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Superman: New Krypton, Volume 4

Superman: New Krypton, Vol. 4 - James Robinson, Greg Rucka, Pete Woods, Ron Randall Drivel. Absolute, inane drivel. Seriously, how could you go so wrong. The idea was pretty solid for this story and it brought up an interesting question that Clark has never dealt with before: What do you do when Superman isn't the only one who's super any more? What happens to the identity and image of the Man of Steel when there are a 100,000 who can do just what he does? How does he deal with that? How does Earth deal with it? All of these questions are side-stepped and left dangling. Instead, we get panel after panel of weak political subterfuge and melodramatic crises that the residents of New Krypton have to deal with like a roller coaster. Every other page, war is just about to break out between Krypton and _______ (Earth, Saturn, Hawk people, beetles, space dust...) only to be averted by "Kal." And that bugs me too. I hate it when he goes by Kal. Really do. It's almost an insult seeing as how Jonathan Kent died at the outskirt of this episode. At a time when Clark should most closely be identifying with his adopted home world and it's people, Robinson and Johns have him abandoning Earth to accept a position in the Kryptonian military. I can't think of something Superman would be less likely to do. It's like they get the character all wrong. His reaction to the caste-system, the militaristic nationalism, the arrogance and hubris is one of benign neglect, like a parent who dismisses their child's destructive behavior by saying, "Well, what do you want me to do, he's my son and it's just a phase." There is no way that CLARK would be part of such a system. Robinson sweeps this under the rug with a couple of lines about how he just has to put up with it, even if he doesn't like it because the only way to change a system is from within. Nonsense.

The sense of pacing is awful as well. Right in the middle of a resolution-like conversation where Clark and Zod are attempting to understand each other - gasp, bright flash of light, Braniac is back! This series jumps from one crisis to the next with no time to digest the meanings or implications on a personal level to any of the characters. It introduces no new likable characters. It has long stretches of subplot that are meaningless to the whole and are just plain dull and has fallen into the general DC habit of killing off relatively minor characters that no one remembers from 1968 and acting like that's the most dramatic thing in the world. For all intents and purposes, those characters were dead anyway. Think this series officially seals my opinion of continuity Superman stories. All of them, with the exception of the Death of Superman, are terrible. The non-continuity stuff: Secret Identity, For Tomorrow, All-Star Superman, Superman for all Seasons tend to do the best jobs exploring the emotional depth and inner struggles Clark faces. The rest is eye candy and macho tom-foolery. It's a disgrace to the legend of Superman and unworthy of his character.