Greg Rucka and James Robinson work together with Pete Woods to produce Superman: World of New Krypton, the only book in the Superman line actually featuring Superman himself. Generally speaking, for whatever reason, it is also the strongest of the Superman titles available. World of New Krypton #4 remains true to the quality of the stories, but it is also the first real disappointment of the bunch.
The Green Lanterns are coming, and in true comic book fashion, the cover is completely misleading. No, sadly, this issue does not feature Superman beating the tar out of Hal Jordan – in fact, the Kryptonians, even Zod, go out of their way to be polite to the Hal, John, and Sodam Yat. Minor intergalactic political squabbles ensue, but the promising plot thread gives all appearances of being quickly dropped as Rucka and Robinson just ran out of pages to do what they seemed to want to do.
I enjoy the more nuanced take that Robinson and Rucka are taking with Zod in this series, in which he tends not to come across as a complete sociopath. A man from another society, yes, and a military man at that, but Zod is not a cackling sociopath like Ursa over in Action Comics. However, Superman’s allegiance to New Krypton changes things for him, and in a nice bit of subtle storytelling, Superman forgets that Hal is here as a cop, not as a friend – the resulting slip-up puts him and Lieutenant Nar squarely in Zod’s pocket.
Woods continues to perform adequately, capturing everything about the alien civilization of supermen with ease, if little style. Nonetheless, not every artist has to try to reinvent the wheel in any given issue of comics, and Woods’ style may be simple, but he has perfected it.
The book remains enjoyable, but is, four issues in, relatively formulaic – especially the Superman/Zod conflict. We know that Zod does not have good intentions – this takes some of the drama out right away, of course, by removing the opportunity that he’s literally just doing what’s best for his people against the more conflicted Kal. Despite the nature of the book so far, however, it also slipped in more information about Kryptonian civilization, both now and before their planet was destroyed. While the bits that Rucka and Robinson generally drop rarely seem plot-important, they are always appreciated examinations of this still-alien culture. Good, as always, but not great.
– Cal Cleary