Friday, February 4, 2022

Review: World Of Krypton #3

World of Krypton #3 came out this week, the halfway point of this new mini-series re-telling and re-thinking the story behind Krypton's destruction. We know the end of this story but frankly things have been tweaked many times since Rebirth, heck since the Crisis. Jor-El has been evil. Zor-El has been evil. Kara has been evilly manipulated by her father. Heck, most recently Rogol Zaar blew up Krypton. All that is in the past.

Writer Robert Venditti and artist Michael Avon Oeming bring a more classic take on the story. Jor-El and Zor-El are friends. Lara and Alura are just as smart. They all care for each other and their world. And they are all trying to save Krypton. 

Venditti is really giving us a lot to chew on. The concern for Krypton's destruction seems to be known for years. Jor-El and Zor-El are doing their best to bring the problem in front of the right eyes. In the meantime, the political environment of Krypton is just as combustible. Zod is trying to bring order to the world, with an iron fist. There are enough echoes of this world for me to see the writing on the world. But so far, it isn't too heavy-handed. This is a story about Krypton, not a preaching about Earth.

The best thing of this issue for me though is a brief look at the precocious dreamer that is Kara Zor-El. If I ever needed to see a clever Kara dreaming under the stars, it is now.

Oeming is a star in this issue. The panels have been intriguing in this book, sort of like computer screens. But everything else is stunning here. The Science Council, Zod's police tactics, the environment ... Oeming is bringing it here. It is incredible. Just impressive.

On to the book.

We start with Kara talking to a teacher about why she loves to learn.

There is something utterly charming about her pushing her hair behind her ears and talking about how ideas and facts can live inside her. And then she can share those ideas like magic.

Kara being a young historian is just perfect for her character. She will become the repository of Kryptonian culture after the planet's destruction. Seeing her as a voracious learner and interested in history is spot on.

And look at that smile!

Great to see Alura talking to Kara's teacher about allowing Kara to follow her own dreams. Zor-El might want her to be a scientist. But Kara can be a historian if she wants. After all, Krypton is at a pivotal political moment. And if you don't learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it.

Wonderful new panels by Oeming here. 

Kara looks all the optimistic kid, leaning on a fountain, with her head in the stars. There is something delightful in that expression.

Meanwhile, Alura is thinking about Krypton's history of war.

Alura is right. Krypton is in a precarious state.

We see protests cropping up around all the cities. 

General Zod, who had retired for a hot second, is now in charge of the military. He swoops in, capturing all the protestors in these energy globes when he can, physically throttling when he must.

Zod is all about order. He belittles the protests as nonsense. He says there are protests because they weren't shut down strong enough in the past. And so he will bring that peace, by force if needed.

More great pages by Oeming here. Those trapezoidal formed energy globes are vivid.

But then we get this page from Oeming, something out of the end of Kubrick's 2001. Brilliant colors, holographic council members, even the backgrounds all just sing.

Jor-El and Nira-Ur are pleading their case to the Science Council.

We have seen this scene before, many times. Usually Jor-El is unheard.

This time Jor-El is heard. And he has a plan. 

He can place a forcefield around the decaying planetary core. But it will drain energy. Krypton and it's people will need to endorse austerity.

Now we veer into metaphor for our own planet. Climate change is happening. Energy and resources are being overutilized. People will need to live smarter and cleaner.

I can only imagine how this will be taken by some of Krypton who will want the world to keep on turning as usual.

But as I said, this time it looks like Jor-El will be heard. He is named head of the Science Council!

Knowing the last act of this, I am going to guess that Jor-El's ideas and policies are going to be viewed as too extreme and he is going to be ousted. He will be told he is conflating the problem. He will hear how it is holding back people's lives, the economy, the world. 

There are a couple of pages that I find a little puzzling in the issue.

After Jor-El is named head of the Council, we have a couple of pages of the wilderness on Krypton. We see a field of bones of animals. We see rivers of what looks like Kryptonite lava. And we see some sort of science platform nearby.

Is that just to show us how far gone the planet is? How Jor-El found his data? Or is this some plot thread we'll see next issue.

And then we get this touching scene at the end.

While walking home, Jor-El picks up a dog from a local animal shelter. The dog has a name ... Krypto!

Jor-El leaves a donation of a million dollars. Maybe he realizes that the end is nigh no matter what. 

I am thrilled with this book. It is a modern retelling of an old tale. There are echoes of our own world here to make this an allegory. But it is also a great story. And that is what I want.

And add to that this young dreaming Kara! The wild visuals! It is incredible.

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

Top review, you’re right, this is great stuff.

Kiddie Kara is so cute, I was hoping to see her touching her nose in classic Jim Mooney style!

In more desperate reaching, I was thinking that statue on page 2, panel three might represent Kryp and Tonn from the Seventies Fabulous World of Krypton story, but most likely not!

Did you recognise Kara’s teacher from Venditti’s Supergirl Annual (I don’t think you were reading his Hawkman series)? Well, the name, anyway, as Catar-Ol looked completely different here.

I agree that the pages look amazing, but it’s not all Oeming, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou is colouring.

Regarding that scene of oozing stuff, I just assumed that was there to show the ongoing problems.

Anonymous said...

Hello from a french fan fo supergirl,

World of Krypton is my book of 2022, rewrite the old with a new angle, that's the kind of storytelling i want to read.

1 000 000 of dollard, what is currency on krypton ?

H said...

I'm not as hot on this issue as the other two. Maybe because it's covering less ground, maybe because of the changes from most other continuities- I don't know what. Something just feels a bit off. I'm still interested to see where things go but I just can't muster as much enthusiasm for it as I did before.

Anonymous said...

I think the art is just stunning. So imaginative...

I love Krypto's origin story. (Was anything else ever written about his past?)

And Kara is quite a philosopher. Her thoughts about learning and communicating are creative and even mystical. "Magic," she calls it. (I wish things that I have "learned" I got to keep forever, but some minds are like sieves.)

"And we see some sort of science platform nearby."

Maybe that's Rogol Zaar's workshop.

(Just kidding!)


Anj said...

Thanks for great comments.

Mart - I did remember the teacher from the Supergirl annual but did not read Hawkman. I would have melted if she put her finger to her face a la Mooney.

I don't know the currency of Krypton ... great question.

And please, no Rogol Zaar.

Anonymous said...

Kara looks like she was drawn by Charles Schulz...albeit written in a very interesting winsome way. I just can't quite get behind this artwork. It's trying too hard to be like Frank Miller or something. But I'm still reading it all the same.