James Robinson and Greg Rucka, the writers of Superman and Action Comics respectively, team up each month on a third Superman title – World of New Krypton. As I’m sure you know by now, WoNK is the only of the Superman titles actually starring Superman at this time, but as luck would have it, it’s also the most consistently impressive of them.
New Krypton is a place desperately in search of an identity. They still cling, as we see, to the way they’ve always done things – a way that Superman feels is in need of a change. We begin to see why in this issue as we learn about some of the societal ramifications of a planet full of Superfolks. The Labor Guild of Krypton, almost a slave class, ended last issue by taking Alura and a number of other important Kryptonians hostage, leaving the cold-blooded General Zod in charge of the situation. Clark manages to talk him down from the expected blood-bath, though, depowers himself and offers himself up as a hostage.
Clark without powers, however, is still smart, confident and attentive – skills he needs as he negotiates the freedom of Alura and the rest and does his best to institute change in the system. The drama that drives the issue – that of a society on the brink of revolution – is relatively compelling, despite being vastly oversimplified, and offers far more to keep us coming back each month than a simple Superman vs. General Zod plot might… even if, at many times, the plot places Superman and Zod against each other.
Wood’s work is competent, if unspectacular, managing to capture the diverse types of dress common in Kryptonian culture. Actually, given how rarely many books seek to venture into such completely unknown territory, it is rather spectacular is only to note how natural the background and costumes are throughout the book. Wood handles both the action and the dramatic scenes with a deft hand, and appears to work quite well with Rucka and Robinson.
The book takes what could very easily have been a placeholder mini and has begun to use it to really flesh out the Kryptonians – culture, dress, attitudes. The book is far from perfect and never quite achieves the heights it could, but it is nonetheless a consistently entertaining read and a worthy place for the Man of Steel to spend a year.