Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Daniel Sampere
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Cover Artists: Daniel Sampere & Alejandro Sanchez
Publisher: DC Comics
Superman and Mongul are on a collision course. The cosmic warlord of Warworld has been making plans for Superman, and his plot has set things into motion on Earth that no one could predict. Atlantis and the surface world face war over the new Genesis element, and the Super-Family still have their hands full with the mysterious refugees. And Action Comics #1033 shows that the conflict is far from over.
I’ve had my eyes on Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s run of Superman since Future State, and I’ve been of two minds of it. On the one hand, Johnson has big plans for writing Superman and gives this earnest energy to it that carries over into the comics. But at the same time, I’m worried it’ll get too big for its own good.
Getting into this issue, we see the situation between Atlantis, the US and the entire surface world play out. Tensions get even higher when Amanda Waller sends in two unknown Task Force X agents to infiltrate and steal the Genesis Fragment. The Justice League discuss the matter, mainly Batman and Aquaman while Superman tries to redirect the conversation towards Mongul and Warworld.
Superman really takes charge in this comic, first with the League and then with the hostilities between Atlantis and the surface world. Daniel Sampere’s art and Adriano Lucas’ color work really help show a more firm Superman. The artwork certainly provides some great standalone images of Superman. Supes attempts to be the stern voice of reason to de-escalate the situation. However, it seems like no progress is really made on both fronts, especially with Atlantis since no one’s handing over Amanda Waller anytime, what with her and the Suicide Squad being a major focus in DC comics. So that problem’s not going away and Warworld’s looking to be Superman’s problem, not the League’s.
Speaking of Warworld, this comic introduces a little more on the brutal culture of Warworld under Mongul’s reign through Thao-La’s character. The warlord himself even makes a brief appearance with another new and weird alien character as part of his inner circle. It’s kind of interesting to see these new additions to Mogul and Warworld, but if Johnson isn’t careful they could end up feeling like knockoffs of Darkseid and Apokolips.
While the Atlantis plot is moving pretty predictably, Mongul’s machinations are genuinely moving forward in an interesting way. Showcasing the brutal influence the current Mongul has on his warriors and even Thao-La, despite being light years away from Warworld. I’m invested with this new Mongul, but the mystery of his scheme isn’t enough. Eventually the comic will have to show what Mongul’s got planned for Superman and show it front and center.
Action Comics #1033 continues to further the Warworld Rising story arc. The writing and art here really go hand in hand to present a stern Superman who takes a more firm approach with the Atlantis crisis and even discussing Warworld with the Justice League. Readers are given a little more detail on the brutality of Mongul and Warworld’s culture, especially as the warlord starts to put his plan into action. Not too much is revealed here but judging by the ending, it looks like things will go into high gear in the next issue.