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Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #2 Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #2

Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: April 7, 2010

Cover date: Early June 2010

Part Five: "Bottles and Battles"

Writer: James Robinson and Sterling Gates
Penciller: Pete Woods with Travis Moore
Inker: Pete Woods with Walden Wong

Reviewed by: Ralph Silver

Click to enlarge

As the battle against Brainiac rages on New Krypton, Alura and Zod engage in verbal sparring. They are in strong disagreement; with Zod claiming that the Legion members are "terrorists", and Alura considering them allies. Clearly, the relationship between Alura and Zod now resembles a power struggle.

Supergirl, Superboy, and selected Legion members head towards Brainiac's warship. As they go, they are discussing strategy about how to breach Brainiac's force field and get inside the ship. Quislet tells them that they cannot use the same method that Superman used, because Brainiac has made an adjustment to the force field. Quislet tries a different technique to get through, and fails.

Brainiac 5 arrives from the 31st century, giving new hope to the rest of the team.

Superman and Mon-El are inside the ship, battling Brainiac's robots. As they battle, they hear telepathic cries for help from the Lanothians, a race of telepathic aliens trapped in one of the bottles.

Brainiac taunts Superman and then attacks him. Superman can be hurt by Brainiac because he has been weakened by low level kryptonite radiation. Similarly, Mon-El is bathed in red sun energy, which weakens him enough to be hurt by the robots.

Superman makes a mad dash to save the Lanothian city; but Brainiac brags that he still controls the other bottled cities.

Supergirl, Superboy, and the Legion have easily breached Brainiac's force field thanks to the intellect and insight of Brainiac 5.

Superman and the Legion members discuss details of the current situation. Unless the bottle cities are saved, the Legion's existence in the future would be at grave risk due to damage to the time stream. Time travel is frozen, causing complications. Brainiac 5 was able to crack the time barrier and get through alone. Brainiac 5 has revealed that the time flux has worsened and is literally snuffing out the future. It is clear that way more is at stake than just the safety of New Krypton.

Tellus, in tandem with the Lanothians, has been attempting to make telepathic contact with the Kandorians to unite them; overcoming their tendency to fracture and work separately within each guild. Brainiac has been able to counter this attempt by projecting abject fear, which can completely override rational thought.

Some Kandorian citizens fly up and attempt to flee New Krypton, but Brainiac's force field stops them cold. Brainiac's bottling technology is set in motion; and to the horror of its citizens, the city of Kandor finds itself once again shrunken and trapped in a bottle.

Superman is furious at this development, and attacks the Brainiac bots with a vengeance. But a massive dose of red sun radiation stops him in his tracks and sends him hurtling out of Brainiac's ship and in free-fall towards the ground below.

Brainiac brags to Luthor that, as predicted, Superman is dead and Kandor belongs to Brainiac again. As Brainiac brags that he has won, Zod, peering out from within the bottle, claims that Brainiac has actually lost.

5Story - 5: This book is very tightly integrated with the other super books (Supergirl, Superman, and Adventure Comics). Each book of course tells its piece of the story from the perspective of its own central character(s). LSONK is the book that pulls everything together. Themes introduced in those books are carried over and developed further in Last Stand.

Before I opened this book, I made a list of themes/issues that I expected to see in this book based on events I had read in the latest issues of Supergirl, Superman, and Adventure. Failure to explore these themes here would leave dangling story threads; and would amount to sloppy writing. Here is the list I made:

  • A growing tension in the relationship between Alura and Zod, and an evolving struggle between them for the leadership of New Krypton.
  • Superman and Mon-El struggle mightily against Brainiac, Luthor, and robots on Brainiac's ship.
  • Supergirl, Superboy, and Legion members attempt to breach Brainiac's ship and rescue Superman.
  • Brainiac 5 successfully breaks the time barrier and arrives from the 31st century to help.
  • Team members attempt to rescue the bottle cities in order to preserve the future existence of the Legion plus save the bottles' inhabitants.
  • Team members attempt to unify the guilds to bring a more unified New Krypton into the battle against Brainiac.
  • Possible project 7734 involvement.

    After reading the book, it was clear that each of these story threads and themes was fully handled, with the exception of my final bullet, project 7734, which I considered a long shot anyway. Project 7734 will certainly be prominently featured in War of the Supermen. The authors have done an excellent job of pulling together these disparate story elements and a rather large cast of characters in a story that melds them all together rather smoothly.

    There were several scenes or story details that I found entertaining or satisfying. I will list a few here. I liked seeing Alura stand her ground with Zod. The General is attempting to walk all over her; and he deserves some pushback.

    I liked all the discussion between Supergirl and the others about how to get past Brainiac's force field. After a failed attempt by Quislet, Brainiac 5 arrives, picks apart his ancestor's technology, gets through the barrier without effort, and then seems almost disappointed that it was so easy. Ha!

    I liked the scene where Superman races Brainiac to save the Lanothian city. This scene was very much in character. Superman will always extend himself to save a civilization in peril; even if it is an alien race that he has never met.

    And there was the big surprise of seeing Kandor once again shrunken and encased in a bottle. Despite the title of this issue, I was not expecting this dramatic development.

    I do regret to see Superman depowered so often in this book. It reminded me a bit of Superman Returns. ;)

    5Art - 5: I am a big Pete Woods fan, and he does an excellent job here. He excels on both the big splash pages and in the small details.

    Whenever I evaluate the art in a comic book, I go back through the book looking for images that worked particularly well for me. In this issue, I like the two-page splash with Supergirl, Superboy, and the Legion flying up towards Brainiac's warship. I thought the splash page showing Kandor back in the bottle was very dramatic and nicely depicted. I like the image of Superman being blasted by the red sun radiation, and the splash on the next page showing Superman falling from Brainiac's ship. Also, the action scenes in this issue really popped.

    I wonder which pages or panels are drawn by Travis Moore?

    4Cover Art - 4: The original cover by George Pérez is very crowded with heroes, all battling Brainiac bots. I see Superman, Supergirl, Mon-El, Superboy, Alura, Zod, Ursa, Non, and at least three members of the Legion (Starman, Sensor Girl, Chameleon Boy, and possibly others). Pérez draws busy covers like this exceptionally well; but this is not my favorite type of cover. Although it is dramatic, I find it a little crowded.

    5Cover Art (Variant Edition) - 5: The variant cover by Julian Lopez, Bit, and Javier Mena is a gem. Superman, Supergirl, and Superboy are all soaring up towards Brainiac's warship. They are close to their destination, because the ship's tentacles are dangling around them. The expressions on their faces show seriousness and determination. I love the use of perspective, as we look down at the heroes as they soar up, causing a dramatic effect. The image is clean and dramatic in its simplicity; with three "S" shields, all nicely drawn. Sometimes simple is better!

    Mild Mannered Reviews


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

    January 2010

    February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010

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