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New Krypton #1 Review

New Krypton #1 review by Hugo Bravo

Written by by Geoff Johns, James Robinson, and Sterling Gates
Art by Pete Woods, Gary Frank, and Renato Guedes

The writers of Superman, Actions Comics, and Supergirl team up to write the first chapter to New Krypton #1, the mandatory one-shot issue before a big DC event. Despite some mildly confusing character twists, it's a fine set-up to what may be the biggest Superman story in years.

The story picks up where Action Comics' 'Brainiac' left off, with the funeral of Jonathan Kent (who until now, has died in every other Superman medium except the main universe), having suffered a fatal heart attack after saving Martha Kent from an explosion triggered by Brainiac. Though he mourns the death of his earth father, Superman finds hope in the fact that almost 100,000 Kryptonians, previously held captive by Brainiac in the shrunken city of Kandor, have now returned to regular size and are floating on an island in the Arctic. Among them are the parents of Kara Zor-El, Superman's aunt and uncle. Though they are grateful to be free from Brainiac, the inhabitants of New Krypton seem somewhat hesitant to adapt to Earth customs, all the while slowly developing powers similar to Superman's. Back in Metropolis, we get a glimpse of Lois Lane's family and how they feel about the path she has taken in her life (could this be preparation for a Chloe Sullivan cameo?) Jimmy Olsen hints at a government agency's plans to take down an enemy with Kryptonian weaponry, led by a powerful military figure. This minor character from Superman's history was long believed to be dead, and his return could create an interesting, 'human' adversary for the Man of Steel, a position previously only held by Lex Luthor. It seems that Superman may have finally found a villain similar to the Hulk's Thunderbolt Ross, with a connection to the Kents that will make for some good stories.

Supergirl's presence in the story is a welcome addition, and further enforces the idea of her and Superman as a cohesive team, but her appearance is not without some confusion. She seems happy to see her parents, but in her own book and one or two others, she seems to be suffering from daddy issues, believing that her father sent her to kill her cousin Superman? Maybe I'm missing a detail or two from continuity, but it was a mild annoyance. Nonetheless, I'm willing to accept the El family love presented in the issue. It will make it all the more interesting when the inevitable happens, and Supergirl is forced to choose between her parents and her new home.

The rotating artists may be a turn-off to some, but for an issue like this, it's a necessary sacrifice. In fact, they do a good job of bringing the world of Superman and Action Comics together. Gary Frank is easily the stand-out artist, with his Superman continuing to resemble the late Christopher Reeve, and illustrating some touching moments between Clark and Pa Kent. It's a shame that the current artist of Supergirl, Jamal Igle, could not contribute, since along with writer Sterling Gates, have improved that once-horrendous book tenfold. Free from any Final Crisis hoopla, this is the perfect time to start reading the Superbooks. Though the Bat family is the clan currently gathering the most attention in DC, Superman and his new Kryptonian brothers and sisters will undoubtedly dominate the first half of 2009 (until Geoff Johns blesses us yet again with the newest Green Lantern epic). Supes is in good hands for next year, and is set to once again be the main force in the DC Universe.

Rating: 8

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