The clock for the last days of Krypton continues to count down in the third issue of this mini-series, with a number of vignettes enriching the world as it takes the story forward.
First, we meet a curious young lady.
Her would-be teacher, Catar-Ol, is impressed, and discusses Kara’s possible paths with her mother, Alura In-Zee.
Meanwhile, General Dru-Zod is settling into his new role as Head of Planetary Security, dealing with protestors in his own way.
And Jor-El is updating the Science Council on a threat to Krypton a lot more dangerous than disgruntled citizens.
Krypton’s doom has long been used by comics writers as a warning that when a world starts hurting, its people should take heed. Robert Venditti goes back to that well, while upping the parallels with the readers’ reality by bringing in protests and austerity. And why not, some lessons are worth ramming home?
Speaking of lessons, how cute is pre-school Supergirl? In recent continuity young Kara’s interests have skewed firmly towards the sciences, but it makes sense that her mother wanted her to have options. It’s good to see Alura get some page time, and as a fan of Venditti’s recent Hawkman series, I also got a kick out of Catar’s cameo.
A big difference with this retelling of Krypton’s end is that Jor-El is no longer the traditional voice crying in the wilderness; not only does the Science Council listen to him, they elect him leader. This gives Krypton a fighting chance of survival… but will Zod throw a spanner in the works?
Oh, and there’s a character debut this issue.
What an adorable pup!
The issue ends on a tense note that even cuteness can’t defuse. But what an issue – Venditti’s story successfully adds detail to the traditional Krypton tale, along with some twists and fine character moments.
Partnering Venditti is Michael Avon Oeming, whose distinctive style and sharp storytelling is bringing something new to the retro-future table. The framing of the panels, the incidental detail, the sharp cartooning, it gives the book a unique look, with Krypton feeling more otherworldly than it has for a long while.
The vibrant colours of Nick Filardi add another dimension, while Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s excellent lettering complements the art.
And if Kara and Krypto get to share a panel – as implied by the cover – the sweetness of it all could kill me. Still, it’s better than having the world explode under my feet…
Behind the cover is illustrator Mico Suayan and colourist Annette Kwok, and it’s another good-looking image, contrasting contentment with crisis. I’m very curious about what Venditti’s notes are on Alura’s design, though – inside the book she’s akin to Earth-Asian, on the cover it’s more Earth-African, and Kara looks like she’s jumped straight from father Zor-El’s forehead. Catar-Ol is also looking different to when we saw him previously. Perhaps the underlying message is that at this point, the background of Supergirl and Superman really is a legend, and the details change depending on the teller.
I was lukewarm on this Kristy Quinn-edited series at the start, unsure what the point of another retelling of this well-known story was. But with every issue my enthusiasm increases, and I get it – this really is the World of Krypton for a new generation.