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Action Comics #1053
DC Comics

Comic Books

‘Action Comics’ #1053 review

This issue moves the narrative forward across its three stories.

Action Comics #1053 moves the narrative forward across its three stories. Each creative team has space to play to their respective strengths, showcasing how the extended and immediate Superman families are able to tackle the challenges of the past and present. 

Mild SPOILERS AHEAD for Action Comics #1053!

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“Unmade”, written by Philip Kennedy Johnson with art by Rafa Sandoval, directly addresses some of my concerns from the previous issue by (essentially) opening on an action scene between Steel (John Henry) and Metallo’s new cyborg lackeys, with Superman and others joining the melee shortly after. Things take a turn for the worse after Supergirl is critically injured and rushed away from the scene by Superboy, slightly addressing another concern from the previous issue.

Following this, readers are treated to a highlight of the story, brief though it may be: a scene of slightly dissenting opinions from Superboy and Super-Man. Despite only covering two pages, being able to show Superman as a role model to the members of the family in how they help their enemies, as well as how some members of the family seemingly struggle with the high moral bar that Superman sets for their work, is nice to see. 

The scenes of the villains that follow are interesting, too; Superman visiting Lex in prison is a fun scene (particularly due to Superman seemingly pulling from the Flash playbook to visit), and I’m curious to see how the stories of Superman’s solo title and AC will intertwine in the future (if they do at all). Beyond that, the mystery behind exactly what “Tracy Corben” is continues to intrigue me. Is this a lingering threat from Warworld that has infected Metallo’s mechanical parts? Perhaps an older Superman villain? Or something else entirely?

Meanwhile, back at the Kent apartment, more scenes of domestic life for the Kents unfold, as Lois and Clark shuffle out of the picture to give Jon room to take care of the twins. Though this comes at the tail end of the issue, I am enjoying seeing a wistful Jon wanting to reconnect with his parents and even being a little jealous of the twins getting the childhood with Lois and Clark that he was somewhat robbed of. I remain hopeful that this will be revisited down the line, both in Action Comics and Jon’s Adventures of Superman miniseries. 

The main story here garners no major complaints from me, other than one that carries from my review of the previous issue: I maintain that this book might appeal to me even more than it does if the arcs were focused on Superman teaming up with a member of the family rather than trying to feature the entirety of the family the majority of the time. As it stands, for every member that’s featured in an issue, one or two of the other members have to be pushed aside, with Connor being sidelined last issue and Kara meeting similar circumstances in this one, to say nothing of Steel (Natasha) being entirely absent from this issue (though an explanation is given in the opening pages).

On the one hand, the Steels and Superboy will both be getting miniseries to (hopefully) flesh out their status quos in this Dawn of DC era. On the other hand, however, Action Comics is being marketed as the Superman Family book to read if you want to see the breadth of the team in action. While there are a lot of characters to handle, especially if you count the twins and Lois, I can’t help but feel that there’s a way to effectively feature all of the family members in each issue, considering books like Justice League. 

The first backup story, “Home Again, Part Three” by Dan Jurgens and Lee Weeks, continues to be unimpressive. Doombreaker continues to plague the Kent farm, while Jon and his new friend try to escape from their captor. There’s nothing objectively bad on display here, rather, the only real draw for me is the art from Weeks, particularly seeing the black Superman suit in action once again. Outside of that, the series has done nothing to convince me that it will pick up in future issues. 

“Head Like A Whole, Part Three” by Leah Williams and Marguerite Sauvage is my preferred backup once again, though slightly less so than the previous installment. Focusing on Jon Kent’s mindscape this time, Sauvage continues to delight on art as Power Girl and the younger Superman seek out the source of the mental contagion affecting the House of El. On the whole, the story is enjoyable, with Power Girl taking center stage as a hero.

However, her portrayal as independent to a fault, while in line with previous renditions of the character, reads as very on the nose in this instance. Whether this is a veiled reference to Power Girl’s lack of frequent appearances in recent years, or just Williams’ style of writing being an imperfect complement to Power Girl’s character, is unclear, though I am looking forward to the next installment of this story nonetheless. 

Overall, Action Comics #1053 addresses a number of my concerns with the central narrative, and provides some backups that are nice, but ultimately inconsequential. Three issues into this new status quo, I remain optimistic about the future of the title, if only to see how the backup stories change and further enhance the main story. 

Action Comics #1053
‘Action Comics’ #1053 review
Action Comics #1053
Action Comics' main story continues to fulfill the promise of a Superman Family book, while the backup stories leave a little to be desired.
Reader Rating1 Votes
9
Art on all three stories continues to be exceptional
Multiple fun and interesting scenes throughout the main story
Addresses a number of my concerns from previous issues
Power Girl backup story continues to entertain...
...though it, and the other backup story, are largely skippable
Equal representation for Superman family membership would be nice
8
Good
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