Mild Mannered Reviews – Kneel Before Zod #1

Kneel Before Zod #1

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Kneel Before Zod #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 2, 2024
Cover date: March 2024

“New Kandor Now” – “Chapter One: Crack in the Facade”

Writer: Joe Casey
Artist: Dan McDaid
Cover: Jason Shawn Alexander
Variant Cover: Nathan Szerdy
Variant Cover: Björn Barends
1:25 Variant Cover: Rafael Sarmento
1:50 Variant Cover: Dan McDaid
Special Foil Variant Cover: Ariel Colón

Reviewed by: JP Rocha

We pick up with Zod on New Kandor after the creation of the United Planets (as seen in Brian Michael Bendis’ Superman run). Zod appears to be struggling to deal with his new role as leader of Jekuul, a primitive planet that he has been transforming into New Krypton. He is arguing with the ghost of Jor-El only to be brought to reality by the Eradicator who is the AI that is monitoring the planet.

Also on the planet with Zod is his son and wife Ursa, who is pregnant with a second child. Zod’s first born Lor believes his father to be losing touch and that he is unfit to be ruler of New Krypton. After challenging his father, Zod quickly reaffirms the power dynamic. As a result of the challenge, he banishes his spoiled son, leaving him to “the universe and all its cold emptiness”. We are to pick up on Lor’s story in the upcoming Sinister Sons book.

Picking up a month later, Zod is still reflecting on what must be done. He has the planet, the bottled city of Kandor, and the technology to release them and fill the empty cities of New Krypton. Ursa is concerned for her son and wishes Zod would reconsider his exile. Before the conversation can go much further, the Eradicator informs Zod that an invasion force has bypassed the planet’s security and is laying siege to the Jekuul, the primitive natives of New Krypton. These natives were “allowed” by Zod to continue living on the planet.

Zod rushes to their aid to find Khunds, who believe the planet to be weak and without resistance. Zod, proving them wrong, kills the invaders without remorse. He is left pondering who could have led them to New Krypton along with the ability to get past the planet’s security. Although we are not told what Zod is thinking, we are left to believe that Lor may be behind this attack. We find Zod has allowed one invader to survive, so he can torture out the truth behind this attack.

The United Planet council contacts Zod after receiving reports of “Open Hostilities.” Zod dismisses them stating it was nothing more than local trouble and not the concern of the United Planets. They respond that they will be monitoring further activity in his sector.

4Story – 4: “Chapter One: Crack in the Facade” is an excellent first installment to the new Kneel Before Zod book. Since DC’s Rebirth initiative, Zod’s story has been woven in and out of the Superman and the Green Lantern books. Dan Jurgens in his Green Lanterns Rebirth run, introduced the planet of Jekuul with a story of Zod taking it over and claiming it as New Krypton. We next hear from Zod during Bendis’ Superman run where he is the ruler of New Krypton and he is at the formation of the United Planets. Kneel Before Zod is picking up some time after. This book is giving us the backstory and the evolution of New Krypton under Zod’s interventions. As of now the only books that are dealing with cosmic DC are the Green Lantern books and now Kneel Before Zod. In this chapter one story we see the Zod family dynamic with Zod, Ursa, and Lor. We also hear from the current version of the Eradicator as the planet’s AI.

I believe Jurgens in his Green Lanterns run created the Zod family to juxtapose what he did with the Superman Family, giving Zod a son like he gave Superman. Whatever Jurgens had in mind we might never know, but Peter J. Tomasi is picking up that thread currently in the Green Lantern backups. In the backup Sinson we are introduced to Korg, a young character who believes he is the son of Sinestro. Sinson is leading into the new book Sinister Sons which will follow the story of Korg and Lor-Zod. Tomasi, like Jurgens, is creating the Sinister Sons to mirror what he gave us with the Super Sons. I am looking forward to seeing how Kneel Before Zod and Sinister Sons expand the modern cosmic DC universe while building up the Superman and Green Lantern brands.

3Art – 3: My initial thoughts are not all positive. I find the art style underdeveloped and unrefined. On a positive note, the strength of the book is the character design. There are some great panels within the book in spite of the stylized art. The book also has good panel to panel storytelling. With that said, I have some anticipation that the art will grow on me with future installments.

3Cover Art – 3: Zod with glowing red eyes is crushing the planet Earth between his hands, stating “The Blood-Bath Start Here”. I think this is an average cover. I cannot help but see that the face of Zod resembles James Hetfield (Metallica lead singer). The book also has five other variant covers with the best one being the Rafael Sarmento cover which depicts Zod destroying a humanesque skull with heat vision.

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