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Superman: New Krypton Special #1 Superman: New Krypton Special #1

Superman: New Krypton Special #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 22, 2008

Cover date: December 2008

"New Krypton"

Writer: Geoff Johns, James Robinson, Sterling Gates
Penciller: Pete Woods, Gary Frank, Renato Guedes
Inker: Pete Woods, Jon Sibal, Wilson Magalhaes

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Clark attends Pa Kent's funeral. He imagines attacking Brainiac in vengeance, and spends some time in grief thinking of good memories he had with Pa.

Codename: Assassin speaks with a general about Kandor.

The pair examine Brainiac, who they have captive. Brainiac breaks lose, starts attacking scientists, and is finally shut down when Assassin pulls one of his plugs.

Clark apologizes to Ma, but Ma tells Clark that he has nothing to apologize for. She sends him to deal with Kandor.

Clark meets with Zor-El and Alura, and Supergirl arrives to reunite with her parents. The newly powered citizenry begin to make mistakes, with one killing a whale, and others beginning to realize that they have a new planet and the power of flight.

Lucy has a terse scene with Lois at her father's grave (Sam), and we learn that Lucy went into the military.

Ma Kent sits alone.

Jimmy tries to explain the situation to Lois, about the group organizing to kill Superman.

In his cell, Luthor designs a rocket, and as he does, he's approached for the war against the superhumans by Sam Lane.

4Story - 4: I'm conflicted, because I don't want to write about my assessment of the death of Pa Kent. I really don't. So I'll save it for the end. Here, this is about the story at hand:

Rad. I love the idea of this dilemma, of a bunch of Kryptonians unleashed on society and the consequences. In fact, it was one of my "notebook" stories. You know how a lot of writers have a little place they store ideas just in case they ever get to write a given character? One of mine was "RESOLVE KANDOR. SAVE THEM, AND SHOW THE CONSEQUENCES." With me, I was going to put them on another planet and have the rotten ones come to Earth, but here, on Earth, it heightens the tension even more.

I like the idea of Brainiac on Earth, trapped, random, chaotic, and crazed.

I like the idea of Sam Lane returning, as his death, while a good shock at the time, served little value. Which is part of my fear about Pa Kent (see below).

There is a point docked, mostly because I don't understand what's going on with Lucy. I want to, but the scene, while tense, fails as a product of the "New Earth" unexplained continuity. So... Lucy is a soldier now? Is she still married to Ron? Do they still have a young boy named Sam, after their late father? Did Sam still die in the Imperiex War?

We don't know. We honestly don't. I sent a letter to Geoff to ask about this for you guys, but it was short notice from me, so don't blame him for not responding in time. As soon as I get the chance, I'll figure this out and let you guys know. Maybe it was in James' portion of this, or Sterling's, as this was written by multiple writers.

Either way, it pulled me out despite being compellingly written. In a vacuum, it would have worked. As a guy who's read every issue for fifteen years, it is an issue.

There was also Superman going in for dinner as thousands of Kryptonians are unleashed. That was out of character and bugged me. Superman would be in straight-up panic mode even if he does believe the best in people.

But beyond that, even the Codename: Assassin stuff was cool.

Now, Pa. This is gonna be a bit ancillary, so please forgive it, but it's entirely relevant, given that this story hinges on the plot point.

Is there any story that any author could write that would justify the death of Pa Kent in modern continuity for me? The more I think about it, the more I say no. It doesn't add anything to continuity, it only takes things away. This is to say that despite the fact that Geoff Johns wrote a masterful story, it's like a masterful story that ends in the death of Lois Lane. Doesn't matter how well it's told, I don't like the concept or what it will imply or mean. It's why I dropped all Spider-Man titles after they retconned the marriage. I have no desire to read a story where they pull back Spider-Man twenty years. Concurrently, I have no desire to go back to the old continuity where Pa Kent is dead. He offers more alive.

That said, it WAS a well-written death. It was a death that impacted me to the core. I was just annihilated reading it. It was fine writing. But I'm still sitting here, upset, thinking, "God, outside of the awesomeness of the story, what's the editorial line of thought in trading Jonathan Kent for Sam Lane?"

The response on the comment boards, at least that I saw, was a lack of controversy. There were two responses. "At last! The Superman I love is back!" which struck me as odd. And: "Alas! I loved Pa! RIP!" which also strikes me as odd, because it's a fictional character, and there was no clear arc in terms of birth, life, and death. It was just an event that killed him, not a natural conclusion to his character.

But no one seems to really care or be very passionate, and my guess is because this is expected. They've been flirting with the idea since I started reading Superman comics. Because it's good tension. But they never actually DID IT, because that, to me, is a bad editorial decision.

I reiterate, is the story great? HELL YES. It is, it was, and I will read it repeatedly. But is a Superman universe without a living Pa better?

No. Not in my opinion.

This is not Lois cutting her hair, Superman putting on a new suit, Lois' mom dying, or even Bibbo dying. This is PA KENT.

There are some characters who, in the Superman universe, should be inviolate, in my opinion. Perry. Jimmy. Lois. Clark. Ma. Pa. Lex. These characters should never die.

Lana? Okay. Sam? Go for it. Lucy? Heck. Pete? Yeah. All of them, while they would be missed, are tertiary characters. Pa is an integral part of the Superman mythos. After he left Smallville, it fell to hell.

So to say I am conflicted is to put it midly. This story puts a cap to the Pa event. In a few years, it could be the wellspring of a great deal of catharsis and great stories. If so, please hit me, and I will recant. It could, however, be a stunt, and in three months Clark will not be remembering his father save in the odd flashback. If so, that would be tragic. I can't judge the future based upon the present, but I will say the Pa death has upset me. The story DID NOT, let me make clear, but the death itself to me seems oddly timed.

Then again, Geoff does need Black Lanterns... there IS potential there.

5Art - 5: Strong, very detailed, and cohesive despite being an amalgamation of several different artists. I love the idea of the Kryptonians as a hybrid of ALL the origins, Byrne, Silver Age, Birthright, soldier classes. It's incredibly cool, and will lead to some interesting schisms.

The sad scenes with Pa and Clark were also expertly rendered, pulling at the heartstrings and giving a sense of brief closure.

5Cover Art (Fortress) - 5: Nice image, great peril, and a cool logo design. I think the thing that sticks out most are the hands. Those are farmer's hands. Look at them. Isn't it incredible that you can tell that just by looking at the cover? Fine work.

4Cover Art (Collage) - 4: Superman looks a little like a lunk here, but beyond that, the characters are all laid out in a compelling fashion and it actively encapsulates the meaning of the piece at hand. Not bad.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

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