The cover of Action Comics #1035 says it all, as it’s finally time for Superman to head off Earth, leaving his son Jon and Lois Lane behind. Phillip Kennedy Johnson has been building towards this moment for some time, but given the cliffhanger of the last issue, Lois Lane may not even make it out of this issue alive! It’s a tense sixth part to “Warworld Rising” as Superman’s actions have repercussions.
This issue opens with Thao-La fighting Superboy and Supergirl as Superman rushes Lois away to safety. Thao-La is a Kryptonian who was a captive on Warworld, and she’s not quite herself. This leads to an encounter you won’t want to miss and some rather badass moments for Superman. In fact, Johnson captures a few things very well with Superman, from his ability to inspire hope in others to his inability to take crap from bad guy bullies. Johnson continues to show he’s very adept at writing Superman.
The remaining portion of the main story splits up conversations and moments Superman has with key figures. Each works well to show the important figures in Superman’s life as he prepares to leave Earth and, according to Jon, it could be forever. It also has an epilogue feel due to the nature of Superman’s next steps. Johnson is very good at writing different voices, as well as showing how Superman handles different relationships in his demeanor. This all leads to the next chapter in Superman’s journey which has been actually going on in Superman and the Authority.
Daniel Sampere draws the issue with colors by Adriano Lucas and he continues to show a high level of detail. Usually, this many issues into a story arc, artists tend to cut corners and art can suffer a bit due to deadlines, but Sampere’s work isn’t hindered in the slightest. Sampere uses some cool blur effects, and even under blur Lucas captures the volume and lighting very well throughout. This story arc has shown Superman has emotions beyond his usual positivity and Sampere makes each emotion feel natural. There’s a bit of attitude and anger in Superman in two different scenes. There’s also a fantastic rendering of Batman straight out of Jim Lee’s Hush that’s moody and perfectly rendered for the weight of the scene. There is a lot said on characters’ faces when they speak to Superman from a variety of folks all of which look genuine and real.
One weakness might be the speed of Superman solving the main conflict. Given the build-up in the last issue, it seems almost too easy, although the comic is better off spending time showing Superman interact with a few different characters.
The backup by Sean Lewis and Sami Basri, with colors by Ulises Arreola, is a fun short story featuring the Guardian and Jimmy Olson. There’s a unique enemy luring teenagers for their gain. It’s an example of how baddies are flying under Superman’s radar and lower-level heroes like the Guardian are needed in Metropolis. The character design by Basri is on point, and it utilizes all of Areola’s coloring powers to get it done. Given this is Action Comics, the story is fitting and suits the title.
Action Comics #1035 is a fitting end to “Warworld Rising”, wrapping up Superman’s final hours on Earth. Superman interacts with a number of characters as if he’s saying goodbye for good, each of which feels true to the characters and genuine. Add in a fun backup with a wacky villain and you have yourself a great comic filled with action and adventure.
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