Aaaaand here we are, back to concurrent storytelling in this New Krypton epic, into the second half of the four simultaneous series that contained it before it got into it’s last act. I wasn’t sure what order to read these books in so I decided to do them more or less in the opposite order to how I enjoyed the prior chapters (sort of how I eat my meals sometimes). That meant without a doubt that first up was Nightwing and Flamebird, vol. 2.
The book, written by Greg Rucka, gets off to an unpromising start as Kyrptonian criminal / sleeper agent Jax-Ur lobotomizes some hapless victims to use for his cruel experiments – just the sort of gruesome unpleasantries I don’t really appreciate. But after that, it actually picks up a decent bit. The story lays out a pretty thorough mythology for the whole Nightwing / Flamebird thing, and brings that aspect of the story to a climax. It tells a pretty grand multi-part saga about the a third Kryptonian avatar’s plot for revenge against the two leads (which only suffers from being absurdly similar to Thy Kingdom Comes, with a giant false god tromping unfeelingly across the countryside while the JSA fight vainly against it – but at least they acknowledge this). And it teases future events with Lex Luthor getting his hands on the remains of the false Rao.
Once the main story is over, the book ends with a pretty well-done single issue tale which wraps up the whole “Kryptonian sleeper agent” plotline, which is supposedly why Nightwing and Flamebird were on earth in the first place, but were forgotten about after a while. It’s entertaining, but proves once again that the Kryptonians are pretty inept when it comes to preparing for their war. Really, once the agent discovered where Project 7734 was, there was no reason they couldn’t have just smashed the place into smithereens before anyone could blink. Or at the least, sent a message to Zod saying where it was. But no, instead they keep quiet until there is time for their enemies to kill them. Oh well, none of that really occurred to me until now.
I haven’t finished re-reading all the books yet, so I can’t comment on official reading order yet, but there didn’t seem to be anything in this volume that caused any obvious spoilers for anything else I’m likely to read, except that Mon-El was back alive and nobody was surprised about it. But then, one of the other trades is a “Mon-El vol. 2” book so it’s no surprise that the Daxamite has survived his ordeal from Codename: Patriot.
It was interesting to read the mythological explanations in the story, as I found myself pondering the view of “god” that it expresses. Rao, the Kryptonian deity, seems to spring forth from the chaos of the universe almost as a cosmic accident, or by shear force of will. But either way, he’s not eternal, as he has a beginning point. He’s in charge, after some fashion, but he’s distant, and never seems to get involved in situations. His “children” are very active, and like in many mythologies fighting things out with each other in a way that makes “normal” people into sort of innocent victims. It’s not a big deal – I wouldn’t expect or want the actual God to show up as a character in a superhero comic book. But it highlights to me the questions of this is how many people see God, or if it’s how some might see other people’s belief in God (including my own).
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