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REVIEW: DC's Action Comics #1047

CBR 9/27/2022 Sayantan Gayen
© Provided by CBR
  • Action Comics #1047
    Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
    Artist: Riccardo Federici
    Letterer: Dave Sharpe
    Cover Artist: Steve Beach
    Publisher: DC
    Price: $4.99
    Release Date: 2022-09-27
    Colorist: Lee Loughridge

The world needs Superman. While Jon Kent has been filling his father's shoes, finding amicable solutions to tense situations without having to throw a punch, Kal-El has been leading a revolution to free the people of Warworld from the clutches of the tyrant Mongul. Having vanquished his foe, the Man of Steel returns home with a big surprise for his own family and the world altogether. Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson with artwork from Riccardo Federici, colors by Lee Loughridge, and letters from Dave Sharpe, Action Comics #1047 begins a new chapter in Superman's life as the countdown to Issue #1050 begins.

Action Comics #1047 opens a week before the main story as a young woman meets her brother, an inmate on Stryker's Island. He's no ordinary convict, as his body is protected by a cybernetic shell. The story then cuts away to a massive extraterrestrial planet entering Earth's atmosphere. Superman has brought Warworld to Earth to help its citizens rehabilitate and send them home safely. But world leaders are not convinced and demand Superman explains himself. As the Man of Tomorrow appears before the UN, a week after Warworld's appearance, Lex Luthor makes a stealthy trip inside the satellite to find weaponized technology. He finds the prized Orphan Box, which he brings to the cyborg prisoner from before.

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Action Comics #1047 welcomes Superman home with a barrage of bullets and lasers. He answers by keeping the collateral damage to a minimum as he saves little lives with the utmost care. Johnson perfectly captures the spirit of Superman in this issue. Whether he's giving a rousing speech about the importance of acceptance or comforting frightened children, Kal-El stands head and shoulders above everyone. Johnson begins the story detached from the main spectacle, giving it somber undertones without revealing any specific details. It is only at the hands of the Man of Steel's sworn enemy that the two narratives merge, and the puzzle pieces begin to slide into place.

The striking aspect of Riccardo Federici's art is his spatial awareness of the page. He effortlessly renders deep emotions while providing a detailed portrait of the characters. His hatching lines adds volume to every carefully placed element in the environment. Federici's best work comes when Superman's body language mirrors his inner feelings, giving the book an intensity of its own. Colorist Lee Loughridge colors masterfully, mixing different shades of the same color to create shadows and highlights. But he also makes sure that the pencil lines are visible throughout the book. This amalgamation works wonderfully as it brings a grittiness to the clean-cut artwork that makes everything look surreal.

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Action Comics #1047 is the calm before the storm, striking the right balance between showing one's hand to keep the reader engaged and letting the suspense ferment for the next installments. Phillip Kennedy Johnson begins this new phase with a palpable tension, building slowly despite the milestone issue looming larger and larger. Superman steals the limelight in every scene he is in, partly because of the artwork and partly because of the script that keeps everything packed together. Action Comics #1047 may not be as thrilling as its previous few issues, but it is nevertheless an enthralling start to something new.

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