New Krypton Times 2: Doomsday, Supergirl & More

New Krypton Times 2

Action Comics #871

DC’s “New Krypton” hit part 5 last week with the release of Supergirl #35. So where do things stand? We checked in after part 3 last time, so let’s kick off with part 4.

Action Comics #871 picked up pretty much immediately after Superman #681 well, almost. Before we get to “Kandorians – Doomsday: FIGHT!” what did we see?

• Building unrest with Zod’s soldiers – the two in the opening pages bring up a good point, and lay the foundation that certainly a group of Kandorians are thinking – Zod and Ursa, once out from the Phantom Zone, wanted to build earth into a New Krypton. Why did Superman stop them? “Nationalistic” Kryptonians have, apparently, begun questioning Superman’s loyalties to Krypton.

• While Lex Luthor and General Lane may be partnering to dig out Brainiac’s secrets, they’re clearly not doing it for the same reasons. Lane is single-minded in his quest to stop or have the ability to stop and control the Kryptonians, and Luthor is…well, Luthor, out for himself, and playing every angle. Unfortunately for him, Lane sees through that latter part quickly, and shoots him to show Luthor how serious he is. Lead is the new exclamation point on the end of your sentence. Oh, and Lane and Luthor have a discussion about Lois' infatuation with Superman. In fact, it was the (a thinly veiled racism analogue?) comments about Lois' choice of partners that resulted in Lane shooting Luthor.

So yeah – Doomsday. Given the continuity of the DC Universe recently, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where and when Doomsday showed up last, but we’re going to put our money on his last appearance being in Infinite Crisis where he was beaten down by Superman and Earth-2 Superman. Traditionally speaking, Doomsday’s unseen post-beat down locations are always murky, and usually governmental. One thing to note this time though, unlike Doomsday’s original capture after The Death of Superman, he wasn’t held at Cadmus, as Cadmus has been dismantled (see the last New Krypton Times). So who had him and how he got free this time is an open question - although in the scene just before the Doomsday scene, General Lane tells Luthor that he's not the only "bullet in my gun," that is, Lane has many other tools at his disposal to stop the Kryptonians. Maybe Lane had him.

What’s interesting here is that the Kandorian’s know Doomsday – he’s identified by Alura (Supergirl’s mother) as “The Beast of the Doomsday Terrorists.” That’s something new. According to what’s come before, Doomsday wasborn on Krypton, but long before humanoids had achieved dominance on the planet. To date, there’s been no indication that Doomsday ever returned to his planet of origin (though he did go on an interstellar tour that saw him encounter Darkseid, the Khunds, the Guardians and others). That said, and to be fair, there’s not been any indication that Doomsday didn’t return to Krypton at some point, either. This idea is supported by Zor-el’s recap of Doomsday’s origin to Superman. Zor reiterated a point of Doomsday’s origin that can sometimes get muddled – he blames his existence on Kryptonians, and thus, his attacks against Kryptonians are personal in nature, hence his “no retreat, no surrender” battle plan.

The Kryptonians in the Metropolis delegation join forces and quickly fly Doomsday to the moon, where they proceed to beat him to death – it should be noted that Superman and Supergirl were not on the front lines of the fatal beat-down (Supergirl was punched away by Doomsday and Superman was seemingly pushed to the side by the bloodthirsty Kryptonians). At the fight’s conclusion, the two are shown with mixed emotions on their faces, while the rest of the blood-smeared Kandorians celebrate the victory.

Finally in this issue of Action, the promise on the cover is made good on, and Flamebird (female) and Nightwing (male) make their debut in the issue’s closing pages, as Zod’s two soldiers seen at the start of the issue attempt to use the Phantom Zone projector to bring their General to this world.

And of course – of that last part, what has Conner Kent fans freaking out is one of them (Flamebird and Nightwing were off panel) disassembled the soldiers’ guns via tactile telekinesis. That was a power that to date only Conner Kent, the late Superboy had shown.

And Nightwing has black hair.

Supergirl #35
Supergirl #35
Supergirl #35

Okay – over to “New Krypton” Part 5 – in the shape of Supergirl #35. The issue picks up on the threads of Supergirl’s story that started in Superman: New Krypton Special, and plays with the hints and foreshadowing that Kandor on earth (whose population includes Supergirl’s parents) will be especially challenging for Kara. More on that in a minute.

So, what did we see in Supergirl #35? A quick list before the meat…

• General Lane and Codename Assassin are still plotting, and are increasingly annoyed that what they see as a threat (100,000 Kryptonians) are seen by Americans as the “ultimate immigrants,” not as the ticking time bombs as Lane sees them.

• General Lane needs a new map of America – one that has Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that shows it being connected to Wisconsin, not Canada. We kid because we are geography nerds that love.

• Speaking of that aforementioned tension between Supergirl and her parents, Supergirl’s mother in particular is adamant that Supergirl give up her “Linda Lang” identity, which she just took last issue, and move back to Kandor with them, you know, where people are like her, and like her. Headstrong girl that she is, Kara’s not up for the move.

• Why don’t people like Supergirl? This issue shows that Cat Grant has no intention of backing down from her public campaign against the Girl of Steel, targeting her in another of The Daily Planet’s front page editorials.

• Reactron! Who? Yeah. But regardless, he’s back and General Lane has him.

Okay – but this issue’s title was “The Secret Origin of Supergirl” so where does that come in, and why are Supergirl fans wearing big smiles this week?

In talking to her father, Supergirl reveals that she’s had memory problems since she’s arrived on earth, and has “remembered” her parents and her upbringing in different ways over the years, which has led her to be confused and troubled – much like readers of Supergirl for the past three-plus years. The key comes when Zor-el (aka, “Father” to Supergirl) asks his daughter if her blood crystallizes when she’s cut.

And you thought that was just a lousy plot device from earlier in the series. Wrong – as Zor-el reveals, it’s a sign of Kryptonite poisoning – which has also caused Kara’s mood swings, hallucinations, personality shifts and memory distortion. As Zor-el explains it, Supergirl was exposed to Kryptonite over a long period of time – and while it wasn’t enough to kill her, it was enough to poison her. He builds a machine to draw the residual Kryptonite radiation out of her, and viola – Supergirl remembers her life – her real life – on Argo City now, one that was tainted and nearly ended by Brainiac.

All told, the K-poisoning reveal and explanation effectively wipe the slate clean in regards to Supergirl’s behavior and motivations in the series since its inception. She was an angry teen? Kryptonite poisoning. She thought her mission from her father was to kill Superman? Kryptonite poisoning. She bled shards of spiky material? Kryptonite poisoning. She was moody, prone to punch first and ask questions later? Kryptonite poisoning. It’s not a bad explanation, all things considered, and certainly no more or less believable than anything else in the DC Universe. The redemption and house cleaning of Supergirl as a character is definitely a nice side effect of “New Krypton.”

That said, now that she knows her real past, Supergirl is torn – should she stay (in Kandor) or should she go (back to Metropolis)? While she decides, in the literally closing panels of the issue, a “Superwoman” is seen putting on a costume and flying up, up and away from Kandor.

So – taken together, what do we have with “New Krypton” now that we’ve reached the halfway point? Our ideas:

1) A start. As DCU Executive Editor Dan DiDio has said, the ramifications of “New Krypton” will be felt in the Superman titles through the end of 2010. On the one hand, that’s a good thing – we’re halfway through the storyline, and nowhere near any kind of conclusion. As far as the Kandorians are concerned, earth is their home now. On the other hand, two years of stories that play with these elements? What we’ve seen so far is foundation-building – Kandorians are here, some people like them, some don’t. Let’s get things rolling forward again.

2) Superman Pushed to the Side. It goes hand in hand with number one – a foundation was needed, and it’s hopefully built. Now, can we see Superman again? You know, the Superman we know as the leader and the hero? Understandably, with a chunk of his homeworld and culture showing up on earth, he’s taken something of a back seat, but the cracks are starting to show. It’s time for Superman to step up and, if necessary, stand between earth and Kandor – although, with the revelation of Superman leaving earth for space, we have the feeling that he may be leaving due to guilt, which was what drove him away from earth last time (1989’s Superman: Exile storyline). Please no more crying Superman, please no more crying Superman, please no more crying Superman.

3) Kryptonian Revision. The Kandorians recognize Doomsday. The tweaking of Argo City’s history and Brainiac’s involvement. The Kryptonians in Alex Ross’ cover triptych that encompass the John Byrne view of Krypton as well as the Silver Age-everyone wears costumes view of Krypton. Ever so subtly, we’re seeing a change, a broadening of Krypton and what it was like. We can only hope that this new, or rather, revised version of Krypton will be similar to what Johns has done with Green Lantern and what Supergirl write Sterling Gates did with Supergirl this week – if you have confusing or potentially contradictory pieces of continuity, find a way to make them all work, and don’t throw out anything.

That’s what we’ve got. What are your observations of “New Krypton” so far?

Check back on Monday for a Spoiler Sport with Sterling Gates about Supergirl #35, and a preview of Superman #682

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