Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Miguel Mendoca
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Cover Artists: Daniel Sampere & Alejandro Sanchez
Publisher: DC Comics
Superman has been defeated, and Mongul is victorious! The son of Mongul has done what his father could not and has beaten Superman in a physical bout, and his champions have taken down Supes’ teammates in the makeshift Authority. In Action Comics #1038, Mongul-who-is gets to work on doing the impossible – breaking Superman’s will.
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Of all the comic books out at DC right now, Action Comics is the comic that continues to deliver. After his defeat and near-death at the hands of Mongul, Superman is in chains, battered, and physically diminished. He’s seen better days, and the comic’s story and art put that on full display. And his team the Authority isn’t faring any better as they are either down, captured, or dead. Things aren’t looking good for Superman and his team.
The art team of Miguel Mendoca for art and Adriano Lucas on colors keep up the amazing work in this book. Superman, Mongul, the Authority, everyone and everything looks great, especially with the brutal, grizzled, and weary tone they apply to the characters. Their art and colors for Superman and Mongul continue to steal the show whenever either of these two are on the page or are in the middle of any major scenes.
Mongul and Warworld take center stage alongside Superman, Mongul especially as he conveys the brutal culture of not only his species, the Warzoons, but of Warworld itself. He has defeated – and possibly killed – Superman and shares the spoils with the rest of his champions. From there, the comic displays the brutal, warmongering culture of Warworld through the defeated Authority members as they’re imprisoned or escape with little hope for the mission. Warworld is changing them, and none of them will be the same when the story is over. If they make it out alive.
But the bigger conflict between Superman and Mongul is their battle of wills and spirit through the people of Warworld. This is Mongul’s victory, and all of Warworld knows this, but Superman isn’t out. So of course, even while Mongul has defeated him, Superman hasn’t given up on his mission. Superman’s spirit of hope, courage, and heroism in the face of such brutality is inspiring, and Philip Kennedy Johnson does a magnificent job highlighting his nature in a powerful yet respectful manner.
However, Johnson also doesn’t shy away from the obvious struggles, pitfalls, and complications such a mission like liberating Warworld would bring. Not only for Superman but for his team, his family, and the United Planets. One thing Johnson sets up well is the moral as well as physical battles Superman will have in the Warworld Saga, as he fights for the soul of the people on Warworld while trying to keep hope alive in his teammates.
A certain team member comes to blows with Supes over the mission, (and not the one you might be thinking of) and it gets a little real. The comic also highlights that this is not friendly territory for Superman; Warworld is a planet where heroes like him come to die. And on Warworld, Mongul is king. Illustrating that while Superman’s fight is a worthy one, it’s not without consequences for himself and those around him.
Action Comics #1038 keeps up the momentum from the previous issue. The story shows the aftermath of Mongul’s victory, highlighting the brutal struggles that Superman and his team will have to overcome. All while showing that the Warworld Saga is as much a moral battle as it is a physical one. The writing by Phillip Kennedy Johnson continues to capture Superman’s heroic spirit, while the art by Miguel Mendoca and Adriano Lucas’ colors make this an amazing comic to look at.
2 thoughts on “Action Comics #1038 Review”
Superman tells the captives that Osul-Ra looks to be about as old as his Jonathan; almost twelve. I thought Jonathan was much older than that having been gone for five years, (his time), with Jorel back when Bendis was writing it. Did I miss something?
Sorry for the late reply. But you’re right! Jon is practically seventeen or something right now. I’d say that’s either an error on the writer’s part, or that was to show how dazed Superman was since he was almost killed by Mongul at the time.