Action Comics #1048 Review

Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson

Artist: Mike Perkins

Colorist: Lee Loughridge

Cover Artist: Steve Beach

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Reviewer: StoryBabbler

Superman has liberated the people of Warworld, but the trouble’s not over yet. The people still need a place to call home, and not everybody on Earth feels safe with Warworld parked in orbit above them. And it doesn’t stop with Earth as trouble finds Superman from outer space as his action in toppling Mongul have unforeseen repercussions, but the Man of Steel is ready to face them. See what trouble finds Superman in Action Comics #1048.


Well, this issue certainly gets the gears turning. So, the last issue set up the beginnings of what would become a new plot by Lex Luthor to set Metallo up against Superman. However, there’s more than Lex Luthor at work here in this comic and it shows that there are ramifications for Superman to face from his liberation of Warworld.

The comic starts off well with Metallo getting a tense visit from Lex Luthor at his cell in Stryker’s Island Penitentiary. It’s this scene where Phillip Kennedy Johnson really shows his chops when it comes to writing Superman villains outside Mongul. You see how he writes Lex Luthor as a persuasive businessman whose charisma can turn vindictive when challenged and this is illustrated well by Mike Perkins, the new artist for this issue. It also helps that Johnson writes Metallo’s dialogue well too since he capitalizes on their shared history as Superman villains to make their exchange more entertaining.

But it doesn’t stop there, since this is a Superman comic we get plenty of Superman. Now, Johnson captures the multiple sides of Superman and his friends with Lois hanging out with the Phaelosian kids and taking them to the Metropolis Zoo, with an old friend of Superman’s. Johnson nails the kids’ reactions from both their in-universe perspective and from a young child’s perspective and makes them more endearing. It also helps that when trouble comes calling it builds on top of what Johnson had established in his Warworld Saga.

The troublemakers in question are familiar characters, and they’re in his weight class. Johnson and Perkins also gets to show off Superman’s stern side thanks to the writing and Perkins’ art and paneling showing that Supes means business. Granted, it’s standard fare comic book action, but it adds up with everything that went down in the Warworld Saga. And the comic keeps on building up this plot with Lex Luthor and Metallo in ways that are straight up sinister. The only real issue is that this type of story feels a little too predictable in how it can go, but everything rests on Johnson’s writing and where he’s taking everything.

One nitpick: this reviewer is of two minds when it comes to this direction for Lex Luthor. For context, the New 52 really put Lex Luthor on quite the character journey starting with the Forever Evil event. He went from straightforward supervillain to anti-villain to anti-hero and then back to villain, rinse and repeat. Most of it worked, some of it didn’t, but after the end of Dark Nights: Death Metal Lex Luthor was more anti-hero.

Now this story arc seems to be definitively putting him back onto the road of being a straightforward supervillain and it feels a little weird. He’s not written poorly by any stretch, it feels like Johnson is writing a classic Lex Luthor here, but this incarnation of Luthor has had so much character development that it would be a shame to just ignore all of that. Hopefully Johnson writes not only Luthor but this storyline in a way that doesn’t seem to negate all of that.

Final Thoughts:

Action Comics #1048 keeps up the action with the next chapter in this new story arc. Even with a new artist, this comic’s writing and art mix well together to make a solid Superman story. There’s a lot of heart, good-natured energy, and good old-fashioned Superman action, all while Lex Luthor’s cooking up a new plot. It’s perfect, but it’s a good read and keeps you interested in what’s happening in the current issue and what comes next.


Leave a Reply