Superman: World of New Krypton #1
By Andy Frisk
March 4, 2009 - 22:48
Writer(s): James Robinson and Greg Rucka
Penciller(s): Pete Woods
Colourist(s): Brad Anderson
Letterer(s): Steve Wands
Cover Artist(s): Gary Frank with Brad Anderson
I will admit I’ve been skeptical about this series, and about Superman being absent form his books, Action Comics and Superman, to concentrate his time in this series and on New Krypton, but issue #1 has gone far to dispel said skepticism.
Superman arrives on New Krypton, “makes up” with his Aunt Alura, gets assigned a page, explains the meaning of the Guilds, and knocks out one of Non’s teeth. It is the subject of the Guilds that is the strength of the story, and will prove to be a major plot advancer. Kryptonian class structure is divided into Guilds. Each Guild has a certain style of dress code. Spartan grey uniforms for the Military Guild, simple beige and aqua for the Labor Guild, etc. It appears the Science Guild dresses like John Byrne’s Kryptonians of Man of Steel, his ‘80’s mini series retelling of Superman's origin after “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” These differing costumes and styles of dress seem culled from the various representations of Krypton, and its inhabitants, from over the decades. Robinson and Rucka ingenuously have melded these styles together to create a varying yet familiar feel to the Kryptonians.
Immediately after Superman is assigned a page and teaches him how to fly, he engages him in a conversation about the validity of the Guild System. His page’s name is Tyr-Van, and he is a member of the Labor Guild. Superman tells Tyr, while the two fly around Kandor, New Krypton’s only city, on a type of "get to know the city" tour, “…I confess I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable about your guild and how it fits into Kryptonian society as a whole…your whole existence is based around serving the other guilds. And on old Krypton when there was a council, you weren’t allowed even one member on it.” Tyr replies, “But its been our way for all time.” To which Superman states, “Yes. All I know is on Earth, America fought a war to end something similar.” Tyr though, a fully indoctrinated member of Kryptonian society replies, “No, its no so bad. In fact, my life is pretty g(ood)…” Superman sees that the Labor Guild are little more than glorified slaves, and says so. Members like Tyr appear to have been raised to find happiness in this slavery. Superman must pick a Guild for himself, and when he refuses to pick one because of his moral objections to the whole Guild system, Alura assigns him to one, and it’s a shocking one that is sure to be a source of conflict in the year to come.
Superman’s goal of helping his fellow Kryptonians grow morally, while keeping an eye on Zod gets off to a great start with his attempt to plant the seeds of righteous dissent in Tyr. While New Krypton may be super-scientifically advanced over Earth, it appears that with all its flaws, Earth, especially one country, America, is morally light years ahead of New Krypton. Again, we see the distinction between Superman, and his Kryptonian brothers and sisters. Superman isn’t the only survivor of Krypton anymore, but he is the most unique and distinguishable. Truly, here we are seeing a Superman who holds truth and justice, and dare we say it, the best aspects of the American way at heart, and is willing to live up to them even in the face of potentially hostile members of his race and family.
Overall, and I apologize for not going into detail about the art which is completely superb, World of New Krypton, if evidenced by the first issue, is going to be an instantly classic Superman tale.
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