After an assassination attempt on Jor-El, Zor-El and baby Kara Zor-El, black sheep of the family Kru-El is put on trial. New Head of Planetary Security Dru-Zod – he won the role by saving the Els – wants to come down heavy on Kru, who hoped to wipe out his cousins so he’d be head of the House of El.
Fearing Krypton is soon to be destroyed, Jor has been trying to create a Survival Zone, using himself as test subject. On the outside, Zor frees his brother after a few seconds, but for Jor it felt like months.
The scientists decide to abandon the project, the Survival Zone is just too horrific to be a viable way to preserve Krypton’s population.
Two months later, after Kru is convicted, Zod springs a surprise on the Brothers El.
An understandably miffed Jor takes Dru aside.
And that’s how a long-standing friendship is torn apart, sparking a rivalry that will go on to affect Jor’s son long after his own death.
Robert Venditti’s knack for character-fuelled drama is to the fore in this second issue of the World of Krypton mini-series. The scenes between Jor and Zod, their moralities and ambitions growing ever further apart, are gripping. I also like Zor’s wry humour, and his dedication to working with his brother so daughter Kara has a future. The wise counsel of Jor’s wife, Lara, is also good to see, hopefully she’ll play a bigger role in the book soon.
In the Silver Age of comics the Survival Zone was a separate, sister space to the Phantom Zone – Zor and his wife Alura escaped there when Argo City fell – but the repurposing here makes sense; what was intended as a sanctuary is so awful that it becomes a prison.
And in a by the by, I love Zod’s reference to ‘the Thought-Beast in the room’.
I was a little hesitant in my praise for Michael Avon Oeming’s work last issue but here the bodily proportions are less wonky, meaning I can more easily enjoy the artist’s designs and compositions. There’s a tension in the faces that suits the intensity of the situation, the planet’s architecture and decor is suitably weird, and Oeming even manages to make dear old Zod sexy.
And is that a brain powering the Survival Zone blaster?
I do wonder, though, why Jor and Lara are being drawn like twins, right down to the pyjamas – it’s rather icky.
Nick Filardi’s colours pop throughout, with the ultra-blanched Phantom Zone eerie, and the effect as Kru is banished especially striking.
Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s jolly fonts add to the experience. Impressive as it is, I’m not comfortable with the cover by Mico Suayan and colour artist Annette Kwok – the style is so at odds with Oeming and Filardi’s interiors that I’m not sure who I’m looking at – Jor-El and Dru-Zod is my best guess, but it seems the same model is being used for both (Tom Hiddleston?).
Overall, though, this is a great reinterpretation of the last days of Superman and Supergirl’s homeworld… I’m immediately placing it in canon as there’s not a Rogol Zaar to be seen. A combination of human drama, politics and high fantasy, World of Krypton is a winner.