- November 10, 2021
Action Comics #1036 Review
Written by: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art by: Daniel Sampere
Coloring by: Adriano Lucas
Lettering by: Dave Sharpe
What’s more important for making a good villain? The way he talks, the way he walks, or what he talks and walks for? Mongul is a classic Superman villain, famous for one good story. Finally, he’ll have another, because of how Action Comics #1036, and Johnson run as a whole has reinvented him.
Mongul has created a way of life that traps people underneath him in fear, pain, and agony. He has revealed it to Superman at the perfect time, as the Man of Steel stands to lose all of his powers, and has his son back home to replace him. Mongul’s plan is diabolical, and he does it with the lackeys and diction of the finest caliber so far. He resembles the best characterizations of Darkseid to a ‘T,’ and if Darkseid weren’t already doing something in Infinite Frontier, I’d be questioning why he isn’t the villain of this story.
Action Comics #1036 lands because it establishes the threat of Mongul so well, without ever feeling contrived. There are over-the-top and long-winded speeches that both acknowledge how stereotypical they are while being absolutely terrifying. Even before Superman’s condition has been completely revealed to people who haven’t been reading Superman & the Authority, Superman feels like he’s up against an unbreakable wall.
There’s this perfect tension throughout the issue where you look and see Superman and his team, ready to kick ass and take names, decimating Warworld’s first line of defense, and yet, you always feel like they’re on the downturn. Action Comics #1036 perfectly offsets the writing and art to make you feel unsafe when you can’t think of any reason to.
The art makes the Apocalypse-looking Warworld terrifying and intimidating while still making it stunning. Sampere’s style has been a highlight throughout this whole run and that isn’t going to stop now. He captures the love of Kal-El and the horror of Warworld with every panel of this issue. The Warworld Saga has started on the top of its game, and I can’t wait for the next issue.