World of Krypton is a miniseries published this year and written by rising star Robert Venditti. I’m not sure how this book was received by fans since I didn’t hear much about it, and if there was a lack of enthusiasm I can only guess it’s because the ground it covers has been well tread. The story of how Krypton was destroyed was covered lightly all the way back in the Golden Age, and fleshed out by many writers throughout the Silver Age. Along the way, more interpretations emerged, from Richard Donner to John Byrne to Bruce Timm and on down the line.
My only guess as to why DC Comics would publish another such tale- the third miniseries with this title, as far as I know- is because one of the two main creators of the book wanted a chance to do their version. Ultimately, how did their version fare, and what did this Superfan think?
Overall, I really liked it!
This miniseries essentially builds up to its crescendo during Krypton’s final year of life, and features the main characters of Superman’s life and background that many of us are familiar with- Lara and Jor-El, Kara Zor-El and her parents, and General Zod. There are others as well, but the story revolves around these six, and does so beautifully. In addition to introducing these characters to the reader, and how they react to their planet’s impending doom, it also follows their interrelationships, as well as Zod’s military conquests and war crimes. To my knowledge, no other story has attempted to do all of the above at once, and successfully!
The book reads well and has plenty of time to tell its story without feeling too compressed or constrained. Five issues is the perfect amount to give every character and plot line its chance to breathe, and Venditti’s writing gives it all a really nice flow. As far as a more or less comprehensive story of Krypton and how it affected Superman- his family, his enemy, and his journey- no other book that I’ve read has come close.
The other piece that is seemingly obvious is the use of General Zod himself. Aside from many, many stories outside the comics, Zod had not been utilized all that much in Superman origin stories, and only recently in comics in… general (see what I did there?)! How exactly he interacted with Superman’s father and how they went from friends to enemies was absolutely great in this. Both men had the same love for their world and strong feelings on how to save it, but vastly differing methods on how to achieve this, not unlike Professor X and Magneto. The discovery of the Phantom Zone, Zod’s military coup, and the planet’s imminent destruction all play together nicely. All in all, I’d say that this is a good starting point for anyone interested in reading about Superman’s most personal foe.
There are many other highlights to this story that Venditti and Oeming do very well that I appreciated. There was great action as well as character moments, the dialogue was good and a decent balance of serious and light hearted without ever being goofy or self-important, the supporting cast is great, and on and on. There was definitely a lot to like here.
As far as minuses, nothing really bothered me much but I should point out there are a few things that might bother some. First and foremost is Oeming’s art. I was familiar with his style- a combination of Kirby and Bruce Timm, very exaggerated and bombastic- from other work of his I’d read, such as Powers and Mice Templar. He tells a story well and is clearly a professional, but I’m not sure if his style isn’t too jarring to some, certainly the longtime Superman reader or the casual fan.
Second, I don’t know if there is a consensus among Superman fans of the “definitive” end of Krypton story, against which all others will be measured, but this was very different than what has come before for all the reasons I mentioned. I absolutely LOVED John Byrne’s retelling of Krypton’s distant past in 1987’s World of Krypton (I haven’t read the 1979 version, truthfully, to see how that compares as well), as well as how the story has been told in other media. Venditti’s is very different from all the others in the way he tries to be more comprehensive, which I didn’t mind one bit, but we comics fans are a fickle bunch and I don’t know if certain details or motifs were left out that some were looking for.
I found this to be a great book overall, and just the latest in a string of solid Superman work by Robert Venditti. This story ends with a potentially big enough window before Krypton’s end that you could do another story, and I would be all in for a sequel! Here’s hoping Venditti is given more Superman projects to do in the near future as he pursues creator owned, crowdfunded projects.
In my opinion, good Superman books have been slim pickings of late, and while I haven’t finished Philip Kennedy Johnson’s Warworld saga yet, for me this was my favorite Superman book of 2022. I think most fans would like this book, which is why I give my enthusiastic support! Enjoy!
Capeage Meter: 8.5 out of 10