WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Man of Steel #1 by Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, on sale now.
When John Byrne rebooted Superman's origin story in 1986's Man of Steel, his vision transformed the world of Krypton from a utopia of scientific advancement into a cold and impersonal planet where science had supplanted humanity. DC's New 52 relaunch largely restored the Silver and Golden Age version of Superman's home planet, and this has been retained into the Rebirth era. But this week's Man of Steel #1 by Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Jason Fabok, and Alex Sinclair, introduces a new wrinkle into Krypton's legacy: yes, it was an idyllic society of advanced scientific achievement, but that society was built on the backs of less advanced worlds.
And that, argues Rogol Zaar, is why Krypton must die.
First seen in Action Comics #1000, which marked Bendis' debut at DC, Rogol Zaar is a powerful alien being who claims to be directly responsible for Krypton's destruction. In the opening pages of Man of Steel #1, he makes his case to the godlike beings of the Quintessence. "The Kryptonians have based their entire planetary commerce around the kinds of science that demand supply they can only get by descending on weaker planets," Zaar says, noting that they have already begun pillaging other worlds for resources.
So according to this new scenario, it wasn't ignoring the warnings about catastrophic climate change that doomed Krypton, but rather neoliberal imperialism. That's… a lot to take in.
It also makes a lot of sense.