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Cover date: February 2008
Writer: Kelley Puckett
Penciller: Drew Johnson & Lee Ferguson
Inker: Ray Snyder
Reviewed by: Jeffrey Bridges
Kara is flying through space, finds nothing, returns home just as she's out of breath. Superman is there, asks her why she's trying to track a ship that the Green Lanterns said couldn't be tracked, and then says that he tracked it and found it (?).
They return to deep space where a Green Lantern makes a giant doohickey and fires it, allowing Kal and Kara to see back to Krypton's past, 30 years ago, via incredibly dubious and ridiculous bouts of "science" fiction.
Kara looks down and sees a tree that she remembers, and then we get another flashback to Krypton... an entirely different flashback to an entirely different Krypton. Kara is playing with little butterfly things called Ghentta Flyers, Jor-El is a "ranger" and Alura is a scientist. Baby Kal comes to visit and spits up all over her. Oh that wacky baby Kal-El.
Then Kara looks again and suddenly she's in her ship, being sent away.
Back in her apartment, Kal is cleaning up the dead skin that is flaking off of his arm from when he... stuck it into a portal last issue to... help fight a war. And then Kara tells him that Lara used to sing to him all the time and could have been a professional, but she only sang to him.
Story - 2: This went from "intriguing, with oddities" to "nonsensical, manipulative and random" in the span of an issue.
The recap was totally unnecessary. I loved Kara getting back into her apartment and gasping for air and it making everything in the bathroom fly toward her, that was a very nice touch and good attention to detail.
And then Kara calls Kal "Superman", when it's only the two of them alone in her apartment. Which reminds me, as soon as my wife gets home I will say, "Wife, how was your day today?"
I think I made my point there. Yes, it's minor, but it pulled me out of the story because who talks like that? If she'd call him anything when they weren't in public it would be "Kal", but there's no reason for her to call him anything there. The line actually works better without it. We can SEE it's Kal, no need to tell us.
So Superman tells her that the Green Lanterns said the ship couldn't be tracked, and she said she had an idea to use "x-ray, broad-spectrum and long-range vision" all at the same time to try and find it. Which is good and shows her being intelligent and resourceful, but then Superman tells her he already found the ship, the war is over, what's for dinner?
Which begs the question, to me, of why he bothered to reiterate the Green Lanterns' spiel about the ship being untraceable? Clearly SUPERMAN thought of a way to track it, and he comes off at first sort of in a "Well what the heck were you doing out there, anyway?!" attitude and that really doesn't make any sense. If he found a way to track it, surely he would think perhaps Kara did too. It doesn't really add up quite right there, and I think it was done to keep the readers in the dark about Superman finding the ship... which, surprise, comes right out of left field with no real explanation and is then forgotten.
The entire point of the last issue was Kara finding that ship, and now Superman does it off-panel and refers to it offhandedly. No big. This makes Kara look inept and makes almost the entirety of the last issue completely useless. When that was the point of the issue, the resolution of that point is something we need to see!
Frankly this would have been a lot better if Kara HAD found that ship, as opposed to this bit we got that tried to manipulate us into sadness with yet another rehashing and yet ANOTHER Krypton.
And I would like to say I'm a big fan of Star Trek. Technobabble is par for the course, but the explanation they tried to play off in this issue as to how Superman found the ship just makes no sense at all (or was explained very poorly).
I admit I am no math genius, but if they were 30 light years from Krypton and the GL allowed them to see Krypton, via the light that was just arriving to them there... that means Krypton exploded 30 years ago. Which means Kal is now exactly 30 years old. He's getting younger as the years go by!
So, the flashback to Krypton... OY, where to begin. Superman seems... unconcerned. He doesn't look for his parents, doesn't marvel at the planet he never knew and try to learn about it. He doesn't do... anything.
Kara looks and sees... a tree! With crystals jutting out of the branches. Because, you know, it's Krypton, and trees with random crystals growing out of branches? Well that only makes sense.
In versions of Zor-El and Alura never before seen, Alura is a scientist and Zor-El is a "smelly" Ranger... whatever that is. These designs are totally different to any others ever seen, as are the ones for Jor-El and Lara when they appear. So we have yet ANOTHER completely different Krypton which contradicts all others.
Why can you not have continuity any longer, DC? Did ninjas come and threaten to kill everyone in the building if things made sense from book to book? That's my only explanation.
Kara gets barfed on by baby Kal, and then, mere moments later, is in her ship ready to leave. And boom! She's gone and saying she loves her parents and they love her and it's supposed to grab at the heart strings, except it doesn't because we have no idea who Alura or Zor-El are, know nothing about them and cannot truly care about their plight.
Kara herself even seems rather unemotional about the entire situation, concerned most with having to be Kal's babysitter when she arrives on earth.
We needed to see this WHY? What purpose does it serve? How does it forward the stories or the characters? This is meaningless, and it fails to even manipulate the reader into the sadness they want you to feel.
Kal's dead skin flakes off all over Kara's apartment... what, to show that he barfed on her as a baby and now he's dirtying up her carpet as an adult? Oh that Kal-El... wacky as a baby AND as an adult! Ha ha, it is to laugh.
Or not, because it's also meaningless and serves no purpose.
Then we get the one, ONE redeeming thing about this book, which is Kara telling Kal that his mother liked to sing to him. Except even this is not as good as it should be because we HAD A FLASHBACK that included Lara and Kal... and she was not singing to him! Hello, more random happenings from out of left field!
This book lacks any sort of cohesive narrative. This isn't a story, it's a collection of random events that don't even add up to the sum of their parts.
To wit, we end with a full page splash of Kara on Krypton, sitting in the tree she first saw. Doing what?
Sitting in the tree! Don't you feel sad for her? It's... a tree! That she's sitting in!
I wish I knew.
Art - 3: Drew Johnson's stuff got better this issue. I saw more personality in it and there are some truly magnificent panels. The problem is Lee Ferguson's art, which they used for all the "looking back to 30 years ago on Krypton" scenes. I get what they were trying to do with setting the present and the past apart with different art, but it was still a bit jarring... perhaps because I really don't like Freguson's art at all. It's bland, flat and lacks any sort of detail and, frankly, bored me. 4 for Johnson, 2 for Ferguson, meeting in the middle at 3.
Cover Art - 3: I'm a bit confused about the skeletons seen in Kara's cape here. It's clearly Kara and Kal.
And this is why I'm confused.
They're looking back at everyone ELSE on Krypton who is dead. It doesn't even work metaphorically, because I can't think of a single other thing it could mean when they're actually the only ones ALIVE. It really just makes no sense.
The placing of the art inside the words can be used to neat effect, but should be used sparingly and I didn't see this issue being anywhere near as important as this cover makes you think it will be. Dead Superman and Supergirl! Ghosts of Krypton! Lots of black space! This is SERIOUS BUSINESS!
Except that it's not.
So in one respect, sure, it makes you want to pick up the issue, but the insides make you want to put it back down again. The cover seems to almost over-hype the importance of what you're about to read, and yes, covers do that a lot, but they shouldn't. Especially when the interior is such a mess.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2008.