Last issue Superman found himself drafted into Zod’s military guild as he settled into his mission to keep an eye on the 100,000 super-powered Kryptonians who are suddenly Earth’s neighbours. This month he gets to know the troops under his command, goes to a gala with Aunt Alura and tackles a horde of rampaging thought beasts. All the while he’s sharing his humanity with everyone he encounters, whether it’s by empathising with the plight of the Labour Guild members, refusing to kill the thought beasts or reprimanding soldiers for casual cruelty. Moment by moment, without using his powers, Superman is transforming the planet.
The new spin given the Silver Age thought beasts gave me quite a kick, but then, so did every other aspect of the issue. Alura, who has been presented as a one-note tyrant for a while, receives an injection of depth. A movement for equality is born. And Kal and Kara actually act like the loving cousins they should be. Writers James Robinson and Greg Rucka have hit the ground running with this book, quickly making New Krypton more than a blueprint for a world, and populating it with believable people.
And all of it is beautifully illustrated by Pete Woods, who draws people as attractive, but not unfeasibly so. What’s more, he has a terrific touch with critters – as well as the thought beasts we’re treated to the porcupine on steroids that is the torquat. Can a three-eyed Kryptonian babootch be far behind? Credit too to letter Steve Wands, who doesn’t put a font wrong with a wordy script, and colourist Brad Anderson, who gives groovy fractal. In fact, let’s scan in half a spread, not only to show you Anderson’s jolly hues, but the sure-to-be-trendsetting hair fashion of Auntie Alura: The issue is topped off with a gorgeous cover by Gary Frank and Anderson, showing Superman – sorry, Commander El – standing proud yet conflicted on his reborn world. Spiffing stuff.