Superman: New Krypton vol. 2 more or less completes the prologue for the whole New Krypton epic. By the end of the book, we’ve got most of the major players in place: Nightwing & Flamebird, General Lane, Lex Luthor, Superwoman, Assassin, Reactron, Guardian, Brainiac, and so on. And even more significantly, Zor-El is struck down and New Krypton is an actual planet. And even General Zod is back in play.
As far as the read goes, this book is a step up from Volume 1 – one feels that there is a lot going on that actually has to do with the returned Kryptonians, which is an improvement. But it’s hard to feel anything but a sense of dread as you go through it. Superman does his level best to keep everyone playing nice with each other, but it’s obvious that his efforts are doomed from the get-go. Even the supposedly level-headed Zor-El helps to come up with the loopy plan to go and pre-emptively capture all of Superman’s enemies, which naturally leads to all sorts of problems. This is followed by increased tensions, assassination, heartache, family breakdown, battle lines being drawn, and Agent Liberty being set up as a narrative sacrificial lamb to introduce a new villain. The experience of re-reading it is a bit depressing.
Part of the weakness of the story is the fact that there is very little that is heroic for Superman to actually do. He comes across mainly as repetitively ineffectual and helplessly in the background as larger events happen around him. It’s not a nice look for the character, and doesn’t give us much to latch on to as a reader.
Furthermore, there’s a bunch of random wackiness that sort of comes out of nowhere at different points in the story – appearances by the Creature Commandos or Zatanna or Agent Liberty or even Tellus of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Some of this is part of the larger narrative and some of isn’t, but it’s all a bit of a distraction – and in a story as diverse as this we don’t really need any more distractions.
All that said, it’s not terrible. Geoff Johns, James Robinson and Sterling Gates all know how to write a story. And Pete Woods, Renato Guedes, and Jamal Igle all know how to draw. And the Guardian gets at least one awesome moment (page 115-116). But it doesn’t really draw me strongly into the next installment.
Superman: New Krypton Index
Last Son • Brainiac • New Krypton vol. 1 • New Krypton vol. 2 • Mon-El • Supergirl: Who is Superwoman? • Nightwing and Flamebird vol. 1 • New Krypton vol. 3 • Codename: Patriot • Supergirl: Friends and Fugitives • Nightwing and Flamebird vol. 2 • Supergirl: Death and the Family • Mon-El – Man of Valor • New Krypton vol. 4 • Last Stand of New Krypton vol. 1 • Last Stand of New Krypton vol. 2 • War of the Supermen