We’ll also have the review of the latest “Smallville” up later today, and the Digital Disc Picks will likely appear Monday night.
Title: “Superman: New Krypton” is a ten part, line-wide event through the Superman family of titles. Specific issues and their creative teams (listed in reading order) are as follows:
|Superman: New Krypton Special||Geoff Johns, James Robinson and Sterling Gates||Pete Woods, Gary Frank and Renato Guedes||Pete Woods, Jon Sibal and Wilson Magalhaes||Hi-Fi|
|Superman #681||James Robinson||Renato Guedes||Wilson Magalhaes||David Curiel|
|Adventure Comics Special featuring the Guardian||James Robinson||Pere Perez||Pere Perez||David Baron|
|Action Comics #871||Geoff Johns||Pete Woods||Pete Woods||Brad Anderson|
|Supergirl #35||Sterling Gates||Jamal Igle||Keith Champagne||Nei Ruffino|
|Superman #682||James Robinson||Renato Guedes||Wilson Magalhaes||David Curiel|
|Action Comics #872||Geoff Johns||Pete Woods||Pete Woods||Brad Anderson|
|Supergirl #36||Sterling Gates||Jamal Igle||Keith Champagne||Tom Chu|
|Superman #683||James Robinson||Renato Guedes and Jorge Correa||Wilson Magalhaes and Jorge Correa||David Curiel|
|Action Comics #873||Geoff Johns||Pete Woods and Renato Guedes||Pete Woods and Wilson Magalhaes||Brad Anderson and David Curiel|
This event launches directly out of the Brainiac story arc that preceeds it. That arc is well written and entertaining, and serves as a better jumping on point than this one does. If you’re thinking about getting the “New Krypton” collections, consider getting “Brainiac” while you’re at it. Much is recapped along the way, but the short version is that “Braniac” ends as follows (spoiler guarded, highlight to read): Superman has been off planet, facing Brainiac. Not on of the probes he’d previously faced, but the genuine, full scale, planetary threat original. He manages to defeat him, but the result is almost entirely unsatisfying. The conflict kept him off planet while Jonathan Kent suffered a fatal heart attack, and the military took the dormant but living Brainiac with them. The upside is that Brainiac’s ship contained the bottle city of Kandor, captured from Krypton, which Clark then transplanted at one of Earth’s poles. Released from the bottle, Kandor and its population of 100,000 Kryptonians was completely restored in its new home on Earth. End spoiler.
100,000 Kryptonians now live on Earth. Superman is trying to educate them about Earth’s rules and ways of life, but not all of them wish to adapt to Earth when the alternative is to make Earth adapt to them. Many are, in fact, quite confused; when their city was first put in a bottle, General Zod was considered a Kryptonian hero, and that’s not a view they’ll easily shake.
The relationship between Lex Luthor and his new benefactor.
The Guardian special really didn’t seem to fit, apart from setting the stage for a new Adventure Comics line due later this year. In interrupts the flow of the story, with a story set primarily before part one even takes place.
Superman has long been (one of) the “Last Son(s) of Krypton” as one of his defining characteristics. While the Silver Age rendition would take occasional trips to the bottle city of Kandor, it was always held within a bottle. Now there are thousands of Kryptonians, with all of his abilities, out there, sharing Earth and its orbit with Superman. The usual argument against this kind of story was that it makes Superman less special. This creative team have gone out of their way to show that Superman is special for his ethics and decisions as much as he is special for his powers. That’s an original take and story in a 70 year history of the character, to the best of my knowledge. I give it 5 out of 6.
The artwork suffers only by the rotating teams. While I prefer some teams to others, any single team still produced good work. Sadly, the revolving door of art teams required by the nature of the project (barring writing the scripts a year in advance and handing them over to one creative team) highlights the differences more than one would have hoped. I give it 4 out of 6.
The story opens very interestingly, detours a bit with part 3, and then gets back on track until it degenerates into another big fight in part 9. The ultimate conclusion also has undeniable impact on the entire line for the forseeable future. I give it 4 out of 6.
The characterization is well done, particularly with Superman, Ma Kent, Supergirl, Alura, Zor-El, Lex Luthor, or Lex’s new benefactor. We barely know the new heroes (Flamebird, Nightwing, and Superwoman) and cannot judge them, but they were not significant to the larger story. The major players are consistent, clear and interesting. I give it 5 out of 6.
The emotional response is generally strong. I stopped collecting Supergirl because she had three different histories in her first three story arcs, convincing me that she was reintroduced to replace the character Peter David was writing with the “proper” version, defined by heritage rather than purpose or personality. This laid a big chunk of that to rest, explaining the inconsistencies and picking one particular version to use moving forward. I started following Superman with the “Sightings” issue that kicked off the Brainiac arc in Action Comics, and followed “New Krypton” to follow the character under that creative team. That team, of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, are taking time off the main titles until they launch “Superman: Secret Origin” later this year, so I’ll take time off with them. I enjoyed this arc, but not enough to keep me around to see its implications through at this time. I give it 4 out of 6.
The flow is pretty smooth given the rotating teams. Issue 3 doesn’t mesh well, and should have been done as a prologue instead in my opinion,
but the rest move nicely from issue to issue and team to team. They clearly hashed out definite plot outlines for each part as a group before putting this together. The shifting styles of art teams are the only interruptions I’ve noticed, apart from issue 3. I give it 4 out of 6.
Overall, it’s a storyline well worth picking up if you’re a fan of the character or if you plan to follow any of the supertitles in the next year or two. I give it 4 out of 6.
In total, Superman: New Krypton receives 30 out of 42.
Additional Notes and Comments
The fallout from this will have major consequences on the lead cast in the Superman family of titles. Action Comics will feature new Kryptonian heroes Nightwing and Flamebird and not Superman, Superman will be telling a story which could be subtitled “World Without A Superman,” Supergirl will keep its current team and direction, and a new Superman: New Krypton series will launch to go along with these, which sounds like it may be the only series featuring Superman himself. More details can be found at the top of this edition of Newsarama.com’s regular “Dan Didio: 20 Answers, 1 Question” column.