Comics / Comic Reviews / DC Comics

New Krypton: Yahweh in Boxer Shorts

By Beth Davies-Stofka
November 21, 2008 - 13:32

Action Comics 871 is a great little book, brimming with ideas.  What would it be like if 100,000 super-powered Kryptonians appeared in Metropolis?  What if those Kryptonians came with their own political baggage, the same kind that weighs down humans?  Who has the best interests of a people at heart, military or civilian leaders?  Does the good of the many outweigh the good of the few?

How should humans, who don't happen to have superpowers, react?  What is the best way to handle threats and conflict, with diplomacy or force?  What keeps us safest, rapid-response strategies like punishment or revenge, or long-term ones like research and understanding?  How can a society best defend itself against racial supremacists and their violence?

What does it mean to be strong?

Will Superman find his loyalties divided between his fellow Kryptonians and his beloved earthlings?  And if Superman isn't special anymore, then what will become of him?

And hey, a couple of really intriguing characters show up!  Who is behind those masks?  What destiny awaits them?  Can we hear more flirting, please?  The best dialogue belongs to these two surprise characters.    

Action Comics 871 was the first installment I read in the New Krypton story, and I'm hooked.  The manager of my local comic book store kindly assembled a complete package of all the ones I'd missed, and put New Krypton on my pull list.  I'm in it for the long haul.

It was the story that grabbed me, with all of its potential.  I wish I could say the same for the art.  The art is deeply flawed, and I've noticed that the problems in New Krypton are the rule in superhero comics, not the exception.  In short, the scope of the action is massive, and the tiny panels can't begin to accommodate it.  

Johns and Woods use 11 pages to show the fight between Doomsday and the Kryptonians.  With the exception of the 2-page splash that launches the battle, the pages average about 4 panels per page.  And every single one of those panels has so much action and so many characters, and wants to deliver so many thrills, that each and every panel would be better as a splash page.  The 2-page splash of Doomsday is just as badly conceived, since it needs to be a mural to accommodate the size of its cast and its threat.

I really do like seeing Doomsday look like Yahweh in boxer shorts, though.

I know this panel problem isn't inevitable, because I started to read the Jimmy Olsen one-shot, A Mystery….To Die For last night.  Panel composition in this one is excellent.  Perhaps it's because James Robinson and company have figured out how to keep the cast smaller.  The action is more intense too, because it fits on the page.

Still, based on what I've seen lately, shrinking thrilling action into incomprehensibly small miniatures is a bit of a trend right now, so I'll probably have to live with it.

Meanwhile, concerning New Krypton, loyalties will be strained, rigid ideologies will sow anger and mistrust, and if Johns can hold it together, goodness will prevail, if only for a moment.  Would I be a fool to believe Doomsday is really dead?

Rating: 8 /10

Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00

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