Saturday, 3 October 2009

The World of Krypton #2

After The Fall

Writer: John Byrne
Breakdowns: Mike Mignola
Finishes: Rick Bryant
Colours: Petra Scotese
Letters: John Workman
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover Artist: John Byrne, Walt Simonson
Cover Date: January 1988
Release Date: 15/09/1987

Many years later…

Krypton is now a deserted wasteland. A battlesuit lumbers across the desolation, heading towards the city seen in the first issue. Inside, a foetal Kryptonian remembers the past…

A time-delayed suicide message from Kan-Z is broadcast to Krypton, revealing Nyra’s actions regarding her clone. The violence from Kandor spreads across the planet, as young Kryptonians, following the historical protests of anti-cloning campaigner Sem-L, press harder for clone right. Returning to their family, Van-L and Ran-L learn of the destruction of Kandor, the result of a nuclear explosion set off in the heart of the city by a terrorist group called Black Zero. Vara and Van-L argue over the cloning issue. Vara reveals her distress at having her life saved with cloned parts, and leaves Van-L.

At a later point in the conflict, Van-L leads a squadron of Kryptonian soldiers against Black Zero rebels. During the fight, he discovers that one of the terrorists is Vara. They tussle, and Vara escapes into a building which explodes.

Back in the present, the battlesuit arrives at its destination, and ejects its passenger, Van-L. Having been encased and protected by the suit for over a century, Van-L is unable to walk unaided, and is unable to talk to the soldiers who approach him. Van-L is taken into the compound where, after a time, he is able to introduce himself as President of the World Council, and brings warning that Black Zero has reformed, and has the power to destroy Krypton.

At the time of release, the timeframe of the first two issues relative to the ongoing Superman series and the destruction of Krypton was not revealed until issues three and four. This creates a good deal of ambiguity around the issue’s cliffhanger. Although the Krypton seen in issue 1 is clearly not the Krypton of Jor-El, there is little to suggest in issue 2 that Jor-El is not concurrently discovering the fate of Krypton and making plans to save his unborn son.

Vara’s change of opinion rings both true and untrue. The body-horror aspect works well, as Vara wishes to remove her cloned implants. However, the tight time-frame of the flashbacks, where we are led to believe that Kandor is destroyed within hours of Kan-Z’s broadcast, marks a sudden change of mind for Vara, having been patched up with her implants less than a day previously with no misgiving. Indeed, her main cause of conflict while recovering in issue one is around the fuss being made for her coming of age ceremony.

Each issue of World of Krypton opens with the same shot of a tower, altered by time or location. It’s a lovely way of linking each issue together, despite the large gaps of time and space between them.

The next part of this issue occurs closer to modern Earth times, happening in Jor-El’s early life. It is revealed that the conflicts seen so far happen many millennia in Krypton’s past. As a result, in trying to keep things as chronological as possible, the next entry in this blog will examine a chapter of Superman’s history grounded in Earth history.

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