DC Comics reviews 5/31/22 – Justice League Road to Dark Crisis #1

Action Comics 2022 Annual #1


Is Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s Action Comics run the best underappreciated stint of any DC comic the last five years? Superman stuck in exile on Warworld isn’t the most exciting premise, but month after month, Johnson keeps making it engaging and better than it probably should be.

Teaming with Si Spurrier for this annual, Johnson explores both sides of the Warworld conflict with different looks at Superman and Mongul’s upbringing. Johnson and Spurrier show young Clark Kent navigating a bullying classmate and young Mongul becoming a hardened warrior. It’s a great contrast and comic example of nature vs. nurture.

The Kents raise Clark to be compassionate, which proves to have a lasting impact beyond even what X-Ray vision would show. And predictably, Mongul’s mother raises him to be cruel and dispassionate. Ian Churchill illustrates the Clark storyline while Dale Eaglesham handles the Mongul story.

This is the best execution of two artists working on a book when they each have their own subplot. Churchill’s art is lighter with multiple instances of Clark looking up at others — a smart flip on the norm for Superman. Eaglesham crafts a more violent, bloody quest for survival for Mongul and his mother. Colorist Lee Loughridge’s creates a firm distinction between the two subplots with dark, orange and reds for Mongul and golden yellows and greens to simulate Clark’s growth.

Basically, every issue I’m ready for Superman to return to Earth yet Johnson continues to find a way to make this arc work with a sharp focus on making an inspiring and uplifting Superman story. This annual is no different and shouldn’t be missed by any Superman fan.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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