Overall, I will cheerfully admit that the “New Krypton” storyline has (so far) been a success. Geoff Johns, James Robinson, and Sterling Gates have really crafted an entertaining story, and each new issue has been enjoyable. But that said? As we hit part 7 of 10, I can’t help but feel like we’re hitting a point where we need less characters on deck, not more, and apparently Johns and I are in disagreement on that point.
I can understand a potential theory behind the reasoning to have the Creature Commandos introduced in this issue; with middle-of-the-story installments often falling short or feeling like padding in story arcs of this length, perhaps Johns wanted to make sure that there was a real definitive moment early in “Action Comics” #872. The thing is, I don’t think Johns needed to do that. There’s already so much going on here that the addition of these characters actually makes the end result feel a bit muddled. With Superman, Supergirl, Zor, Alura, Lex Luthor, the Guardian, Agent Liberty, Flamebird, Nightwing, Brainiac, General Lane, and a hundred thousand Kryptonians all running around, it’s actually getting a little hard to keep track of everything that’s happening right now. Heck, some characters and their stories (like Ma Kent, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen) have fallen off the map entirely. There really is such a thing as too much.
Also, as much as I normally like Pete Woods’ art, it feels a little off here. The characters are still drawn in that clean style that Woods handles so well, but a lot of the pages feel little cluttered, an adjective I’m not used to connecting with Woods. Woods is definitely much better when there is more room for him to really stretch his art across the page, and the number of panels with large numbers of characters and events all crammed in definitely doesn’t play to his strengths.
Still, things are definitely rolling ahead towards the big conclusion. Big turning points are hit here, and it’s hard to not get a little excited about what’s next in “New Krypton.” There are numerous ways that I can see this story going, and I appreciate the fact that Johns and company have kept me from pointing at one and saying, “Yes, this is how it will all end.” In many ways, “New Krypton” is to the Superman group of books what “Sinestro Corps War” was to Green Lantern’s two comics; a creative kick in the pants that brings out the best in all comics involved. “Action Comics” #872 is easily the weakest installment of this story to date, but when your weakest is still a good (if not great) comic, that’s a good sign indeed.