Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Action Comics 2021 Annual #1 Review

Night Of The Living Phantom Zone

Written By: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art By: Siya Oum, Scott Godlewski, Hi-Fi, Dave Sharpe
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: July 13, 2021

It's storytime as we head into the future and see a tale about the House of El who we originally saw around the year 3000 in the Future State House of El one-shot from the beginning of the year and while I thought that story was okay, there wasn't much substance to it besides for showing crazy Superman descendants, like half Tamaranian ones, Blue Lantern ones and evil magic ones. That was essentially the whole deal as the House of El fought against their own to create peace in the Universe. Hopefully this Annual gives us more than what we got because if we're heading back to Future State so soon... I'm going to need a reason for the trip. Let's jump into this issue and check it out.

For this Annual we see Warworld in the present.... or possibly the past and there we see some children gathering around to be told a story and the story is one that will take place in the far future..... So since this is an Annual and doesn't need to continue, the events in this issue could be nothing more than a story, even though they have characters who we've seen in Future State, but if it is something that will actually go on, this issue feels weird because every time it does something outside of the descendants of Superman that we saw in the House of El Future State story, it gets weird and doesn't jibe with things that we've seen as recently as Future State. Like Kara Zor-El is here, even though we saw that she died at the end of her own Future State book in the year 2050 and we have Phillip Kennedy's Johnson's version of the Phantom Zone..... which is fine I guess, everyone always wants to do their own Phantom Zone and while I personally don't care for the new concept for it, it is what it is and I'm sure it will have its fans overall, but in the Phantom Zone, we have Hank Henshaw who's been stuck within the Zone for hundreds of years and is finally released by Kara because she doesn't think that Superman intended for him to be there that long but the last time we saw Hank Henshaw, he had escaped a new prison because Superman decided that the Phantom Zone was too cruel and didn't want to use it anymore.

There's just weirdness all around in this issue that ultimately doesn't do much but feel like a lead in to what we got in the Future State House of El book, where we get to see the marriage of Khan El and Alura Van-El.... but since you only saw these characters in a one-shot months ago, I don't know who this is going to make rush out and get this book. It's nice enough ultimately, but the lack of connection with these characters makes this an inconsequential read and even the villain of that Future State book strangely feels like he doesn't even want to be involved with this story.

All in all, the art in this book looks great, the individual looks and styles of these Superman descendants are what feel like the main attraction but this like the Future State one-shot feel like it's style over substance and sadly, the substance we got here felt weird, out of place or even just out of continuity with its own strange future. If you were a fan of that House of El story and fell in love with those characters you'll definitely want to pick this up because where they felt war-torn in that previous story, this is a more lighthearted approach to the characters during a joyous time and while they don't exactly feel like who we got previously because of what they haven't gone through yet, this is ultimately an issue about family and the legacy that they're trying to preserve and that's a decent enough idea.

Bits and Pieces:

While all the Superman Family members of the future look cool and distinct, the story in this Annual feels a bit odd all together with its new ideas about classic things, its discontinuity with other Future State stories, and ultimately, it didn't feel like it needed to be as long as it was for the story it was telling, but that being said, the book looked great and if you wanted a younger version of the Future State House of El character then I'm sure you'll enjoy this story but sadly, I wanted more out of it.


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