I will admit I am not a regular Superman reader. I tend to check out new creative teams or events and then slink away soon after. It’s a character that I appreciate but with so much out there, there’s only so much time to read. Action Comics #1051 kicks off this year’s new DC publishing initiative, “Dawn of DC,” which brings in new creative teams and new directions for characters. It felt like the perfect opportunity to see what was going on with the Man of Steel and it might be enough of a start to keep me around for a while.
Action Comics #1051 is an interesting direction for the series which has at times focused on other members of the Superman family in that it does exactly that, focus on the Superman family. It’s everyone from Superboy to Jon, to Supergirl, and the Superman of China. They’re all here and more delivering a debut that delivers a vision of where the series is going to go and takes on an anthology spin. Not only is there a main story focusing on Big Blue and his pals but also two additional stories focused in on other members of team Superman.
Picking up from the previous issue, the featured story is written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson with art by Rafa Sandoval, color by Matt Herms, and lettering by Dave Sharpe. “Speeding Bullets” sees the return of Metallo as the Super crew are taking all that they’ve learned over the years in an attempt to usher in a new age of technology to help Metropolis and the whole world. There’s a treatise in a way, driven by Superman’s time on Warworld. The plan is to do more and we see this “team” attempting to do exactly that. This feels like the first time in a while that the Super-family is exactly that. They have a shared goal and vision and are going to do what so many of us has wondered why they haven’t, use their powers to “do more”. It’s also a chapter that has one of the best moments ever between son and mother that is both horrific and funny. But, most importantly, there’s a balance of a group of superpowered individuals that you can see the good in and want to cheer for mixed with some great action and a reflection on how a world might really react to them. This is the new status-quo and it looks like it’s going to be a good one. The art is wonderful with some great visuals that do a fantastic job of mixing those family moments with big explosions. This story alone is worth getting this issue.
“Home Again” takes things back a bit. Written by Dan Jurgens with art by Lee Weeks, color by Elizabeth Breitweiser, and lettering by Rob Leigh, the story takes place a bit after Superman and Lois moved to California. They return to the home with Jon picking up after the story from The Death of Superman 30th Anniversary Special. It’s just a tease of what’s to come but Jurgen’s writing and the art delivers a story that feels like a bit of a classic in some ways. Jurgens has such a handle on the characters it’s a fantastic read with a slow build going in an unexpected direction. The art by Weeks, Breitweiser, and lettering by Leigh has an ominous feel to it creating an interesting mix with Jurgens’ storytelling style. It’s the perfect morsel to have you excited to see what’s next.
Wrapping things up is “Head Like a Hole.” Written by Leah Williams with art by Marguerite Sauvage, and lettering by Becca Carey the story ties into the current “Lazarus Planet” event going on. Power Girl’s powers have changed and she’s now working as a counselor helping heroes. There’s a bit of Heroes in Crisis to it but the story takes on a touching subject of helping Beast Boy after his tragic experience. It’s not all depressing. The colorful pop art mixed with some funny moments brings a levity to what could easily have been a downer.
Action Comics #1051 is a solid start to the series. With a new anthology focus, it has a little bit of everything making it easy to change things up and keep things fresh. The trio of stories each have their own strengths with a variety of styles and voices and a wide focus. Overall, a solid start to the “Dawn of DC.”
Story: Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Dan Jurgens, Leah Williams
Art: Rafa Sandoval, Lee Weeks, Marguerite Sauvage
Color: Matt Herms, Elizabeth Breitweiser Letterer: Dave Sharpe, Rob Leigh, Becca Carey
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Purchase: Zeus Comics – comiXology/Kindle