Action Comics Prove That Superman’s Powers Never Made Him Boring


Attention: spoilers of Action Comics #1044 are ahead.

As the very first superhero in American comics, Superman has grown a lot over time, and his current comic book era shows why he remains such a stable figure. While Superman has one of the most impressive sets of abilities in the comics, thanks to his Kryptonian biology, he also has an incredibly touching backstory of an alien refugee from a planet that no longer exists. Unlike other characters from the Golden Age of comics, Superman has remained relevant to the zeitgeist because his story reflects the experiences of many people around the world. It is for this reason that Superman’s powers have never made him a boring character, and this fact has been brought to life by the current issues of action comics.

In the action movie by Philip Kennedy Johnson and Riccardo Federici, Superman and his Power team are trapped on the World of War, a desolate place ruled by the tyrant Mongul. The Felosians, a group originally from Krypton, were enslaved by Mongul and forced to fight in his gladiator ring. Over the years, Mongul has managed to brainwash the people of Warworld into believing that their meager circumstances are just and just. As a result, the Phelosians have preserved only scraps of their Kryptonian culture, and many of them are pessimistic about preserving traditions. To make matters worse, the planet is under the rays of the red sun, which neutralizes Superman’s powers. For this reason, the Man of Steel and his allies had to carefully plan their revolution in Warworld. Here the victory will be won by the mobilization of the oppressed against their oppressor, and not by a superhero force.

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It is in these circumstances that the story of Johnson and Federici falls into the very core of the myths about Superman, proving the power that he possesses as an idea and a myth, even without his powers. While Superman’s powers will always be a wonderful sight in comics, it is Johnson’s exploration of his Kryptonian heritage that makes Action Comics a reflection on both cultural loss and cultural continuity for displaced people. Superman succeeds when he is given the opportunity to elevate people, but here he goes beyond that by reconnecting the Felosians with their culture. At the same time, Johnson and Federici argue that Superman should be seen as more than a benevolent fantasy of power — he is also a figure who embodies a radical sense of optimism after cultural destruction.

This emphasis on Kryptonian culture in Action Comics reimagines Superman’s place in the DC universe, making him a culturally-specific folk hero for the Felosians and moving away from his past role as a poster boy for the American Way. Superman never needed his powers to become a symbol of liberation in Warworld because his influence is ultimately rooted in his ideals. By teaching Felosian children traditional Kryptonian art forms in action movie #1044 by Philip Kennedy Johnson, Riccardo Federici, Will Conrad, Lee Loughridge and Dave Sharp, Superman demonstrates that his understanding of liberation goes beyond simply moving people to a safer place. It is also about giving them the tools to restore their cultural foundations that have been taken away from them.

Superman has been endlessly interpreted in DC comics, and this particular era for the character highlighted deeply moving themes related to his Kryptonian culture. Thus, the “Saga of the World of War” radically rethought the power of Superman not in the physical sphere, but in the cultural one. So Superman’s power in DC Comics has never been just about the physical feats he can perform, it’s also been about his ability to unpack evil that can’t be destroyed.