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Mild Mannered Reviews - DC Universe

Superman: The Last Family of Krypton #2

Superman: The Last Family of Krypton #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 1, 2010

Cover date: November 2010

Writer: Cary Bates
Art: Renato Arlem

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

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Clark talks movie trivia with Lana until he spies something strange approaching Earth. He flies up to stop the meteor, but it turns out to be Kryptonite. He has a vision of his Kryptonian ancestors, waking up to find his father has brought him back to life as his siblings, Bru-El and Valora, listen in.

Jor-El puts Lex on studying the meteor after he names it.

Lara reassures Clark that he will make his own destiny.

A cult-like member sees Clark's Kryptonite exposure, and tells his fellow members that this will be good for Doomsday.

Lara saves Bruce Wayne and his family from Joe Chill, stopping him from killing the Waynes.

Bru-El and Valora, age eight, break out of the tower and go to an atomic weapon test. Jor-El and Lara arrive just in time to save them, but when they return, they're horribly burned. They reveal that they have half the power of their parents, because they were born on Earth.

Lara's Raology gains momentum, but "Doomsdayers," a group that believes that the El family will cause Earth to explode, protest her. Bru-El uses heat vision on a fire hydrant to spray the protestors with water, to his sister's dismay.

Pa Kent has a heart attack, but Clark is able to rush him to Jor-El in time to replace his heart.

Clark goes to prom with Lana, despite tornado warnings. A tornado touches down, but Jor-El's weather control satellite stops them.

Clark informs his El family that he intends to explore the universe. They are wary, but approve, helping him chart a course. They disguise themselves so they can attend Clark's graduation.

They give Clark the traditional Superman suit in order to prepare him for his trip. He goes to Metropolis to get his mother's holo camera, and in the process foils a train running someone over, retrieves some stolen tanks, and generally gets waylaid into his Superman identity.

The family goes to a benefit to honor Jor-El, years later, with Clark in his civilian identity. The Doomsday cult breaks in, showing that they have Valora and are killing her with Kryptonite. Lex Luthor and the El family work together to find and save Valora, with Superman learning her location too late to be of much help. They save her, because Kryptonite is only half as deadly, given her Earth birth.

Jor-El and Lex talk about being able to take "B," Jor-El's computer sentience, and give it thirteenth level artificial intelligence.

Clark, in bed with Lois, laments that his father turned to Lex instead of the him when Valora was captured.

2Story - 2: This issue suffers many of the maladies that the previous one did, in lesser quantity. Less moments where the dialogue describes the panels, for instance. But they're still there, and they're really, really bad when they happen. Like when Clark stops the train, and someone says that he's stopping the train, or when cops wax exposition for the camera. It yanks me right out of the story, which sucks.

But that's forgivable, at least, provided the story is interesting, generally. Many great writers have one little thing they always do that can be overlooked. The problem with this story, really, is that we're 2/3 of the way through it and there hasn't been any major conflict aside from Valora being kidnapped. This whole thing, essentially, is one long reimagination of an origin, which is great as fanservice, as Smallville proves, but in terms of storytelling, once the gimmick is gone, no real meat remains. It might suffice if Elseworlds hadn't already done this eight hundred million times, but as it stands, another reimagination of Superman's origin needs some meat to make it a sandwich beyond half-powered siblings.

But hey, Bruce Wayne doesn't become Batman! Lex Luthor doesn't become an evil genius, and he has hair!

But hey, doesn't that remove some of the most interesting parts of the universe? I say yeah. And Jor-El as a looming villain and Lara as a guru still doesn't sit with me. If you're going to tell that story, fine, I'll give it a shot, but why do we have to wait 120 pages to get there?

4Art - 4: The art tells the story well, for the most part, and there are some shining moments that really pull it together. Sometimes the expressions on some of the characters are a little muddied, but it suits the style, and overall I have few complaints.

2Cover Art - 2: Again, the cover shows the El family just kind of... there! I think it's painted well, and the subjects are rendered in a pleasant way, but nothing about this cover really grabs me or screams new, different, or compelling. It's kind of Norman Rockwellish, but Norman Rockwell's paintings, for what they're worth, also say something generally.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2010

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