Superman Shows Off His Abs of Steel in Costumeless Cover Art


The Man of Steel bares his abs of steel in a new variant cover for Action Comics #1039.

Shared by series writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson and illustrated by Riccardo Federici, the cover shows a greying, bearded Superman wearing chains, a loincloth and a chest emblem that bears more than a passing resemblance to the streamlined Kryptonian coat of arms that his aged counterpart wrote in the 1996 Elseworlds story Kingdom Come. Looming behind Kal-El is the visage of intergalactic tyrant Mongul, ruler of Warworld — and the soon-to-be jailer of Superman, if the current storyline running in Action Comics is any indication of events to come.

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“The Warworld Saga” kicked off in Action Comics #1036 and saw Superman leaving Earth in the care of his son, Jon Kent, and traveling to Warworld alongside the latest iteration of the superhero team known as The Authority. Johnson teased a “science fiction epic saga for the ages” that will see Superman trapped on Warworld and fighting as a gladiator in Mongul’s arena, which harkens to a possible alternate future that ran in the one-shot Future State Superman: Worlds of War. There, Clark appeared in a uniform similar to the one featured on Federici’s cover, and it was revealed that he had been battling in Mongul’s arena for years — slowly inspiring the warlord’s legions of slaves similar to how he had inspired the citizens of Earth.

Johnson’s story aims to put Superman through the wringer, though whether it will end in the same grim fashion as Future State Superman: Worlds of War remains to be seen. Nevertheless, Johnson has been a vocal proponent of Superman as an enduring symbol of goodness, and recently took the time to address fan concerns that Clark’s Warworld mission would lead to the character’s demise.

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“I’ve been hearing from a lot of Superman fans who are scared by all the recent speculation that Warworld is part of some shady, backdoor corporate plan to ‘replace’ Clark as Superman,” Johnson said at the time. “To those fans: I don’t know how to easy [sic] your worries without spoiling what’s coming, and I can’t do that. But I love Clark Kent as much as you do. Keep reading, and I promise we won’t betray you. Superman is forever.”

Action Comics #1039, written by Johnson and Shawn Aldridge, features art by Miguel Mendonca. The issue goes on sale Jan. 25 from DC Comics.

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Source: Twitter

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