World of Krypton #1 review

On the world of Krypton, a scientist is shocked by what she finds in the valley below the Jewel Mountains.

Three weeks later, the extended El family gather to welcome their latest member.

While pushy entrepreneur Kru-El isn’t exactly embraced by Jor and Zor…

… they’re thrilled to see their friend Dru-Zod is there. He announces that he’s stepped down as Krypton’s top general.

Also at the naming ceremony is explorer Nira-Ur, there to consult with Jor on the strange deaths of the Thought Beasts.

Sadly, the serene mood is rudely interrupted.

Longtime readers will be guessing that the terrorists are members of the Black Zero group, who have shown up in various versions of Krypton’s demise. This latest retelling, by writer Robert Venditti and artist Michael Avon Oeming, sticks closely to the basics of Krypton’s history, with plenty of familiar names, while changing a few details. Previously peace-loving, rocket ship-avoiding Krypton is here a star-spanning race who, if not the initial aggressors in a conflict, are certainly harsh in their responses. The El brothers are redesigned slightly, while their wives get bigger makeovers – Lara sports a harsh haircut, while Alura has an Asian look that makes it surprising she’s the mother of that very Caucasian Cabbage Patch Kara. (I realise planet earth terms can’t literally be applied to an extraterrestrial society, but we’re reading translated Kryptonese, so go with it.)

I do like blond Zor, with his Kirbyesque tunic, but am less keen on the older-looking Jor. And Lara reminds me of Ursa from the Superman films… I really don’t get why DC don’t set a model sheet for Superman and Supergirl’s family, it’s wearying not recognising them from one year to the next. With colours by Nick Filardi and letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, individual panels are lovely pieces of Pop Art, but I’m not the biggest fan of Oeming’s style, with people looking like piñatas seen through a fish-eye lens. What’s with all the distracting bits of light blue floating around folks’ bodies, holo-jewellery? And the disparity between the cover art style of Mico Suayan and the interiors of Oeming is tantamount to a bait and switch. (And who is the actor being used for Jor here, he looks so familiar?)

I pretty much always enjoy Venditti’s stories, and this is very readable. As a retelling of the Last Days of Krypton, I’m sure it’ll be a satisfying tale. I’m not sure yet whether it’s for me, because while I wasn’t there when the history was first laid down, the Silver Age Krypton is, for me, perfection. So I thank Venditti for including such classic elements as the Jewel Mountains, Kryptonopolis and those most unfortunate Thought Beasts… the notion of them having a mass stroke due to tuning in to Krypton’s upcoming death is really rather brilliant. And surely Nira-Ur is related to old Phantom Zone resident Jax-Ur.

I’ve never been keen on the ‘House of El’ business, with Superman coming from a line of aristocrats – great, sometimes notorious, men and women, yes, but not the uncrowned kings and queens of Krypton, targets for terrorists. Here there seems to be an over-reverence for blood members of the clan over folk who’ve married into the family.

I’ll check in next time, because there’s certainly a vision in place, but on the basis of this opener, I’m not sold on the series. How about you?

7 thoughts on “World of Krypton #1 review

  1. I think it’s a more interesting-looking outing or better fit for Oeming than his work on the Midnighter backups was. The whole book looks like we’re viewing it on some holographic computer console from the future.

    I wonder if we will learn anything about the Phaelosians here.

    I’m kind of confused – does Zor-El die? Is it he that Lara is trying to revive? Zor’s jacket was closed in earlier scenes, but has the same brown jacket with a “W” shape on it, gold collar and gold belt. If it isn’t him, he is conspicuously absent for half the book. If it is – they are reacting as if he was just some random person Lara was trying to save, not her brother-in-law. They don’t even mention him by name. So I don’t know what was going on.

    The cover for #3 will sport a pre-teen Kara holding puppy Krypto – and a very much alive Zor. Yes, he has to stick around to drug Kara and stuff her in the rocket.

    I wasn’t planning to pick this one up – but then had a change of heart, and did. That means I’ll probably follow the whole 6-part series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did go back at the time to work out who that dead guy was, and concluded he’s a random guest… we see a few in the fray, being blasted. Zor is right there in the middle of the previous Osage. Venditti should have been clearer, given the dead chap a namecheck.

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      1. You’re right – Zor is kneeling with Alura and Kara.

        If not a namecheck, Oeming could have done the job if he had drawn that dead guy previously among the guests. The problem is his clothes look like Zor’s, and no one else there was dressed that way. But dead guy doesn’t have Zor’s dashing hair style, and we agree it’s not Zor.

        Zor’s hair actually does set him apart in this crowd. He’s the one long-haired guy among this more conservative formal-looking bunch – the younger, rebellious one perhaps.

        Alura was usually the blonde one in the comics, right? Zor-El dark haired, like in his Cyborg Superman appearances. I don’t think a blond Cyborg Superman would be quite right!

        But looking at some images online, it looks like Zor was blond in some things, or at least once, in the animated feature “Superman Unbound” from 2013.

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  2. Thank you for making me feel better about skipping it. Venditti and Oeming aren’t creators I like well enough to get past basic disinterest. Even pre-Crisis I preferred my Krypton lore in a Superman family title rather than as a mini.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree that I will need to see how this noble houses stuff plays out. It does seem off for the usual cold science world we know and love.

    Didn’t even think about Nira-Ur being a relative of Jax-Ur.

    And Black Zero has been around so long I am hoping this is just some veiled coup by Zod instead.

    I did like it more than you, I can tell. I thought the aesthetics were interesting. I’ll be on board for the ride!

    Liked by 1 person

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