Action Comics 1047 featured Columns 

Don’t Miss This: “Action Comics” by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Rafa Sandoval

By | January 26th, 2023
Posted in Columns | % Comments

There are a lot of comics out there, but some comic book series stand out head and shoulders above the pack. With “Don’t Miss This,” we want to spotlight those series we think need to be on your pull list. This week, we’re spotlighting ““Action Comics.” “Action Comics” is devoted to fleshing out Clark Kent’s life. Recent issues of “Action Comics” have also explored the vast family of Superman characters reintroduced as part of DC’s ‘Dawn of DC’ initiative. Today we are going to dive deep into DC’s “Action Comics” series to explain why you can’t Miss this wonderful Superman saga!

Who’s this by?

Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson first boarded the Superman franchise during the ‘Future State’ storyline which saw DC peak into the future for a few months of publishing. Johnson was also working with artist Riccardo Federici on “The Last God” from DC. Johnson worked on “Future State: Superman: Worlds of War.” Following Johnson’s work with artist Scott Godlewski on “Future State: Superman: The House of El,” Johnson returned to the main Superman franchise briefly with “Superman” #29 artist Phil Hester. Johnson started crafting the landmark ‘Warworld Saga’ setting up the future of his Action Comics run in issue #1030 of the series with art from Daniel Sampere.

Rafa Sandoval is an incredibly prolific artist at DC who has tackled a wide range of series. One of the earliest titles I was able to find from Sandoval at DC was “Catwoman” #15 written by Ann Nocenti. Following “Catwoman,” Sandoval worked on “Red Hood and the Outlaws” #29 with writer Will Pfeifer. Sandoval worked on the Superman franchise with writer Marv Wolfman on “Superboy” #29 released over in 2014. Sandoval has worked on some great recent stories at DC including “Justice League” #75 with Joshua Williamson and “Black Adam” with Christopher Priest.

What’s it all about?

“Action Comics” is all about the life and times of DC’s original Superman, Clark Kent. Kent has been through a lot in this series including crafting a familiar team of heroes called The Authority to liberate the planet of Warworld. With the ‘Warworld Saga’ storyline now concluded, DC has been spinning a tale involving Lex Luthor, Metallo and Superman’s family.

What makes it so great? 

The aspect of “Action Comics” that makes the series great is the sheer dedication to the source material that Phillip Kennedy Johnson and collaborators like Rafa Sandoval and artists like Riccardo Federici or Mike Perkins contribute to the series. Superman has gone through so much pain and anguish throughout Johnson’s work on “Action Comics” and at the end of the day, Superman always rises to the occasion with a huge smile.

When Johnson first started crafting the “Superman” and “Action Comics” titles, he introduced the status quos for the character and then teased the massive ‘Warworld Saga’ storyline in the ‘Future State’ initiative with “Future State: Superman: Worlds of War.” When I learned how Grant Morrison and Mikel Janin’s work on “Superman and The Authority” was going to influence this series with WildStorm heroes, it became clear that Johnson was taking the title in a much different direction than we have seen from previous writers.

The actual ‘Warworld Saga’ didn’t disappoint either! This title saw the harsh future teased during ‘Future State’ to push Superman’s character to his absolute limit. During his time on the planet Warworld, Superman was enslaved by Mongul. Johnson and Morrison were able to sell this plot point more effectively by setting it up in the pages of “Superman and The Authority” and several early “Action Comics” issues.

The artwork from creators like Rafa Sandoval do a great job showcasing the vast amount of Superman characters. In “Action Comics” #1051 Sandoval captures a wide range of emotions from the characters including the vicious faces from John Corben. The moments where Superman characters are relaxing with each other in a plain clothes setting is a great way to embrace a different era for Superman. Sandoval’s characters emote vividly on the page. There is a beautiful page with seven Superman characters where each cast member has a different expression on their face. Sandoval’s page layouts in the issue capture tons of emotions from the characters and keep readers invested in the issue. The domestic Superman setting has a lot of characters showcased in a massive, bold panel. “Action Comics” has had some great art from various collaborators including Mike Perkins. When the book calls for a more serious tone, I loved the artwork from Perkins. Perkins delivers such sinister expressions on key characters throughout the series like Lex Luthor. I also love the way that Perkins depicts characters Metallo with a sense of quiet anger on their face.

Continued below

Clark Kent recently returned home in a storyline called ‘Kal-El Returns.’ It’s been great to see Johnson write a more traditional Superman saga in following the ambitious storyline of the ‘Warworld Saga.’ The moments in this series featuring Clark reuniting with his wife and child have been among the most beautiful moments of “Action Comics.” While it was great to see Johnson take on an ambitious storyline, I’m glad that Superman hasn’t lost his luster after returning home. Also, the amount of build-up that Johnson and the various artists of the series spent building new plot threads in special issues finally feels worth it here. Getting the chance to celebrate his monumental moment in Superman’s life with his full supporting cast is a great moment for DC. Another aspect of “Action Comics” that has me excited is the publisher stating that this series kicks off the ‘Dawn of DC’ publishing initiative with issue #1051.

“Action Comics” #1051 also featured stories from Leah Williams and Marguerite Sauvage exploring how Power Girl is starting to become psychically aware with the DC Universe. While this story didn’t start in “Action Comics” it is still a great tale setting up a Superman-adjacent character with a fascinating new power. The art from Marguerite Sauvage is lush and captures characters like Omen vividly. We also saw a return to the “Lois and Clark” miniseries with Dan Jurgens and Lee Weeks telling a sequel to the story continuing in the pages of “Action Comics.” Lee Weeks delivers gorgeous art with a thick line that depicts beautiful stoic moments. There are now three fascinating stories to explore each month in this new era of “Action Comics.”

How can you read it?

You can purchase “Action Comics” monthly from DC Comics wherever finer issues are sold. “Superman: Action Comics Vol. 1: Warworld Rising” is the first collection of this series that is on-sale right now. Don’t miss the sharp characterization of Clark Kent in the pages of “Action Comics!”

//TAGS | Don't Miss This

Alexander Jones


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