In recent years, it’s become common to browse various publishing initiatives at DC – every DC fan knows that! We’ve been through Rebirth and Infinite Frontier, and now we’re starting a new phase, dubbed the Dawn of DC. That means new directions, new costumes, and characters old and new thrust into the spotlight, sometimes for the first time in years.
All of the above is presented in Action comic #1051, the first issue in the new direction of the legendary series. It is also the first issue of its new format, with a main feature by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Rafa Sandoval, as well as two backup features. This time around, the lineup includes Lois and Clark by Dan Jurgens and Lee Weeks, as well as Power Girl by Leah Williams and Marguerite Sauvage.
The main function, “Speeding Bullets Part 1introduces the reader to the new status quo, which includes the first appearance of Clark Kent’s restored secret identity as well as the debut of the Superfamily of the future.
So, it’s true, the Clark Kent thing. As most know, Superman has spent the last few years without a secret identity. Well, since last issue, Lex Luthor has been using the last power of the now deceased Manchester Black to install some sort of psychic block on the world to prevent them from knowing or discovering Superman’s identity. Breaking this “rule” has very serious health consequences – consequences that landed Perry White in the hospital when Clark attempted to interact with him without secret.
As for the explanations for the return of the Secret Identity, this one isn’t bad. It’s hard to put that genie back in the bottle, after all, and this time around we’ve been spared any edits or retcons. It kind of makes me wonder what happened to all the video footage and newspaper articles – but overthinking the comics is the death of the fun, so I’ll just go around as it comes.
The return of Superman’s “anonymity” may also be useful in avoiding some of the consequences of a growing anti-alien movement, called Blue Earth. This move gains prominence in this issue as they take part in a press conference led by the Steels, John Henry and Natasha Irons.
The new Super Family, which includes Supergirl, Superboy (Conner Kent), fellow Supermans Jon Kent and Kenan Kong, and newcomers Otho and Osul, who have been dubbed the Super Twins, is also highlighted during this same press conference. by the media. The entire team has adopted a uniform appearance with more or less matching costumes, with the obvious exception of Clark himself, who keeps his classic threads.
And it’s not just the public face of the Superfamily that’s changing – behind the scenes, an announcement is being made within the family itself that is changing its makeup for the foreseeable future, with consequences as yet unknown.
Bullets for speeding has a long way to go, from status changes to the long-awaited return of John “Metallo” Corben. The latter has been slowly building for months now, taking Corben from an angry robot body in a jail cell to a seemingly human container of kryptonite, all while infusing him with the kind of sympathetic pathos that makes him a villain. complex and interesting. I can’t say I ever had a great passion for Metallo, but as things stand I’m really interested in what happens to him – if there’s one thing I can say about this latest series on Action Comics is that Johnson did a great job of taking villains that I didn’t care about at all and making me respect them as strengths (Mongul) or feel for them as people (Metallo). That’s no excuse for Metallo’s actions or prejudice, but mean or not, I prefer a complicated character to a simpler character every day.
Despite several moving parts, Speeding Bullets never feels rushed or crowded, and there are plenty of character beats to keep things interesting and personal, including a moment that will likely haunt Jon Kent’s nightmares for years to come ( cough). All in all, it’s a solid foundation to build the future of Superman comics on…the only thing I’m not sure about are the matching costumes. Hmm, think about it.
Sandoval’s artwork is always nice, this issue squeaks it a bit – it’s less slick and shiny and more humanized in a way that still looks good, and has a really interesting fit/balance with Lee Weeks’ work in the following story.
The first of our backup features this month is “Back home,by legendary Superscribe Dan Jurgens with Lee Weeks on art assignments. This story is kind of an interesting throwback, while bringing a past story back into current continuity more firmly and with a little less confusion.
For those who may not be aware, in the final days of The New 52, DC moved away from rebooted continuity and into what would become the Rebirth Initiative and its associated continuity. One of the strangest choices made at the time was to bring post-Crisis Superman to the rebooted world of New 52, positing that he and Lois had been timeline refugees living undercover on a farm. . In the end the New52 Superman was killed off and then the two were combined into the current Superman which is, more or less, post-Crisis compatible – I’m not even sure there are any traces of the New52 continuity left in him at this point.
In any case, the way these things fit together has always been a bit confusing to me, so now we have an answer – the farm is here, but as a more short-term respite during Jon’s early years rather than ‘a 10-year withdrawal from the public eye. Now, following Superman’s confrontation with Doombreaker in the Death of Superman 30th Anniversary Special, Metropolis is in such a sorry state that Perry White has ordered everyone to telecommute, and the Kents decide to do so. from their old farm.
It’s a sweet throwback, really – I’ve never been so interested in the concept of Lois and Clark on a farm, personally, but if there’s anything after Jurgens’ run on Ric ‘Nightwing? ?” Grayson taught me that a consummate professional can make even unappealing concepts enjoyable. The down-to-earth feel of the story is further enhanced by Lee Weeks’ masterful illustrations. Weeks is always a great choice for any superhero story that relies as much or more on the humanity of the characters involved than on their superhumanity. I’m also sure a lot of people will enjoy seeing Jon’s child again, as his advanced age seems to be a sore point among readers, to say the least.
The second backup “Head as a Whole” by Leah Williams and Marguerite Sauvage looks set to launch Power Girl on a genuinely surprising new path…and with a surprising partner, too. During Lazarus Planet, Power Girl’s abilities were altered to include telepathy (!), including a seemingly permanent psychic link to Lilith “Omen” Clay, one of the lesser known Teen Titans of the 60s. going to say that I think it’s incredibly strange. It’s not meant to be an insult or a complaint, it’s just not at all what I would have expected from a Super-Character. They have always been, on the whole, physical characters. Additionally, Power Girl herself has always been a Justice Society guy with no substantial connection to the Titans.
That said, it’s an interesting path to follow – the road well traveled isn’t always the road best traveled, so to speak. It’s interesting to see Karen, often portrayed as brash and aggressive, take on a more meditative role as a… psychic therapist? That seems to be where it’s at, which is fascinating – I’ve always lamented that DC doesn’t have a superhero therapist like Marvel does, and it looks like that might change, albeit in a way. less traditional. Given that the last time DC attempted to address its heroes’ mental health issues the result was mass murder (see Heroes in Crisis), a change in approach may be needed anyway. If it sticks, good for DC, they need it.
The artwork of this story also deserves a special mention. While the work of Sandoval and Weeks kind of goes together – with both portraying themselves as the somewhat grounded side of superheroes, with one (Sandoval) leaning towards the super and the other (Weeks) towards the human element, Sauvage’s work is brilliant, slightly whimsical and extremely pretty. It almost reminds me of something I would see in a fantasy comic.
Much like the main story, my only real note of uncertainty is the new costume. But it fits that role more than his classic role, so I agree.