Swaddled under the Alex Ross cover of the week featuring Nightwing, Flamebird and Krypto (or is it Flamebird, Nightwing and Krypto? At any rate, Flamebird and Nightwing make their new debut in this issue) this dense chapter of the adventures of 100,000 Kryptonians makes for a perfect hopping on spot for readers joining the show already in progress.
Without wasting time (or panels) for recaps, Johns and Woods manage to revisit everything that has brought the reader to this point in the “New Krypton” saga. That may account for some of the density in this book, but Woods’ art also adds to that density.
Woods does a masterful job in spots, but is inconsistent throughout the entire issue. Inconsistent may be a harsh word to use when describing Woods’ effort here, but in trying to deliver a deep level of detail, Woods sometimes makes detail happen instead of using detail to describe. In some spots it works, giving the tale a gritty, rushed quality. Woods’ feel for the particulars does make this book soar in spots too, though. He is tasked with making a couple dozen never-before-seen Kryptonians distinguishable and he does so quite well. I’d just like to see an inker help Woods out a bit so he doesn’t have to rush his brilliant drawings.
Johns does a good job of telling a multitude of tales in a single issue, from Lex’s current assignment (clued in by the alternate Stephane Roux cover) to Zod’s loyalists and back to Doomsday’s attack on the historic meeting between the President and the Kryptonians.
This tale is the work of the whole team, however, as Anderson and Leigh help the readers to distinguish between the various Kryptonians by plying their creative talents of color and letter.
“New Krypton” seeks to deepen the Superman mythos while providing new answers to old questions and addressing continuities cops’ concerns, and through the fourth chapter the tale has done a nice job. With a month of issues behind it and another couple months of Superman related adventures remaining, this storyline appears to be one that will be pointed back to for inspiration from a new generation of Superfan and Supercreator. As mentioned before, don’t let the numbering fool you, you’ll be able to jump in with this issue and still enjoy the rest of the flight.