By Andy Frisk
February 27, 2009 - 10:05
As we begin issue 685 of Superman, Mon El, just freed from the disappearing Phantom Zone, is on the verge of death from the lead in Earth’s atmosphere that all Daxamites are susceptible to. After Superman locates a mysteriously placed vial with the Legion logo on it and a tag stating: “Mon El. Drink Me” and administers it to him, Mon El miraculously and quickly recovers. Flash forward and we get Clark Kent visiting his father’s grave and sharing a few touching moments with his Ma, after which he makes the decision to leave Earth for New Krypton for an extended stay to “help my people…protect them…help New Krypton reconnect with Earth (and) find out what Zod’s plans are.” A final, hopefully just for now, embrace and kiss with Lois, and Clark Kent, aka Superman, is off for New Krypton. He doesn’t totally abandon Metropolis though, he asks Mon El to “take over for me…” Mon El moves to Metropolis, passing as Clark Kent’s cousin named, with Ma Kent’s blessing, Jonathan Kent. Hence exit Clark Kent/Superman and enter Jonathan Kent/Mon El.
|Alex Ross never fails to deliver a beautiful cover.|
While the curing of Mon El, the setting up of him, by Oracle, with a secret identity as Clark’s cousin from England and a new name make for a great new supporting character for Superman, can Mon El carry this title for the next year or so as the featured hero? Its seems to me that readers want to pick up a book called Superman to read about, well, Superman. While we will have no shortage of Superman and his adventures in Superman: World of New Krypton starting next week, one can’t help but wonder how much of a draw a supporting character, albeit a similarly super powered one, who hasn’t even really been seen much over the past few years, or for that matter decade, will be for this title. It can be argued that Mon El’s time in the spotlight will be a productive one setting him up for a potential series of his own if he proves to be a strong enough draw, but only time will tell. Hopefully, with his new secret identity he’ll conjure up a superhero name as well instead of just going by his Kryptonian, by way of Daxam, name. There’s another name just lying around that no one is using just now…Superboy.
All of this action seems a little rushed: Clark getting ready to get off planet for a while, Mon El getting cured and taking his place in Metropolis, a hurried visit to Pa Kent’s grave (way too quick and not at all what Alex Ross’ beautiful cover suggests-that Clark actually spends time mourning his Earth Father’s passing). Apparently though, the plot has to hurry along as World of New Krypton starts next week. It would have been nice to see Clark deal with Pa’s passing a little more in depth, but duty calls.
The artwork continues to be superb as Javier Pina’s pencils give us a strong and determined looking Superman. The panel layouts are smoothly drafted as well. Particularly on page 23 when Superman is meeting with Mon El, Steel, Jimmy Olsen, and The Guardian, he has his back turned to us, the reader, as if he’s turning his back on not only Earth but his readers for a time…can anyone say meta-fiction? We’ll have to look for him elsewhere for a while.
Overall, Superman looks to be a series worth continuing to pick up monthly as Mon El’s adjustment to Earth, his new secret identity, and his exploits as Metropolis’ resident superhero guardian will prove interesting. To add to Lois’ comment at the end of the tale proper in regards to Clark/Superman…”just come back to me,” let’s hope “soon” as well.
Rating: 8.5 /10