Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #3

Do you remember when a cover saying, “#3 of 3” meant it was the end of a story? Yeah, those were the good old days. Now we get one mini-series event leading directly into the next one; case in point, “Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton” moves directly into this weekend’s “Superman: War of the Supermen” #0, which will stretch through all of May. So for those expecting that a last stand for New Krypton would result in some sort of resolution for Lord Zod, Alura Zor-El, or the rest of the Kryptonians running around the solar system? No such luck.

Bizarrely, it’s all of the not-New Krypton stories which actually do get resolved this issue, at least for now. We finally see why Lex Luthor teamed up with Brainiac and how he was able to escape General Lane’s custody. Likewise, Brainiac being at large is brought to its conclusion. We get the end of Mon-El and Superman’s team-up, although that story still has a final segment to come in “Adventure Comics” #11 next month. The Legion of Super-Heroes espionage squad story also leaves the main Superman titles at this point. (Although has anyone else noticed that since Geoff Johns left the various titles, the remaining writers seem to have forgotten about Tyroc and Dream Girl still being at large?) So we’re getting some conclusions here and there, but I’m starting to think a better title for this mini-series (and its tie-ins) might have been “The Last Stand of Brainiac.”

As for the issue itself, it’s a lot of attention grabbers that don’t actually add up to much. No less than three characters get into a situation where they look mortally wounded, only to then rally a few pages later and be back to normal. It’s a series of “gotcha!” moments that don’t add up to much at all. I’d have rather seen some more characterization, perhaps some scenes set within New Krypton (wasn’t it supposed to be their last stand?) instead of technological gobbledygook with concentrated yellow sun rays. It’s dull.

On the bright side, Pete Woods’ art is fantastic as always, and I’m delighted that he’ll be drawing Paul Cornell’s run on “Action Comics” starting in June. He’s able to take a twelve panel grid for the opening page and make it work, with all of the different spotlights on character reactions looking intriguing. Likewise, the plunging of Brainiac’s ship into New Krypton is exciting, full of energy. Woods is a strong artist who’s just gotten better over the years, and his time on the Super-books is no exception to that. Knowing that he’ll be moving on to a book that is at least temporarily shifting spotlight onto Lex Luthor sounds like a perfect match for his talents; he’s able to draw such a wonderful scheming and devious Luthor that I can’t imagine anyone else being tapped for the title.

If “Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton” had been labeled as #3 of 8, this might not have been a letdown. As a conclusion to a month-long mini-series and crossover, though, it doesn’t deliver quite what it promises. Woods brings his top game to the story, but it’s not a terribly thrilling end to the mini-series overall.

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