Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Action Comics 2023 Annual #1 Review



Written by: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art by: Max Raynor
Colors by: Matt Herms
Letters by: Dave Sharpe
Cover art by: Rafa Sandoval (cover A)
Cover price: $5.99
Release date: December 26, 2023

Action Comics 2023 Annual #1 brings Superman and his allies together for a final fight against Sister Shadow for the fate of the world.
Is Action Comics 2023 Annual #1 Good?

Action Comics 2023 Annual #1 brings the New Worlds arc and Phillip Kennedy Johnson's time on Action Comics to an end when Superman and his magical allies infiltrate Earth Al Ghul to save Osul. Packed with action and sky-high stakes, Johnson successfully swings for the fences to go out on a high note.

When last we left Superman, he arrived on Earth Al Ghul with Etrigan and Bloodwynd to rescue Osul from Norah Stone, aka Sister Shadow. Meanwhile, Stone's Blue Earth movement created an escalating mess back in Metropolis. Now, Superman, Etrigan, and Bloodwynd battle giant bats and Al Ghul's knights to rescue Osul before she becomes the latest vessel in Sister Shadow's extended life. Etrigan stops the ritual, sending Sister Shadow into a fury, so the villain opens a portal to Earth Zero and begins the invasion with a mind-controlled Osul by her side.

In the end, it takes the combined might of heroes, family, and legends to bring Sister Shadow down.

Without giving too much of the ending away, Johnson's departure from the title isn't accompanied by a new status quo for the Super Family or Osul and Otho. The story ends with a heartfelt happily ever after that concludes the Blue Earth movement and Sister Shadow's plans, ending the Johnson era on a hopeful note.

What's great about Action Comics 2023 Annual #1? Norah Stone's reveal as Sister Shadow felt like too big a reveal to be done justice so close to the end of the arc, but to Johnson's credit, he made it work. Johnson's pacing and plot development are on point, the scale of Sister Shadow's invasion is a massive threat, and all Super Family members get a moment or two to shine.

What's not so great about Action Comics 2023 Annual #1? Johnson delivers a solid ending. There are one or two points that feel rushed through, likely due to lack of page space and time, but the rushed moments aren't so bad.

How's the art? Raynor's art hits the nail on the head for a climactic, action-packed finale. Raynor's style has plenty of visual pop, the fighting is choreographed well, and the quieter, heartfelt moments land well.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Action Comics 2023 Annual #1 is a fitting end to the New Worlds arc and Phillip Kennedy Johnson's time on Action Comics. Admittedly, the smaller scenes feel rushed in spots due to lack of page space, but the final fight feels big against a formidable villain with an army, and the art looks great.


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