In another ‘before New 52’ story, we’re treated not to the actual origins of Kal-El (aka Superman) but rather to the life of Jor-El, Kal’s father, as he struggles to save Krypton from an impending disaster.
It’s a story that’s been told in countless incarnations over and over again. Jor-El, a preeminent scientist on Krypton, discovers that his planet is doomed. Yet, when Jor-El tries to tell the Science Council and warn the world of the coming destruction, no one will listen. This new retelling of that tale fleshes out the Science Council’s reasons even more so with a doomsday conspiracy plot that is sure to have repercussions on the modern adventures of Superman here on Earth. There are even a few subtle references to a few classic Superman villains that caught my eye.
As the story opens, Jor-El is beneath the surface of Krypton taking readings on the damage that’s already done to the planet. He discovers that there is no way known to science to save the planet. Yet, as he returns to the surface, his findings are lost and Jor-El has to get permission from the Science Council to go back beneath the surface. Luckily, he has a man on the inside named Kra-Hu who is willing to try and get the requested permissions.
Before Jor-El can get word back about a return beneath Krypton’s surface, the facility where Kra-Hu works has an “accident” and Jor knows that something is afoot. The plot thickens when Jor-El returns home to warn his pregnant wife Lara about the suspected scheme only to find Lara held hostage by a Kryptonian doomsday cult.
Before all is said and done, Jor-El and Lara are fleshed out a bit and the destruction of Krypton is given an ominous new take. I like reading about Superman’s Kryptonian heritage and I hope we get more of this in the main series. The only reason this doesn’t get a higher score is that, even with the plot twists and new information, this is a story that Superman readers have seen too many times for it to be given an entire issue. Writer Scott Lobdell did a wonderful job with the material but, in the end, it still feels a bit like putting new tires on an old car.
Written by Scott Lobdell
Art and Cover by Kenneth Rocafort