Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics
Superman: World of New Krypton #12Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 3, 2010
Cover date: April 2010
"World of New Krypton" - Finale
Writer: James Robinson and Greg Rucka
Artists: Pete Woods and Ron Randall
Reviewed by: Ralph Silver
Superman, Adam Strange, Tam-Or, and Tyr-Van are in a very tight spot as we begin this issue. They have just been bathed in red sun radiation from the Archer rifles of Gor and his men, as Gor gives the command to "FIRE". Death seems imminent, but the mind of Adam Strange goes into overdrive; perceiving the attack almost as if in slow motion, and contemplating a strategy for survival. Adam activates his Zeta beam, executing a "whiplash program" by teleporting himself and his allies briefly to another world, and then immediately back again to New Krypton, but in another location.
Adam's quick maneuver saves his group, except for Tam-Or, who caught a bullet before they managed to teleport away. Tam-Or quickly succumbs to the bullet wound and makes some cryptic statements in his final moments. Superman feels helpless, since his powers are still down, and he cannot do anything to save Tam-Or's life.
Gor and his team arrive. Gor charges Kal-El and Adam with treason, and announces that they are under arrest. Gor is feeling pretty cocky, since Kal-El has twenty more minutes before his powers return. But Kal-El is furious that Gor just murdered an innocent man, and stands his ground with Gor. As Gor again points his Archer rifle at Kal-El, General Zod arrives and orders Gor to stand down. Zod is furious that Gor disobeyed his command of "no lethal force". Zod demotes Gor to Lancepesade on the spot.
Zod and Kal-El exchange words on a variety of topics. Zod declines to provide information about the secret military facility; preferring to save those details for later. Zod asks Adam Strange to leave because he feels that the situation has become sensitive and political; and is now an internal matter for only Kryptonians to address. Adam says goodbye to his friend Superman, and then uses his Zeta beam to move on.
Kal-El and Zod continue their conversation in private. Kal-El provides Zod with a thorough summary of the investigation so far; and as they review the details, it turns into a brainstorming session. They question each other, examine the clues, and look for answers. Slowly, they piece together the following facts: A cabal has formed; and its members have been conspiring together to weaken New Krypton.
A clue revealed during his conversation with Zod has led Kal-El to the home of Wri-Qin, Council member and member of the Science Guild. Kal-El and Wri-Qin engage in small talk until Kal-El suddenly accuses Wri-Qin of nefarious behavior. Wri-Qin confirms this by punching Kal-El across the room; explaining that he has exposed Kal-El to synthetic gold kryptonite, removing his powers once again.
Wri-Qin, fully powered and lifting a defenseless Kal-El in the air in a menacing way, continues to talk. He confirms Kal-El's suspicions and reveals more details of the conspiracy. He reveals that Superwoman (who we know as Lucy Lane) had traveled to New Krypton and lived there for a brief time. She had acted as General Lane's agent, secretly recruiting selected individuals and persuading them to act surreptitiously, weaken New Krypton and act as spies for General Lane. The goal was to make New Krypton more vulnerable in the event of a war with Earth. General Lane managed to delude the members of the cabal into believing that this was the safest course for New Krypton.
But Wri-Qin, motivated by selfish greed, had decided to double-cross the other members of the cabal; killing them off one-by-one. His hope was to secure a greater share of the power in the eventual post-war government of New Krypton, under the rule of General Lane and his associates. Wri-Qin also fantasizes that he will walk the Earth with Kryptonian powers; bullying the helpless people of Earth just as he is currently doing to Kal-El.
But Kal-El has a trick up his sleeve. His military unit, the Red Shard, have been hovering nearby, waiting to be called into action. They move in and fire the red sun beams from their Archer rifles at Wri-Qin, equalizing the power imbalance, and eliminating the threat.
The scene shifts, and Lieutenant Nar notifies Kal-El that Zod has requested his immediate presence at a Council meeting. Kal-El ignores the invitation, and Nar leaves looking somewhat upset.
Zod arrives, and is miffed that Kal-El chose to ignore his summons. Zod notifies Kal-El that the Council has granted the Labor Guild a seat on the Council; and that Tyr-Van has filled that seat as the new head of the Labor Guild.
Zod and Kal-El talk about whether Superman has had a positive impact on Kandorian society during his time there. Ironically, Zod is certain that he has, while Superman is not so sure. Their conversation is interrupted abruptly by the arrival of Brainiac's warship, hovering directly overhead.
Story - 5: There is so much to think about in this issue. This has certainly been a thoughtful series from start to finish. But since this is the final installment, we are flooded with new information this time around.
In my last review, I listed a series of questions that needed to be answered in issue #12. For those who missed it, here are those questions:
These questions and others were answered this issue. I thought the answers were logical, and thus very satisfying. However, along the way, some new questions were raised. And some of these were not answered, but were left to the reader's imagination. I will elaborate as we go.
Let's start at the beginning. I liked how Adam Strange used his Zeta beam to transport himself, Superman, and their Labor Guild friends out of harms way. Adam is known for his intellect and quick thinking; and he proved himself again here. This was a very satisfying resolution to the cliffhanger. But a new question goes unanswered. Why did the attack appear in slow motion to Adam?
As we read Adam's thoughts, two possibilities emerge. One is that this is merely a typical example of the mind speeding up during a crisis, and making things appear to momentarily slow down. But Adam seems to suggest that it is more than that, when he says "I see the blasts fired... Why are they so slow?" So another possibility is that something is actually augmenting Adam's normal abilities. Using my imagination, I came up with the following alternate explanation. Suppose the red sun rifle, which removes Superman's powers, ironically has a reverse affect on Adam, and gives him temporary enhanced speed. Perhaps this is due to Adam's metabolism being altered by frequent exposure to the Zeta beam.
Anyhow, just a thought. Normal mental illusion, or temporary enhanced abilities? You decide.
When Gor subsequently arrives and Kal-El confronts him, Gor has his powers and Kal-El does not. Gor goads Kal-El so he can elicit a reaction, and Gor will have an excuse to hurt or kill Kal-El. And Kal-El says to him "You think because I don't have my powers right now, I'm no threat to you? Gor... I'm more dangerous right now than ever."
Why did Kal-El say that? What did he mean? The remark is never explained; and it left me scratching my head.
I liked that Zod showed up and angrily demoted Gor. This is consistent with what we already know from past issues. Zod has only contempt for Gor and his lack of judgment.
I really liked the scene where Kal-El and Zod recap the details of the investigation, brainstorm, ask each other tough questions, and ultimately follow the clues until they piece together the conspiracy.
When Zod mentions that Council member and Science Guild member Wri-Qin was supplying him information about the secret military research facility, Kal-El suddenly puts the pieces together, and determines that Wri-Qin is the culprit they are seeking. And what clinches it for Kal-El is remembering that a dying Tam-Or whispered the words "No doctor". Kal-El says "That wasn't what he was saying at all." Kal-El's remark is never explained.
I had to scratch my head some more. Superman seems to get a clue to Wri-Qin's identity from "No doctor". But how? I wish this had been explained. If anybody can figure out how Superman determined the identity of the killer from "No doctor", please enlighten me.
When Kal-El heads to the home of Wri-Qin, he loses his powers for the second time this issue! But he gets lots more answers about the conspiracy, including what the motivations were of the conspirators. I find it hard to imagine that a race as supremely powerful as the Kryptonians would be paranoid about a possible war with Earth. But Zod confirms, in his discussion with Kal-El, that this paranoia is a leftover symptom from the traumatic memory of Brainiac's attack on old Krypton years ago. I think this is a fascinating insight into the psyche of the Kryptonians.
I also really liked the explanation that Superwoman, acting on General Lane's behalf, recruited the cabal members and got them to act as spies and saboteurs. This piece of the puzzle really seemed to fit.
As I read on, there were more unanswered questions for me to ponder. Since Wri-Qin is the killer, how did he get in and out of Mar-Li's house without leaving evidence of breaking in? Kal-El reminds us of this detail when recapping the murders for Zod. No explanation is ever given. If I want to use my imagination again, I can suggest that Wri-Qin, as a member of the Science Guild, was able to create or obtain some sort of teleportation device. But that is just a guess. An explanation would have been nice.
There were other unanswered questions. Why did Kal-El boycott the Council meeting? (I would think he would want to discuss the revelations about the cabal with them. Is he so depressed right now that he just doesn't care? That seems out of character.)
Why does Nar look so upset when she leaves Kal-El's side? (She might be upset because he is ignoring Zod's invitation to the meeting. Or she might be upset because Kal-El got demoted. Or she might be upset for more personal reasons having to do with her feelings for Kal-El that have been hinted at, but never expressed; feelings that can never be reciprocated.)
There was much to contemplate, this time around.
By the way, here are the members of the cabal and the guild for each:
So assuming that Lyra was a member of the Religious Guild, we have one representative of each guild in the group. I am not sure that it was ever suggested that Lyra was in the Religious Guild; but it would make things nice and symmetric :-)
Despite some unanswered questions, this issue was a satisfying conclusion to a very satisfying series.
Art - 4: Pete Woods and Ron Randall do a solid job once again. I like the first panel at the home of Wri-Qin, with the Fire Falls right outside his window, and the Jewel Mountains in the background. Nice home! And the final splash page with Zod and Kal-El reacting to Brainiac's warship is powerful.
Cover Art - 5: I love this cover by Gary Frank. Superman, in his military uniform, holds a tattered flag of New Krypton. He looks down at the flag with deep concern and sadness. The dark clouds above reflect his own mood.
I like the way his belt buckle, wristbands, and the metal trim on his boots all shine. This adds realism to the image.
Contrast this cover to issue #1. In that cover, Superman was full of hope and wonder as he explored New Krypton for the first time. A year later, his heart is full of sadness and pessimism. He is unsure if his presence here has made a difference. He is discouraged about the threat of war. The tattered flag is a metaphor for the current state of Kandorian leadership.
These two covers (#1 and #12) make appropriate bookends for what has been a terrific series from start to finish.
Cover Art (Variant Edition) - 5: The variant cover by Ladrönn is also a winner. Commander El soars in the foreground, with members of the Military Guild in hot pursuit, armed and ready. Lieutenant Nar watches as this all passes in front of her. The colors of the sky and background suggest a somber mood, appropriate for the story inside.
Mild Mannered Reviews
2010Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.
- Superman: Secret Origin #3
- Superman: World of New Krypton #9
- Action Comics #883
- Superman #694
- Supergirl #47
- Superman/Batman #66
- Adventure Comics #4
- World's Finest #2
- Justice League of America #39
- Justice League: Cry For Justice #5
- Super Friends #21
- Superman: World of New Krypton #10
- Action Comics #884
- Superman #695
- Supergirl #48
- Superman/Batman #67
- Adventure Comics #5
- World's Finest #3
- Justice League of America #40
- Super Friends #22
- Superman: Secret Origin #4
- Superman: World of New Krypton #11
- Action Comics #885
- Superman #696
- Supergirl #49
- Superman/Batman #68
- Adventure Comics #6
- World's Finest #4
- Justice League of America #41
- Justice League: Cry For Justice #6
- Super Friends #23
- Superman: World of New Krypton #12
- Action Comics #886
- Superman #697
- Supergirl #50
- Superman/Batman #69
- Adventure Comics #7
- Justice League of America #42
- Justice League: Cry For Justice #7
- Super Friends #24
- Superman: Secret Origin #5
- Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #1
- Action Comics #887
- Superman #698
- Superman 80-Page Giant #1
- Supergirl #51
- Superman/Batman #70
- Justice League of America #43
- Adventure Comics #8
- Adventure Comics #9
- Super Friends #25
- Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #2
- Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #3
- Action Comics #888
- Action Comics #889
- Superman #699
- Adventure Comics #10
- Supergirl #52
- Superman: War of the Supermen #0
- Superman/Batman #71
- Justice League of America #44
- Super Friends #26
- Superman: War of the Supermen #1
- Superman: War of the Supermen #2
- Superman: War of the Supermen #3
- Superman: War of the Supermen #4
- Adventure Comics #11
- Superman/Batman #72
- Justice League of America #45
- Super Friends #27
- Superman #700
- Action Comics #890
- Supergirl #53
- Adventure Comics #12
- Superman/Batman Annual #4
- Superman/Batman #73
- Justice League of America #46
- Super Friends #28
- Superman #701
- Action Comics #891
- Supergirl #54
- Superman/Batman #74
- Adventure Comics #516
- Justice League of America #47
- Time Masters: Vanishing Point #1
- Super Friends #29
- Superman: Secret Origin #6
- Superman #702
- Action Comics #892
- Supergirl #55
- Superman/Batman #75
- Superman: Last Family of Krypton #1
- Justice League of America #48
- Time Masters: Vanishing Point #2
- Superman #703
- Action Comics #893
- Supergirl #56
- Superman/Batman #76
- Adventure Comics #518
- Superman: Last Family of Krypton #2
- Justice League of America #49
- Time Masters: Vanishing Point #3
- Superman #704
- Action Comics #894
- Adventure Comics #519
- Supergirl #57
- Supergirl Annual #2
- Superman/Batman #77
- Superman: Last Family of Krypton #3
- Justice League of America #50
- JLA/The 99 #1
- Time Masters: Vanishing Point #4
- Superman: Earth One
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Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2010.