Saturday, November 1, 2008

Review: Superman #681, New Krypton Part 2


New Krypton continues it’s breakneck pacing in this week’s Superman #681, New Krypton chapter 2, written by James Robinson and drawn by Renato Guedes. One thing for sure, if the first 2 issues are any indication, the creative teams are going to cram as much story into the chapters as they can.


The issue opens up with newscasts from across the globe heralding the arrival of Kryptonians to Earth. As it was hinted at in the NewKrypton Special, the Kryptonians who have left Kandor are spread out across the globe. We see broadcasts from the US, parts of Europe, Asia, South America, and the Middle East. It is going to be hard to keep track of all of them dispersed as they are.

We cut to the Daily Planet where Perry White is acting like an Editor of a huge paper would be at a time like this, mobilizing his staff to cover this story, the *only* story that means anything this day. Even Steve Lombard and Cat Grant are asked to report on the Kryptonian presence.



Lois tells Perry that Clark is busy with ‘family issues’ which is true in the sense that the Kandorians are his family, literally and figuratively. Of course, Perry thinks she is talking about helping Ma in the aftermath of Pa’s death.

She also tells Perry about Superman’s plan of bringing a contingent of Kryptonians to meet the President in Metropolis. Superman chose Metropolis rather than Washington DC because Metropolis is his home and would be a good middle ground. Given the near destruction of DC in Amazons Attack, my guess is even the government thought it was a good idea.

One thing glaring about these panels is Lois telling Perry that Superman is going to Antarctica to meet the Kandorians when the Fortress is in the Arctic. This is a small editing glitch, but hard to hear from Lois’ lips.

The scene ends with Perry telling Lois that this is a 'Hell of a time', which could be ominous if you think of Hell as a place of pain and suffering. Maybe Earth is going to suffer because of the Kandorians?


We then see Superman streaking to Kandor only to be stopped by a contingent of heroes from the JLA and JSA. The heroes discuss their concerns of the sudden influx of super-beings on Earth. After all, if 27 of Zod’s followers nearly leveled Metropolis, what could 100,000 beings do. Superman tries to assuage the heroes fears by saying that after decades in a bottle the Kandorians only want peace. Superman says he will set up teachers on both sides, Earth and Krypton, to share information and that both races and Earth will be the better for it.

It sounds a bit naïve to me to be honest. I worry about how this whole conflict is going to affect Kal. But I am glad that this scene happened. There is no way that the super-heroes of Earth would just sit back and watch what would unfold from Kandor's presence. They would want to be an active participant.
In Kandor, Superman again meets up with Zor-El and Alura and readies them to fly to Metropolis. Superman is surprised to see Supergirl arrive to which Kara rebuffs him for not inviting her. Zor-El insists on her joining the delegation.
So Superman did not invite Kara because he doesn't think the President will want her to be there given her downing of Air Force One in Amazons Attack. I can see Superman's point. If people are worried about the power of the transplanted Kryptonians, why have a symbol of what just one of them can do standing in the front.

Yes, Kara's intentions were good there, but I am sure the world is probably quaking about this. Why fan the fire?

Of course, looking at it from Supergirl's perspective, you can see how she would feel again snubbed by Superman. And she is immediately defended by her parents. This may only drive a wedge between the cousins.


And, as guessed by many, Thara Ak-Var makes an appearance. As mentioned early in the Brainiac storyline, Thara was Kara's best friend who was in Kandor when it was shrunk.

Look at this strange interaction. Kara hugs her like schoolgirl friends should. Then Zor-El tell Superman that Thara is the Kandor's Head of Security. It is clear that some time has passed in the bottle, albeit not the full 4 decades. Thara looks more like a woman in her early twenties.

And notice the near slip of the tongue ... she was 'organizing' ... oops I mean 'training' the private guard. Training is for competitions. Organizing is for the military. Add that to Alura's 'new Krypton' comment from the New Krypton Special and I am starting to think that the Kryptonians have known all along that they would attempt to conquer Earth, or whatever planet they eventually were restored upon. And the quick, it was 'not given but earned' comment. Weird. Thara seems pretty 'law and order' so maybe she isn't the masked Flamebird.

I am starting to think that life was not a sunny existence in that bottle ... that things were harsh.


Well, so much for that family reunion. All along we knew that part of this arc was going to be about Superman's difficulty reconciling his 2 upbringings. As he begins to embrace the Kryptonian side, we are reminded of his Earth family. Ma Kent is once again shown alone and isolated in the Kent farmhouse. Luckily, Krypto arrives as welcome therapy for Martha.

This was a touching moment. And given it's placement, in the middle of tense issue, well the impact was increased.


The Kryptonian delegate arrives at Metropolis and meets the President. Zor-El does the right thing deferring to the president, saying that the Kryptonians are guests and they are the ones honored to be meeting the President.

It is hard for me to get a good read on Zor-El. Is he truly a good-hearted man looking to exist peacefully on Earth ... a leader with a cabal of conquerers plotting behind his figurehead? Or is he actually a conquerer himself, saying the right things to keep the people of Earth at ease until he takes over. My guess is he is the former. I mean, not all the Kandorians can be militant expansionists, right?


Another interesting moment from the meeting. The President makes a joke about Zor-El owing him a plane and the Kryptonians look confused. He has to tell them he is joking. Sounds like something our current president might do ... attempt an awkward joke and fail.

One of the things the new Supergirl team has said they would is recognize the events of her series as in continuity and deal with them, explain them. Amazons Attack, thankfully, feels like a lifetime ago. Still, it might be easy to conveniently forget that Supergirl destroyed Air Force One. It might be easier to say that everyone has forgotten about it or forgiven her. But the truth is it happened. It is better that it is recognized and dealt with. It is all part of the 'rehabilitation' of her character.

Of course, the issue ends with a 'WHOA' moment. As the meeting continues in a peaceful and respectful manner, a fireball crashes nearby and who should walk out? Doomsday!
Nice cliffhanger!

My guess is the military was holding onto Doomsday as a weapon and figured what better time to use it. Who knows, maybe he is one of many Doomsdays they have and they are using this one to see what the newly powered Kandorians can do.

I have to say I was pretty impressed with this issue. You may recall that I thought the Atlas storyline dragged a bit in the middle and I worried about Robinson's pacing. No worries about that here! It is one big scene after another, with the Krypto scene a well needed breath of fresh air in the middle.

And this issue moved forward the sense of unease I have about the Kandorians and their agenda. Nothing seems quite right ... especially that Thara Ak-Var moment.

But most important, there really is a growing sense of conflict in Superman. Is he a Terran or a Kryptonian? He thinks he can be both but it is pretty obvious that will not be possible. And for Supergirl? She considers herself a Kryptonian far more than an Earthling, but I think she is going to learn that she may not want to be one of *these* Kryptonians.

An excellent second chapter all around.

Overall grade: A

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah but Supergirl has gone from being Superman's little back up system to toe-ing Zor and Alura's line...in the long run there is conflict all around I think.
Otherwise I'd pay good money to see Kara fly the President to safety as a way to make up for downing Air Force One in the appalling Amazons Attack miniseries. THAT would be closure for a lamentable continuity tangent.

Either that or some good licks in against Doomsday....

John Feer

TalOs said...

Hmmm, I seriously pray that Johns, Robinson and Gates don't reveal that our here Sup/Bat: Supergirl re introduced Kryptonian/Argonian Kara Zor-El Supergirl is in reality that of a Kryptonian clone of the real one. For that would seriously peeve me off to no end ah!

Although, have you guys read the JSA Annual as well as the recent Tangent: Superman's reign title latest issue out too, if so you'd be gob smacked to find out that both are officially referring to Power Girl as being now "Kara Zor-El" of New Earth and NOT "Kara Zor-L" of E-2 now! The heck is up with that?!? Is Power Girl the real Kara Zor-El Supergirl now??

As to the supposed 100,000 Kryptonians here, i honestly think that Mr. Johns will be showing exactly WHY both Superman AND Power Girl/Supergirl (who ever is the true Kara Zor-El) are the exception to the rest and why they deserve to be called Superman and Power Girl/Supergirl and welcomed residents of Earth at that!

I also believe it will eventually end with both Kandor and Argo City choosing to be placed on a deserted planet that the 100,000 Kryptonians can call their own henceforth which will be then on dubbed as "New Krypton", A.K.A. Rokyn and that to show there's no hard feelings between them and Earth will offer a peace treaty in the form of one Superwoman. (That is IF she IS one of the residents of New Krypton and NOT say PAD's Linda Danvers under that mask here instead? :/)

Anj said...

Otherwise I'd pay good money to see Kara fly the President to safety as a way to make up for downing Air Force One in the appalling Amazons Attack miniseries. THAT would be closure for a lamentable continuity tangent.

Either that or some good licks in against Doomsday....


I would love to see either one of those.

But I would really preferthe latter!

Anj said...

Hmmm, I seriously pray that Johns, Robinson and Gates don't reveal that our here Sup/Bat: Supergirl re introduced Kryptonian/Argonian Kara Zor-El Supergirl is in reality that of a Kryptonian clone of the real one. For that would seriously peeve me off to no end ah!

Yeesh ... that would be a disaster.

I cannot imagine how upset I would be if the Supergirl I have been reading for the last several years turned out to be a clone.

Shivers ...

That would be awful.

Mike said...

The "Antarctic" comment bugged, but "North Pole" bugs more. Has the Fortress ever been stated to be at the North Pole, i.e. on ice floating on the Arctic Ocean, ice which could theoretically melt? Or is it on the northern part of Greenland or one of the Canadian islands or something? I'm putting way too much thought into this, but it's bugging the crap out of me now.

Mike said...

"Training is for competitions. Organizing is for the military."

This is a rather odd statement. I can assure you that the majority of what I did in the military was referred to as "training." Training is learning to do something and then practicing it to maintain your skills. As for a guard unit, you would indeed first organize it and then train it. Not sure what the issue is there. It doesn't necessarily imply that such a unit is to be used for conquest.

Anj said...

"Training is for competitions. Organizing is for the military."

This is a rather odd statement. I can assure you that the majority of what I did in the military was referred to as "training." Training is learning to do something and then practicing it to maintain your skills.


Thanks for the post. I am probably just doing a poor job explaining my thoughts.

For me 'organize' just seemed to have a diffeent context to it. Organizing to do what? Their just has a little twinge of revolt or takeover with that.

I have never been in the military, so much if what I know is learned (sadly) from media. When gangs, or homeless, or other disenfranchised groups are 'organizing' in movies, it always means they are about to attack.

I realize now that many war games are called 'training exercises' and so carry a context too.

Hope I didn't offend. For me, the words seemed loaded a bit especially since she quickly corrected herself.

Thanks again for looking at the blog.

Anonymous said...

It is clear to me that Kara has had a difficult time adapting to Earthly ways as any Kryptonian teenager would.
yet compared to her Kryptocentric parents Kara has wholeheartedly "gone native" in many ways.
What will their reaction be when they realize she has taken on a human guise and lives among us now?
If I had to guess that will be the source of conflict going forward no how happy she is at the moment to find Zor and Alura alive.

John Feer

Anj said...

yet compared to her Kryptocentric parents Kara has wholeheartedly "gone native" in many ways.
What will their reaction be when they realize she has taken on a human guise and lives among us now?


Thanks for the post and the great point.

That is true especially given the 'why would we want to learn to be less Kryptonian' comment by Zor-El in the Special.

Maybe it is not Kara that spurns Krypton for Earth. Maybe it is Krypton that spurns her.

Very interesting.

TalOs said...

Anj said...

yet compared to her Kryptocentric parents Kara has wholeheartedly "gone native" in many ways.
What will their reaction be when they realize she has taken on a human guise and lives among us now?


Thanks for the post and the great point.

That is true especially given the 'why would we want to learn to be less Kryptonian' comment by Zor-El in the Special.

Maybe it is not Kara that spurns Krypton for Earth. Maybe it is Krypton that spurns her.

Very interesting.

Oh 100% fully agreed with! In fact, truth be told I actually ran something along these lines to Mr. Gates no to long ago and even had it involve the 84 "Supergirl" movie's own Omegahedron as a way for this occur upon Supergirl encountering a Kryptoian Zal-Ta (and NOT pronouced "Zaltar") of either Kandor or Argo City who in showing her their power source that involves keeping both cities alive and running only to have Supergirl unfortunately loose it and has to go on a great search to find it. She even denies Superman's help in her quest for she feels it was her fault for loosing it in the first place and it should be she alone who feels it only right to go out and retrieve it. This would latter on have her encounter Mrs. Faye Dunaway's Selena and the 12 part arc would just play out similar to that of the original Supergirl movie in turn only to have Selena become a regular recurring rouge for Supergirl in the end.

Anyways, there's more to it but I'm gonna stop now. :P

Anonymous said...

New to the blog. All interesting points, but I also wonder whether the writers will use this series to mature Supergirl within the greater DC universe and have her take a more elevated place among the elite pantheon of heroes, not just for her powers, but also because of how she chooses to use them. Much like the scene from Final Crisis where she is the rallying point for a group of heroes, in particular the protector of children; here she assumes a more mature role by reminding her father of the significance of killing an endangered animal. A role reversal with Clark, where she is gently reminding them that such reckless use of their new found powers could have drastic consequences.

Anj said...

New to the blog. All interesting points, but I also wonder whether the writers will use this series to mature Supergirl within the greater DC universe and have her take a more elevated place among the elite pantheon of heroes, not just for her powers, but also because of how she chooses to use them. Much like the scene from Final Crisis where she is the rallying point for a group of heroes, in particular the protector of children

Thanks for the post and glad you found the blog.

I agree with everything you have to say.

Johns/Gates/Igle all along have said they want to move the character away from the somewhat unlikeable brat we saw early on in the title. And, frankly, Supergirl is probably in the top 5-10 in power levels in the DC universe. She deserves to be in the upper echelon.

I think between Final Crisis and the culture clash of New Krypton, that Kara is going to take a huge step forward in maturity. She will still be young, enthusiastic, and learning ... but it will be as a mature young woman, not a rave girl.

Thanks again!