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Adventures of Superman #606

Adventures of Superman #606

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 17, 2002

Cover date: September 2002

Writer: Joe Casey
Penciller: Duncan Rouleau
Inker: Marlo Alquiza

"Culture Shock" (Return to Krypton II - Part 2 of 4)

Reviewed by: Nick Newman (

A dead Kryptonian lies on a table, a fiery saber pierced through his chest. Jor-el is shocked. He tried to properly calibrate the Phantom Zone transit for the right time, but it seems like he has been gone for months. Kal is only worried about his mother. Jor-el says that they must have taken her, and killed the council while doing it. Superman asks who "they" are, and his father explains that while he was president he ushered in a new age of scientific advancement. To combat this, a faction called the Holy Order of Rao was formed, calling for the return to a Rao-dependent Krypton. The conflict turned personal.

Jor-el was moving Krypton away from the spiritual and into the scientific. The basis of the conflict is Jor-el's newest creation. He has modified the incubation chambers that were used to assist in birthing, and has used them for the basis into his research into cloning. The Order of Rao have spoken against this, and yet hypocritically have stolen the technology and are using it to create a clone army. They see Jor-el as the destroyer of Kryptonian values, and believe that he will stop at nothing. Kal-el questions whether this is true, but Jor-el merely says that his commitment is to Krypton. Superman then asks where they have taken Lara. Jor-el thinks he knows, and the two quickly depart before their powers vanish any further.

Father and son leap across the Kryptonian landscape until they reach the fire falls. The zealots have temples hidden across the planet. Lara is in this one though, because Jor-el can hear her heartbeat. Slipping down into the tunnels, the two men look around, and then decide to make their own passageway.

Bursting through the wall, the two fly forward and are met with hordes of troops. Superman gets hit square in the stomach with an energy mace and is struck back. The two men quickly subdue the enemy forces. As they fly on, Kal warns his father that their weapons are powered with red solar energy, and that they will only deplete their powers quicker.

Lara slumps, chained to an altar. Jor-el suddenly bursts through the floor and rushes to her side, tearing her out of her bonds. Troops suddenly descend toward them. Blowing them away, Kal rushes to his mother and wraps her in his cape. Gathering the last of their strength, they leap out of the temple and through the fire falls.

Leaping back to Kryptonopolis, they land in Jor-el's home. Gently letting his mother into Jor-el's arms, Kal turns and looks out into the Krypton night. He calls Jor-el, and asks about the Zealot's plan to create an army. As his father turns to look, Kal tells him that he thinks they have done it. Outside, hundreds of troops wait to attack the home. Jor-el identifies their leader as Xon-ur.

Xon-ur rises up and orders his forces to destroy them. As they tear into the troops, Jor-el shouts that he is out of power. Kal-el still has some power left, but he's weakening as well... they fall back inside. Jor-el says that it is time to bring in their own forces. The Zealots look skyward as dozens upon dozens of attack robots descend upon them.

Kal orders his father to retreat with Lara, and then takes off and soars toward Xon-ur. He catches the Zealot and hurls him backward with a mighty punch. Superman is then hurled backward as he is struck with two red sun swords. Clashing the two swords together, Xon-ur creates an energy blast that hurls Superman backward. Weakened and dazed, Superman can only lie on the ground helpless as Xon-ur prepares to deliver the final blow.

4Story - 4: I really like where this story is going. If you've read the "World Of Krypton" miniseries (or even the "Man Of Steel" miniseries) then you know what that Krypton was like. Then a year ago Loeb and company reintroduced us to the silver age Krypton of fantasy and myth. This time around, we see the latter transforming into the former. Cloning, which was the beginning of the fall for Krypton, has begun by none other than Jor-el himself. Now I am looking forward slightly, but it almost looks as if Jor-el is going to be the downfall of Krypton. Of course, in relation to Byrne's history the timing is off, as the clone war happened ages ago, but the parallels are definitely beginning to appear. More specifically on this issue, it was fun, if a bit too quick. The pacing of the story seemed to really fly by when nothing was really accomplished. The issue consisted of a little back-story, a fight at fire falls, and then a return to fight at home. More could have been done, especially if the splashes were cut down on, but more on that later. It is great to see two Kryptonians fighting together. With the diversity of "Team Superman", we never really get to see two people with Superman's powers fight, and it is a lot of fun. I also like the silver-age Krypton, with the fire falls being used. In case you have never seen them, there were maps of Krypton printed in books back in the sixties that had places like the fire falls, gold mountains, and the like. It was a good, fun issue all around. I have but two gripes. One, Jor-el received his power far too quickly. It has been established that it takes a long time to build up the solar energy needed, and yet his power is lasting almost as long as Kal's is on Krypton. But I will ignore this because it was needed to further the story, if Kal was carrying Jor-el everywhere it would have been a little lame. Secondly, last issues final panel just annoys me. Jor-el, who is currently gifted with telescopic sight, mistakes some man for his wife? We are all lead to believe she is dead, and then she is alive but captured. I realize that this kind of cliffhanger is used all of the time, but they didn't need to do it so poorly. It clearly looked like a woman last issue, and Jor-el even identified her as Lara, and then this issue it's a guy. If you are going to use cliffhangers, leave it up to us to think it's Lara, don't say it is and then change it next issue.

3Art - 3: This art is, I'm really not sure what to say about it. I really don't care for it that much. All of their hair looks bad, and there is regular problem with oversized chins and strangely shaped mouths. Oh well, this I have come to expect and therefore almost ignore. However, my main gripe with this art is the aforementioned size of the panels. This story could have been condensed to half its size if not for the gratuitous use of large panels and splashes. I realize that they have their place, and really big action scenes should use a splash, but this issue used either splashes or just really large panels every page. Because of this, the story moved far too fast. Other than that, it was average art for Rouleau. Not my preference, but I'm sure someone out there likes it.

4Cover Art - 4: I really like interlocking covers. Like when Superman #151, Action Comics #761, and the other two all formed the big picture three years ago, that was great. If a story is going to crossover, then there should be a link between the covers too. The art on the covers is decent too. I'm not too big a fan of how Lara looks on this week's cover. I'm not sure what it is about her, but I really don't care for it. Maybe it's because she really doesn't look like I think Lara should. Oh well, that only drops it a little. It is still a very good cover, and besides, it connects with all of the others, and there is nothing better that that. (Except foil covers of course. I know that it's just a gimmick, but to me, a big issue deserves a special cover.)

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

January 2002

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