’s human side pushes through here, and he makes his decisions emotionally. With what Johnson’s been building, it works, and makes sense. He also avoids the obvious tropes with the conflict in the Fortress — both in avoiding giving Lois Lane plot armor but also preventing a fridging. It was just the right balance, resulting in the best read in this run to date.
Duce steps in for Daniel Sampere without missing a beat; their styles match perfectly. Duce doesn’t quite have the energy of his earlier work, tough, but he still has an emotional punch. His Warzoons are creepy and intimidating, and the heroes are all awe-inspiring. His layouts are all fairly standard, but his splash pages are grand, particularly the two-page splash of Superman freezing the ocean about two-thirds the way through the issue. Lucas continues to grow as a color artist, using harsh lighting to build tension along with the line art.
The stage is set for a big conclusion here and I’m excited to see what it means for the House of El.
Action Comics #1034 is available now form DC Comics.
This status quo shattering arc is nearing its conclusion with a bang. The art is a little unrefined but overall it’s a hell of a read, and leading to some big exciting things.