superman: new krypton

So I’ve finished the Superman: New Krypton cross over story line. With all that’s going on in the DCU at the moment, this felt like Blackest Night, but ya’ know, for Superman and not Green Lantern. With New Krypton we get a large story that encompasses all the characters in the Superman family. The story is very complex, so here we go —

The short of it; Brainiac attacks (I know… shocking), Superman fights back (spoiler alert), finds the bottled city of Kandor, sets the miniature city free in the Arctic. While the enlarging process happens Clark can’t hear Jonathan as he dies. Clark loses a part of his earthly family, but gains his Krytonian family. On Kandor are Zor-El and Lara, is uncle and aunt, who also happen to be Supergirl’s parents. [note: I know what you’re thinking… “aren’t Zor-El and Lara from Argo City??? And not Kandor? You would be correct. But while Argo floated to certain doom while escaping Krypton’s explosive demise, Brainiac found them and assimilated them in to his already bottled city of Kandor. Now that that’s cleared up, on we go]

Kara/Supergirl is reunited with her parents, and Superman gets to know some of his own people. Well… the humans know Superman, but now there are thousands of other “supermen” flying around earth. They’re not used to their powers, and they certainly aren’t aware of Earth’s customs and laws, tension grows and Kandor lifts up from Earth creating New Krypton opposite Earth’s orbit.

General Sam Lane distrusts, and always has, the aliens, Superman included. He’s formed his own plan to be rid of them. This brings in Jimmy Olsen, who’s tracking down a clone of The Guardian and uncovering General Lane’s plot. Superman then wants to get to know his people, so he leaves Earth, but makes sure that it’s covered. Ya’ know, superheroics-wise.

The Guardian clone comes out of hiding and takes up the golden helmet and shield with the Science Police (wait a minute, yes I know, but it’ll be explained later), a new police division to deal with meta humans, think a police squad with Iron Man suits. Next, Supes asks Steel. Then… Mon-El is brought out of the Phantom Zone, because it’s collapsing, so he’d rather die on Earth than the zone. But once he’s pulled out, Superman finds a serum that arrests the lead poisoning that’s killing him. Superman talks the Guardian in to integrating Mon-El in to the Science Police (seeee). Then there’s Superboy/Conner to help out as well.

Now Superman is ready to join New Krypton, he finds out that Lara hates Earth, wants Supergirl to just live on New Krypton. Reactron kills Zor-El and this makes Lara the new leader, she brings General Zod, Non and Ursa back in to the Kryptonian Military. Much to Superman’s protest.

Drama happens, Superman/Kal-El is made Commander El in the military all the while there’s Nightwing and Flamebird running/flying around on Earth trying to escape General Lane and his whole secret unit.

Brainiac makes a re-appearance along with Luthor and starts to attack New Krypton. Zod has his own plan in dealing with the attack, while Superman from experience, does what he does.

There’s fights and a big happy ending where the status quo is returned back to normalcy.

When I first started this cross over story arc, I was a bit disappointed. Cause it actually starts with a story line before New Krypton, with Superman: Brainiac. And then the New Krypton stuff starts. But we don’t start with Superman, we start with Jimmy Olsen in his search for the clone of Jim Harper/The Guardian and this bad guy called Assassin. Vol 2 is more with Zor-El and Superman getting to know his people. For a Superman cross over story arc there’s not much Superman at times, but I do get it, cause the New Krypton story arc crosses over with other titles, like Supergirl and Mon-El. Then there’s the Nightwing and Flamebird stuff, with Chris Kent (Zod’s son, Clark’s adopted son) and Thara (Supergirl’s best friend from Kandor) and they’re trying to track some Kryptonian criminals that escaped to Earth.

One of the most enjoyable volumes of this arc were the Mon-El ones. We get to see his experience as he comes in to being a superhero and being human. He knows of his impending death, because the vile just slowed his poisoning to a crawl, but his death is still coming, so he chooses to take the task Superman charged him with and a strong pursuit of life. It was a real pick me up in the middle of the drag that was Nightwing and Flamebird. And some what, some of the Supergirl stuff. Back to Mon-El, with his last volume, that should’ve been the end of the whole story arc, because they put him back in the Phantom Zone and he appears in the 30th Century where he belongs… with the Legion.

Then it starts to really get good once we hit The Last Stand of Krypton volumes, plus the War of the Supermen. I read those three volumes in one afternoon. It was remarkable how quickly I zoomed through them. Was the build up worth the pay off in those last three volumes??? I don’t think so.

I know we needed the build up and the set up, but did we need so much of it? I wish that the earlier stuff had the same momentum as the later volumes. I can’t help but compare it to Green Lantern Blackest Day, where the build up was almost ongoing.

What my real problem with New Krypton is… the lack of a true villain. Is Zod the villain? It was Brainiac at the end, but he only appears at the beginning and at the end, sooo yes and no? Zod needed to be the villain, through and through, the approach they took was that Zod was misunderstood and did his time as a criminal, so that made him not a bad guy. I’m not sure how I feel about Sam Lane as the villain. New Krypton really needed a strong enough villain to battle Superman, instead they threw a couple of villains at him; Zod, Brainiac, Luthor and Sam Lane.

The New Krypton story arc was ambitious, and I give Robinson and Rucka credit for finishing what Johns started, they definitely get an A for effort. But when you have stuff like Blackest Night to compare it to, it doesn’t come close. I hope that we do get something of this scope again for the Superman titles.


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