Lazarus Planet: Assault on Krypton #1

The second book in DC’s latest event is an anthology, with all four shorts showcasing powers being gained or changed as a result of the Lazarus weather storm. What it isn’t is anything to do with Krypton. Sure, we have this opening spiel…

… but none of this comes up at all on the pages. There’s one background image of Krypton exploding in the Power Girl piece, but no Jaf-El… and I’d have loved to have seen some of his story, he’s proper pre-Crisis Superman history, dating from the Krypton Chronicles mini-series.

The stories themselves are all pretty decent, but it really feels like someone got their anthology titles mixed up

Anyway, we begin with Dreamer from telly’s Supergirl, who recently joined the DC Universe, going on a quest for Dr Fate’s missing helmet.

That’s the DCU Dreamer’s first meeting with comic book Supergirl, it’s brief but it feels right – actress Nicole Maines has been involved with every one of Nia Nal’s four-colour adventures, and she captures her voice marvellously. Here Maines has Nia swim into the dreams of the missing Khalid Nassour, the current Dr Fate, in her attempt to find the golden headgear.

Khalid’s medical student background was a big part of his superb shortlived series, but DC has ignored it since he joined Justice League Dark; its great to see his status as an actual doctor revived. Complementing Maine’s smart story is the appealing art of Skylar Patridge, which nails the everyday and the extraordinary alike. A nice subtle point is that everyone else in the dream is Khalid. My favourite aspect is the look of Supergirl, with Patridge and colourist Nick Filardi making her hair look amazing.

The story ends with something happening to Nia which… is to be continued somewhere we’re not told. Google tells me it’s the Lazarus Planet: Omega bookend next month, but editor Paul Kaminski could usefully have done so too. Letter artist Morgan Martinez would have made the announcement look lovely!

Superman II Jon Kent meets a young thief in Metropolis’ garment district and they both get caught in the Lazarus rain.

Our newly empowered, anonymous thief – Jon doesn’t ask his name, which is very un-Jon – actually proves jolly useful as Kid Superman goes on a do-gooding spree despite his powers being slightly off. And does he say thank you? Nope, despite the blond’s helpfulness and a spot of mild flirting (every young guy Jon meets nowadays is a potential love interest) Jon turns him in… happily for the lava lout, he’s able to escape. And a note left for Jon lets us know his name – if it’s his real one, rather than a superhero one, it’s most appropriate. The new chap is a likeable rogue – it’s implied we’ll meet him again in the upcoming Superman: Jon Kent mini-series (well done Paul K!), where Jon will be sporting a new, old look. The script by Oz author C S Pacat is breezy, while the art of Super-books regular Scott Godlewski pops in all the right places. Alex Guimarães colours, Andworld letters are everything looks splendid.

Meanwhile, at Lexcorp, Luthor’s aide Mercy Graves is blasted by a bolt of Lazarus lightning into a Lex warsuit, giving her abilities reminiscent of Guy Gardner in his Warrior days.

Lex is uncharacteristically hands off, and strangely supportive, in this tale from writer Frank Barbiere and artists Sami Basri and Vicente Cifuentes; I get that it’s setting up chauffeur cosplayer Mercy as a superhero or villain, but there’s no way Lex wouldn’t have leapt into a warsuit rather than cowering in the armoury. There’s no reference to last time Mercy had powers, in the unintelligible Pete Milligan Infinity Inc series, but maybe that was a continuity or two ago. I find it hard to care about Mercy, she’s not a character who seems ripe for redemption and she’s already a bad guy, so where can she go? Still, the art is pleasantly kinetic, and the colours and letters by HiFi and Dave Sharpe respectively help the story along.

The most striking art in the book comes from Marguerite Sauvage as Power Girl reels from events in the aforementioned Lazarus Planet: Alpha book. Actually, she’s not so much reeling as falling, over several pages.

The full-colour illustrations are seriously eye-catching as Peege thinks she’s been killed, visions of her beyond eventful life dancing in her head. She’s more introspective, self-doubting than Power Girl is known to be, but heck, she thinks it’s all over. By the end of the story she’s met an old DC heroine, gained a new power and is ready for her close-up in the new-look Action Comics – it turns out she’s not dead after all!

The cover by David Marquez and Alejandro Sánchez is pretty intense, though not strictly representative of the insides, showing Jon as he’ll be in his new book and not showing Lava Lad at all… unless he’s the big eyes in the background. Still, it should pull in some readers.

Is this comic essential to fully enjoy the Lazarus Planet event? I think it may be, with the character and story beats in here. Either way, it’s a good-looking time passer, and sometimes that’s enough.

7 thoughts on “Lazarus Planet: Assault on Krypton #1

  1. Regarding the title, perhaps instead of being a literal assault on the planet Krypton, it’s more a book about how characters who happen to be Kryptonian (or related by TV show connections) are being assaulted by the Lazarus effects. That works for me.

    The comic itself? Eh… I think it’s missable. The Power Girl artwork is beautiful and the Superboy/man story was enjoyable fluff. But I don’t think there was anything in this issue that really demands your attention. Anything that Dreamer learns will most likely be recapped in the Omega issue and the rest of the stories are just set up for whatever is to come next in the Superman family of books.

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  2. Yeah, the only good thing about this issue is Jon having better chemistry with someone who’s owning up to being a nogoodnik. Dreamer continues to be a head scratcher. They never used the Supergirl show to get sales for the comic version but they keep having Dreamer pop up? And 1) I don’t want a telepathic Power Girl and B) we learn it’s not just men who draw female characters in thongs when that’s not how the costume was designed. (I’m ignoring Mercy’s latest upgrade because whoa, that story was eminently forgettable)

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    1. One thing good for a laugh, notice how Power Girl’s um embonpoint has been drastically reduced! Remember, ladies and gentlemen, there are no fuller-figured ladies! (I’m surprised Kara still has that costume as usually now you’d think they would go for the nonsense that not only are their “no fuller-figured women” but that if there were they would cover themselves completely at ALL TIMES as if they were ashamed of their bodies or God – for some inexplicable reason – demanded they do so. Take a peak at Supergirl at the moment, you’d think she were the current Ms Marvel. Perhaps the Hulk will at some point be made to wear a full body suit – like Mr Fixit but with the story logic – so as not to offend anyone with his rippling green manly flesh. Someone might be offended otherwise!)

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    2. Amen to all that! I think Dreamer keeps popping up because Nicole Maines made a connection with DC editors – you know how they like to let actors have a crack at short stories. Thank goodness Maines actually can knock out a script. I may not understand Nia Nal’s powers but I find her a sunny presence, and I like that her status as a trans woman isn’t brought up every time she shows up, she’s actually getting to be a character.

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      1. Dreamer does seem to have the same kind of random, add on, nonsensical power set of Golden Age Doctor Fate or Kirby Thor. I’ve decided her power is she brings some of the Dreaming into reality (like Darkstar’s darkforce manipulation) allowing her to do anything she wants anytime she wants.

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