The Revolution found the debut issue of Superman: World of New Krypton to be a solid debut issue. It was nothing spectacular, but it was more than serviceable and did all the technical tasks that a first issue must perform. I had high hopes for this tile given how much I enjoyed the New Krypton story arc over in Action Comics and Superman. However, I have a bad feeling that this title is not going to live up to my expectations. Let's hope for the best and hit this review for Superman: World of New Krypton #2.
Writers: James Robinson and Greg Rucka
Artist: Pete Woods
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin on Oa with the Guardians concerned about the birth of New Krypton and a planet full of Superman-class people. The Guardians are worried that the Kryptonians will resume their old imperialistic ways. The Guardians learn that Superman is now an officer in the Kryptonian army. The Guardians send Hal Jordan to New Krypton to see if there is any need for concentrated Green Lantern involvement.
Zod orders Kal-El to begin training his unit with these new rifles. Kal-El walks over to where his unit is stationed. He sees Non fighting with a torquat. (It is an animal that has quills on its back.) Kal-El breaks up the fight. Kal-El demands an answer from his unit. One of the troops states that they found the torquat and decided to keep it as a mascot. Since Zod transferred Non over to their unit this morning, they thought that an initiation was in order. So they ordered to fight the torquat.
Kal-El is pissed at the terrible treatment of the animal. (Clearly, Superman would never rock a Michael Vick jersey.) Kal-El orders that his unit perform flying maneuvers under his direction for the entire day as punishment.
We cut to Kal-El meeting Allura at a large art gala being held by the Artists Guild. They talk about the similarities and differences between the Artists Guild and the Science Guild. Allura mentions that she misses Zor-El terribly. Allura then says that she did not place Kal-El in the Military Guild as punishment. She felt that it was the best use of Kal-El's abilities.
Kal-El responds that he still thinks that Zod is…but before he can finish his sentence, Zod appears and finishes Kal-El's statement by saying that he is Kal-El's leader and superior. Zod says that his super hearing can hear everything Kal-El says. Kal-El then thanks Zod then for saving him from himself. Kal-El then excuses himself.
Kal-El goes over to Tyr. Tyr tells Kal-El that he has heard rumblings and rumors that people within the Labor Guild are angry that with this new start to New Krypton that their guild is not receiving equal footing with the other Guilds. Kal-El tells Tyr that if Tyr hears anything more definite to please come and tell him.
Suddenly, Supergirl arrives on the scene. Kal-El is happy to see his cousin. Supergirl is excited that Kal is on New Krypton and that they can live as a family. Zod then walks over to Kal-El and orders him to assemble his unit. Evidently, their attempt to repopulate New Krypton's wildlife has met with drawbacks due to the yellow sun.
Thought beasts, which appear docile at first, have developed a collective madness. The thought beasts are on a rampage and threaten two atmosphere generator plants. Zod tells Kal-El to stop the beasts by any means necessary.
We cut to Kal-El and his unit watching the thought beasts from a distance. Evidently, when a person gets close to a thought beast they become overwhelmed by their greatest fear. Kal-El tells everyone to focus on his voice and to fight past the images they see due to the thought beasts. Kal-El says that his plan is for them to do some ranching.
The soldiers use their heat vision to create a trough leading into a large deep pit where the thought beasts are corralled. One of the soldiers comments that they just realized something. "The thought beasts. They're us. They're extinct. They just don't know it yet."
We shift to Kal-El reporting back to General Zod. Zod comments that Kal-El is probably waiting for a compliment from him. Kal-El responds that he neither wants nor expects anything from Zod. Zod growls that he would have anyone else brought up on charges for speaking to him like that. Zod continues that if it pains Kal-El so much to serve under him then why doesn't Kal-El go back to Earth and be a big fish in a small pond. Kal-El curtly responds that he is not going anywhere.
Zod replies that he knows what Kal-El is doing. That Kal-El is keeping his friends close and his enemies closer. Zod then says that Kal-El's solution with the thought beasts was creative and impressive. Suddenly, a solider informs Zod that the art gala is under attack. Zod and Kal-El arrive outside of the art gala. A soldier informs them that a faction of the Labor Guild has taken control of the building. Allura was still at the gala when they took it over.
The soldier continues that the faction is demanding that the Labor Guild receive equal status to the other Guilds. The Labor Guild members stole a shipment of Archer rifles and are using them to threaten the hostages. (Gee, sure did not take long for that obvious plot device to be used, huh?)
Supergirl then arrives on the scene. Zod turns to Kal-El for a plan. Another soldier arrives and says that Commander Gor has already taken action. Gor has rounded up thirty members of the Labor Guild and if Allura and the other hostages are not released in "sixty thribs" then Gor will have the Labor Guild members killed.
Kal-El yells that Gor is insane. Zod replies that Gor is brilliant. Zod likes Gor's improvisational skills and orders the soldier to tell Commander Gor to fire at will at the thirty Labor Guild members once the time has elapsed. End of issue.
The Good: Superman: World of New Krypton #2 was a dull read. However, there were a few aspects about this issue that I enjoyed. I liked the inclusion of the Guardians into the story. There is simply no way that Krypton gets reborn and the Guardians do not decide to do a little investigating. The Kryptonians are incredibly powered and have a bad history of trying to conquer everything around them.
Therefore, it makes perfect sense that the Guardians would dispatch Hal Jordan to go and investigate and see if the Green Lantern Corps needs to get involved. The upcoming meeting between Hal and Superman is one of the few plotlines on this title that actually interests me.
Pete Woods delivers plenty of solid artwork. Superman: World of New Krypton #2 is a pleasant looking issue and the artwork is clean and easy to follow. My favorite scenes were the ones at the art gala. They were candy colored and looked wonderful.
The Bad: Superman: World of New Krypton #2 was a predictable read. The writers introduce plot devices in a clumsy and obvious fashion so that each move is practically screamed at the reader before it happens. Nothing has happened on this title that the reader did not already see coming from a mile away. I am not saying that every comic book has to be a Grant Morrison level mind bender or an Ed Brubaker level murder mystery. But, it would be nice not to be able to predict absolutely every single plot development in this story.
Superman: World of New Krypton #2 was an uncreative issue that lacked any soul. The characters are nothing more than cardboard cut-outs. Kal-El is particularly vanilla and bland. The characters move mechanically through the scenes as there is little chemistry created between them. The dialogue is generic.
The Labor Guild plotline evokes no drama or tension in the reader since the Kryptonians are being presented as inexcusably villainous with their treatment of the Labor Guild. I prefer it when I am presented with a villain that is more complex and presents motivations and goals that are morally ambiguous rather than patently evil.
Superman: World of New Krypton #2 is a shallow and thin read. The writers spoon-feed the reader way too much. It is as if the writers feel the reader is too dumb to understand or figure out anything on their own. There are really only two plotlines running at the moment. The one involving the Labor Guild and the other one involving Superman's distrust of Zod. There just is not enough substance in this story to really capture my attention and imagination.
The Archer rifle was a goofy and predictable plot device. Was there a pressing need for a weapon that could kill Kryptonians? It is a weapon that is completely pointless and unnecessary to use against any other species that might attack New Krypton. It was only designed with Kryptonians in mind. It seems silly that in a desire to protect your new planet from outside enemies that the military designs a weapon only to be used against your own people. This weapon is only made with the belief that the odds are that New Krypton will be facing a threat from within compared to a threat from outside.
Still, it just did not seem smart to create a weapon that any person with a brain would realize that this would allow other species to easily defeat the Kryptonian military and lead to an easy conquest of New Krypton. Imagine a team of Navy SEALS with these Archer rifles.
It would have made more sense to make just a few of these deadly weapons and then guard them the way the U.S. Government guards their nuclear missiles. I'm talking enough security that the Archer rifles do not get stolen the same day that Zod unveiled them. That was ridiculous.
And, of course, upon seeing the Archer rifle in the beginning, the reader immediately knew that this weapon will be turned against the Kryptonian military in short order. And, predictably, so it is with the ending of this very same issue.
Superman: World of New Krypton #2 had very little in the way of action. The only bit of action that we got was the scene where Kal-El's unit herds the thought beasts. This issue was largely a slow and plodding read. The story feels a bit unfocused as the writers do not seem confident with what they want to achieve with this story. Much of Superman: World of New Krypton #2 reads like filler. None of the scenes in this issue really had much of a purpose other than to burn up panel space in order to stretch this story out over fifteen issues.
Superman: World of New Krypton #2 ends with a dull hook ending. It was painfully predictable. The minute Tyr mentioned that there were rumblings about a Labor Guild uprising the reader knew that this faction of Labor Guild members where going to steal some Archer rifles and then take hostages. So, when the "surprise" hook ending arrives the reader simply yawns and closes the issue. There was little in this ending that gets me excited for the next issue.
I do have one minor quibble with the artwork. Does Superman talk telepathically? I ask because his mouth is shut for the entire issue with the exception of one panel on the second to last page where he actually opens his mouth to shout "That's insane!"
Overall: Superman: World of New Krypton #2 was a dull and plodding issue that offers the reader a predictable and unexciting read. This issue delivers little in the way of quality character work and interesting drama. Nor does it deliver adrenaline pumping action. The writers manage to burn through this entire issue without achieving anything.
Superman: World of New Krypton is getting off to a slow and dull start. This title needs to improve quickly in order to retain my attention and interest. At this point, I would only recommend Superman: World of New Krypton to die-hard Superman fans. For everyone else, there are other titles on the market that are much more interesting and that are more deserving of your hard earned money.