Superman’s true enemy has been revealed: the Cyborg Superman, Hank Henshaw!
Everything the Super-Family has built stands on a knife’s edge, and Superman and Metallo become the unlikeliest of allies as they hunt for Metallo’s missing sister. Can they prevent the inevitable devolution of Metallo’s mind and body long enough to save his sister from Henshaw’s monstrous plans?
ComicBook.comAction Comics #1055 is about as solid a Superman comic as you can get, at least in terms of the main story. Yes, the two back up stories are still decent though they do feel a bit like they are treading water at this point, but the main story from Phillip Kennedy Johnson is some of the best of this run to date. Superman and the rest of the Super Family go to some extreme measures in order to find Tracy Corben – and that means more than just teaming up with Metallo. The Eradicator is back and on the hunt for Cyborg Superman, but while that combination of things could be messy and sensational, what results is actually a really tightly done bit of character study that digs into how Metallo became Metallo and the nature of what abuse and violence and just one wrong turn can do to a person. It is beautifully done on every level, from story to art. This is a fantastic issue all around.
But Why Tho?You can’t go wrong with Action Comics #1055. Folks are starting to learn what fans already know. Superman is awesome, as is his supporting cast and the city he lives in. Grab this issue and get three great tales for the price of one.
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Geek DadThe Superman line is as good as it’s ever been, thanks to a one-two punch of lead books. Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s lead story would be a fantastic book on its own, thanks to its combination of high-octane action with deep continuity lore and great character moments. Little beats like Jon and Kon’s growing friendship with Kenan and Otho and Osul’s more ruthless streak than the rest of the family bring the story to life. Now that the murderous Cyborg Superman has been revealed as the mastermind behind Metallo’s attack, Clark is forced to call on the forgotten fourth member of the Reign of the Supermen clan—Eradicator—for help. Surprisingly, though, Metallo winds up stealing this story to a large extent. The tragic story of his start of darkness, combined with his slowly returning humanity, make him a compelling tragic figure, and one that I suspect is headed for a sad ending given the cliffhanger. The Jon Kent backup by Jurgens and Weeks is also great, as Clark and Lois battle the out-of-control Doombreaker while Jon is missing in action. We last saw Jon’s companion Glynna be revealed not as a teenage refugee from ruthless alien Jacobins, but a conquering alien desperate to hold on to her ill-gotten power. The cliffhanger reveals that things may be even darker than that. In many ways, this feels like Jon’s first solo adventure outside of Damian’s orbit, and I think we’re seeing some foundations here for what he’ll become. The rotating backup this month focuses on Steel, in the second part of the Steelworks prelude. John Henry has assembled Metropolis luminaries to test the limits of Steelworks, with Natasha and Superboy in action to deliver some fireworks. This backup has done a great job of establishing just how much Steel has advanced as a tech powerhouse in the DCU—something that gets the attention of one of the smartest men in the world. I’m excited for Michael Dorn’s take as well, but this backup is so good I’m wondering why Quick didn’t just get the whole series.
Superman HomepageSTORY 1: Philip Kennedy Johnson and Joshua Williamson are among the few modern comic book writers I've been enjoying lately. They seem to have a love for the medium, and they tell good stories that evolve the characters without sacrificing said characters or violating continuity. Johnson's run on this title has been impressive. This chapter is just one example of how he adds new spins to classic heroes and villains, thereby adding more depth to them. Metallo has especially gone from a mere cyborg to someone with motives for everything he does. The ending with Metallo's sister becoming like her brother was an amazing twist that made this chapter one of the best in the series. STORY 2: The story does take the predictable route of making Glyanna the tyrant. That doesn't change the fact that Lois and Clark is my favorite feature in this title. The main story is amazing, as I stated before, but the Bronze Age nerd in me will always have a soft spot for Dan Jurgens' Superman stories. STORY 3: I'm only knocking a point off the score because much of the dialogue slows down the chapter quite a bit. The story itself is rather good. It just didn't have the pacing of part one. The appearance off Mister Terrific on the last page was a brilliant way to end this. I can't wait to see what happens in the next issue.
Comic WatchAction Comics #1055 has some fun action sequences as the Super-Family fights through the Necrohive – a grotesque cohort of cybernetic zombies created by Cyborg Superman. Visually, watching the Super-Family Adonises fight monstrous adversaries is always a treat. One of the many things to admire about this storyline is how Phillip Kennedy Johnson conveys the fragility of perfection in the sundry personality disorders of the super team. Insecurity, rage, and above all – the pressure of perfection – permeate their actions and words. The appearance of the Eradicator (another fun throwback to the Death of Superman era) points out these flaws. It reminds us that under their veneer, the “sullied clones” and “half-Terran progeny” of Superman are, from a particular perspective, as much of an abomination as Cyborg Superman and Metallo. In a winding story that has Superman surrounded by decades of continuity in the form of clones, cyborg doppelgängers, super-mutts, and a Kryptonite-hearted killing machine, the Eradicator is the Kryptonian purity mirror that reminds the reader that there is a fine line between heroes and villains. The sentiment is embodied in the redemption arc of Metallo. His obvious concern for his sister and some artfully placed flashbacks make this issue work, and readers will find themselves rooting for the grotesque and loathsome war machine to kick some cyborg ass by the end of the issue. Excellent pacing and enthralling art by Rafa Sandoval propel this story to an exciting cliffhanger that makes the reader excited to learn more about Metallo’s sister (seriously). This issue features two fun, if less than stellar, backup tales that continue Dan Jurgen’s Home Again story and the second entry in Dorado Quick’s Steel: Engineer of Tomorrow. While not as compelling as the main feature, both feature some great action sequences by Lee Weeks and Yasmin Flores Montanez, respectively. This Phillip Kennedy Johnson run on Action Comics is certain to be a fan favorite for a very long time and the aggregate quality of these 44 pages will remind readers that this is a great time to be a fan of Superman comics!
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Supergirl Comic Box CommentaryThe main feature is written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson with art by Rafa Sandoval. It continues the Metallo story but with the added bonus of the big bad being Hank Henshaw the Cyborg Superman. Kennedy does the usual bit of magic, weaving in story beats for all the family members. Superman remains a role model for the twins while trying to rehabilitate Metallo. Kara is the smartest person in the room. And best of all, we get the return of the Eradicator. That means all 4 members of the Reign of Superman are in this story! There's action! There's plot! There's character moments! The young Jon story is proceeding just about the way I thought it would. Lee Weeks is back on art. It is good to see young Jon learning the ropes and some valuable lessons. But I think Dan Jurgens telegraphed the plot twist a little. Lastly, the Steel story by Dorado Quick and Yasmin Montanez has branched out to include some of the extended super-family. But I don't know exactly where it is going. All in all, a very good issue with a sparkling lead.
COMICONJohnson writes a story that’s equal parts action, nostalgia, and character. This issue is perhaps the strongest of the story arc in that last respect. Everyone gets at least a moment to shine, even if the story doesn’t focus on them, and Metallo is humanized more than he’s probably ever been. Meanwhile the fight against the Metallos is a lot of fun, and Johnson builds great tension as the family strides into their confrontation with Henshaw.
The Comicbook DispatchAction Comics #1055 reveals the mastermind who’s been manipulating Metallo and targeting the Super Family lately – Cyborg Superman is back, sort of. We don’t really get Cyborg Superman in action, but the comic does a good job in catching readers up to who he is and what his twisted brand of villainy is like. The creative team do a good job in balancing action with drama in this comic as Superman has to make uncomfortable allies with Metallo and a version of the Eradicator to pinpoint Cyborg Superman. All in all, the comic does a fine job in setting the stage for the big battle between the Super Family and Cyborg Superman in the next issue.
Weird Science DC ComicsWell, two out of three ain't bad. Action Comics #1055 delivers an impressive ensemble story that will make Reign of the Supermen fans giddy. Dan Jurgens's chapter about a teenage despot who kidnaps young Jon Kent has solid action and an interesting moral dilemma. But Dorado Quick's Steel story is all kinds of terrible.
Multiversity Comics”Action Comics” #1055 is loaded with fascinating content that fleshes out the world of Metropolis vividly in the Dawn of DC era.
Lyles Movie FilesAt this point Action Comics doesn’t need to have bonus pages or side stories. The main Superman & family story from Phillip Kennedy Johnson has been solid with strong character work and terrific action. But the secondary stories are dragging the title down and needlessly raising the price. Johnson’s story features a throwback to the Reign of the Supermen with Superman, Superboy, Steel and The Eradicator (joined by Metallo and the twins) facing off with Cyborg Superman in an effort to save Metallo’s sister, Tracy. Johnson has been excellent at bringing out the humanity in his characters finding a poignant and tragic backstory to Metallo’s origin and his need to keep his sister safe. Cyborg Superman could care less about family reunions and sees Tracy as a means to get revenge on his hated rivals. The artwork from Rafa Sandoval is crisp with It’s the secondary stories that hold the title back from being a must-read. Dan Jurgens and Lee Weeks’ story with the alien princess blackmailing Superman by holding Jon hostage would probably be more interesting if it wasn’t for the forced inclusion of Doombreaker. This Doomsday off-shoot feels like an effort to recapture the 1992 magic of a Superman-killing machine, but he’s just a random, boring brute. The slow pacing isn’t helping the story either as it doesn’t feel like enough material to stretch it out this long. Weeks’ artwork is terrific bringing strong emotion to the battles and character reactions like Lois Lane discovering Jon has been kidnapped. Elizabeth Breitweiser’s color work is also stunning. The third story, featuring Steel from writer Dorado Quick and artist YasmÍn Flores Montañez, is the biggest problem. Quick’s dialogue reads like someone trying to throw in as much slang as possible like, “But you know, you done messed up now, right?” from Mr. Terrific, a character who’d never speak in that kind of manner. Steel II’s dialogue is even worse with gems such as “You know the vibes!” “Boy, bye! I got work to do” and “Time to break this shield’s mood!” Most of the story features John Henry Irons making a boring presentation. It only starts to turn interesting when Mr. Terrific and a mole from a rival company get introduced. None of that matters with Quick’s dialogue. Montañez’s art is decent though in some panels the characters look flat. Johnson and Sandoval’s main story is the big attraction here as the other stories aren’t doing enough to justify the higher price.
AIPT“Tech Alive”, written by Philip Kennedy Johnson with art by Rafa Sandoval, is yet another enjoyable entry in Johnson’s run on Action Comics, despite reaffirming some concerns I had from the previous issue. In addition, the backup stories still leave something to be desired as far as engaging content. (...) Overall, while I enjoyed the principal story for this issue, I am ready for this arc to wrap up so Johnson can move on to whatever is next in his run. I also hope that the next issue can conclude this portion of Johnson’s run in a satisfying way without feeling rushed; time will tell whether or not such a thing is in the cards for Action Comics.
You Don't Read ComicsAction Comics #1055 goes from awesome to good to okay. It’s still an excellent book, but the back-ups feel like they’re running out of steam, which is a problem in a book with two of them.
Comics Nexus by Inside PulseAn ecclectic issue with three compelling stories. The art teams were not complementary, but the tales were to vary degrees intriguing. No sure readers are emotionally invested in Metallo’s sister, but DC has tried to illicit that in the last several issues. I appreciate the nods the milestone Death and Return of Superman storyline and am curious at least where the main story of the issue goes from here.