It’s weird to say but the last time I enjoyed the Superman books this much, Superman was dead. Of them all, I’d have to say that Wolrd’s of New Krypton is my favorite. This issue in particular was a stand-out for me.
*Spoiler warnings on*
The first half of the issue is Kal-el’s trial for disobeying General Zod’s orders last issue. Visually, the trial pays tribute to the trial scene at the beginning of Superman: the Movie. Only this time Zod was in the Jor-el role rather than being the one on trial. Frankly, the pages could have been text-free and I would have been in fan-boy nirvana. Superman: the Movie is my own personal superhero crack.
The trial is somewhat surprising. Kal-el has every opportunity to save himself. But he refuses to lie. The court adjourns for the evening and it’s very obvious to everyone that Kal-el has signed his death warrant by telling the truth.
Superman’s friend, Tyr-van, offers him an out. He gives Kal-el a device that will allow him to escape back to earth. But being Superman, Kal-el does not use the device. In truth, the device was given to him by General Zod who seems impressed by Kal-el’s convictions.
The next day in court, Kal-el is found guilty of treason. Since the Phantom Zone is no longer an option, he is sentenced to death. But then something truly surprising happens. General Zod invokes a Kryptonian tradition to have Kal-el spared! Afterwards, he explains that he has come to realize that the Kryptonian army is stronger with Kal-el in it.
But that surprise is nothing. The issue ends with a cliff-hanger that obviously sets-up the multi-part Codename: Patriot storyline. New Krypton is celebrating the removal of the dome that has sealed their city since its creation. But in the midst of the celebration, an assassination takes place. I won’t spoil the identity of the victim here. It’s just too good.
The collaboration of Robinson and Rucka is a successful one. This book delivers more consistently than either of their individual books (although Robinson’s Superman is also a very good read.) And Pete Woods does a bang-up job of presenting the fascinating alien world of New Krypton. I always look forward to this book and it never disappoints me.