Superman #14 Review

The shadow of a Thanagarian spacecraft falls on Superman, Supergirl, Superboy, Zod and Superdog. It presages a gathering of universal powers, and the members of the House of El want answers.

Flashback to a day earlier. Safe on Jor-El’s ship, Kal, Kara, Jon and Krypto watch as the uneasy alliance between Kryptonian survivors Dru-Zod and Jax-Ur, and Rogol-Zaar, the creature who killed their world, falls apart.

Jor’s reaction is cold.

Superman, though, won’t stand by as lives are lost, even those of enemies. And amidst the fighting, there’s a revelation.

Zaar can’t beat a coterie of super-powered Kryptonians. After the battle, the Thanagarians arrive, rescuing everyone from the Green K radiation that permeates the scene. We learn that the actions of Jor-El have shattered the fragile peace of the galaxy. As even Zod looks to Superman for leadership, Jon has an idea.

And as if on cue…

‘We bid you greetings….’. That’s so very corny. And I love it – the Legion of Super-Heroes debuted at a time when friendly and unfriendly visitors alike would greet mankind in exactly this manner, at drive-ins all over America. I imagine noted history buff Cosmic Boy wrote Saturn Girl’s script.

And how like the Legion to appear in the present day at a significant moment in history, as if their mere presence blesses events.

I’m delighted to see this new version, finally – we’ve known they were appearing in this issue for a few months, then it was delayed by a couple of weeks, apparently due to last-minute changes in how the members should look. So here they are, the 31st Century’s Greatest Super-Team, smiling down at their literal and symbolic forebears, with an offer for one of them.

They aren’t around long enough to give any idea of how their upcoming new series will go, but it’s just wonderful to see them en masse, benevolence itself. And I do like the new wrinkle that the idea of the United Planet’s comes from Jon Kent, it makes him truly foundational to the Legion.

It is a shame, mind, that mom Lois isn’t around to see this big moment for her son, but hopefully she’ll be here next time, for the discussions around Jon journeying to the future for a few adventures. Given she let the young Superboy swan around space with an unsupervised, nutty Jor-El for months, I can’t imagine she’ll have any qualms.

Is it weird that I found Zoe’s reunion with wife Ursa and son Lor-Zod touching? They’re not the nicest family.

I like that Zod was apparently working with nutty Jor-El, but hope both of them go away for a long while. Send them on a road trip into the Phantom Zone or somewhere equally nice.

A few questions remain and I really hope writer Brian Bendis doesn’t ignore them after what’s been a pretty decent arc. Firstly, what was the meaning of Superman’s vision back in #9 that seemed to show Earth’s heroes, in the future, being attacked by a blurred Legion?

And… Rogol Zaar is a Kryptonian? How does that gel with what (little) we know about him? He was always harping on about Kryptonians having killed his people.

The art by penciller Ivan Reis, inkers Oclair Albert & Joe Prado, and colourist Alex Sinclair is clear and sharp, with highlights including the determined walk of the Kryptonians on the first page, the gathering of powers in the opening spread (including my old pals the L.E.G.I.O.N.), a gobsmacked Superman pointing at his boy in the final panel and of course, the arrival of the LSH. Rogol Zaar looks terrifying, Zod has a strangely attractive grandeur, Kal, Kara, Krypto and Jon look terrific… heck, the only thing I particularly dislike is the shot of Superman’s belt from the back – it’s a tad Seventies disco. Nice bum, though!

The letters by Wes Abbott are great, too. This is a nicely crafted issue all-round, it’s just a shame my interest in the ‘final fate’ of Rogol Zaar went out the window once I knew the Legion was on its way. Zaar never lived up to his publicity; he came in an angry monster, we learned a little about him and now that’s been upended. I’d like an answer or two, but I wouldn’t be teary were we never to see him, or his stupid space axe, again.

The cover by the interior art team is pretty decent. A big hand for whichever member of the production department did the cover display lettering for Superman #14 – I love that they based the main part on the old Krypto logo, and ‘monstered’ it up.

The one good thing about this issue having been knocked back for a fortnight or whatever is that it brings us nearer to the scheduled release of Superman #15, and more of the new Legion of Super-Heroes. I am rather excited.

Long Live the Legion!

20 thoughts on “Superman #14 Review

  1. Considering the solicited cover of Superman #15, they changed the Ranzz family into people of colour and re-changed Cos into causcasian…
    Making Zaar a kryptonian makes little sense, maybe just to further the Doomsday analogyy?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, what a palava. Would it be so bad if the characters on the cover didn’t match their interior appearance? Heck, it’s almost a Legion tradition! DC could easily have tweaked the interiors.

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    2. I think that, maybe, Zaar is to Kryptonians what Neanderthals are to Homosapiens. Maybe there was a great conflict long in the past and the Homokryptonis nearly wiped out the Neaderkryptonis and they had to go live on another world where they eventually died out, and the last survivor blames them still. Or he was just lied to about the whole thing and believed it.

      Frankly, I think most of the hominid races of the galaxy have to be related. They should not all look human.

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  2. Zaar’s people were a second race evolved on Krypton and wiped out. Possible in a continuity where you have the glorious mess of the solar system that birthed every Omega Men race…

    And I got all verklempt at seeing the Legion. Five Years Later up until Andromeda’s death will always be my favorite version but every single one has brought me joy since I picked up that issue of Superboy by Cockrum that had the Fatal 5 invade Smallville…

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  3. Oh, wow — so not a mutation, but another kryptonian race? That checks out with what we know of him, I think… and is pretty mindblowing.

    And one thing you didn’t mention, Mart, is Adam Hughes’s wonderful Krypto variant cover — so joyful and funny!

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      1. I think this was a ‘shocking reveal’. My educated guess just bubbled up in my head so quick it stopped feeling surprising.

        BTW, has anyone ever done a story where the Legion went to recruit young Bruce Wayne?

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      2. I don’t think we did, for sure… I was just assuming a mutation after someone (I can’t remember if it was a pro or a fan) suggested that Zaar was actually a *member* pf the House of El — which is why he’s worn that symbol the entire time we’ve known him. In which case, I’d assume some sort of mutation. But we’ll see how it all shakes out!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Wasn’t there an issue with the Kent’s adopting Bruce after his parents were killed and both Supes and Bats joined the adult Legion? I didn’t read it but I remember a description like that.

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  4. Great review!
    Love to see the Legion and their sort of formal flowery speech. Fits my idea of them so well.

    The idea of Zaar being a primitive form of Kryptonian is absolutely brilliant. Amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

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