World of Krypton #1 is the start of a new series by DC Comics. The writer is Robert Vebduttu and the artist is Michael Avon Oeming. The colour artist Nick Filardi and the letterer is Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou.
Set sometime before the fall of Krypton, this series shows the planet at the peak of its powers. Full of proud and perhaps pompous people, two families are brought together for a celebration. The El’s and the Zods are commemorating the birth of young Kara. But a scientist returns from an exhibition, detailing signs of trouble. And some treachery may already be starting to fester.
As a prequel series, the approach that Venditti takes is clever. This period of Krypton is has been explored in detail, but the writer starts the plot somewhere slightly new. The birth of Kal-El is often a significant aspect of the planet’s demise. World of Krypton #1 begins with Kara. Not only does this provide more time to tell the story, but it is a very different situation. It introduces political intrigue into the narrative with the Zod’s and the El’s in the same room. Many of the plot points are slightly predictable, with action and the seeds of discontent. But there is a twist that was not foreseen and definitely changes how the late days of Kryptonian life unfolded.
Several of the characters are individuals Superman fans will know well and enjoy. Jor-El is a key figure in the comic, and his personality is powerful. The most glaring attribute is kindness and respect. When a woman comes to him with a problem, he takes the time to listen and acknowledge that it must be addressed. Even if it is just the foundation of a problem, it highlights his scientific nature. On the other side of this function is Zod. His stoicism is again evident from the start, but he appears helpful. When trouble starts he tries to protect those in the room and is treated as a nobleman. However, the dialogue that comes from these two can feel similar to what has been read in previous stories. It is filled with cliches and regal jargon. This may be why newer characters or lesser-known pieces of the puzzle will be needed to spice up the series moving forwards.
The art has many instances where it shines. Oeming is a superb designer in regards to worlds and sci-fi/fantasy creatures. Krypton looks resplendent as a place, beautiful in a similar way to Asgard or a Mass Effect city. But it is some of the renderings of the characters where the art falters. The heads of the characters are a little too square and misshapen, with the faces left looking unpleasant. From certain angles, they can look great and strong. The costumes the characters wear are fantastic. But the panels of baby Kara look strange and the design is unnerving.
The colours are another part of the comic that excels. Filardi matches the grandeur of the location with bright gold shades in the palace. The background of the panels often has funky patterns that are entertaining to look at and prevent the scenes from getting dull.
The lettering fits the cartoonish nature of Oeming’s art. The word balloons have a rectangular shape instead of a more rounded, standard look. With the design of the characters, this change in the style is better suited for the book.
World of Krypton #1 has moments of quality but fails to be new. Returning to Krypton is always interesting, but there is a temptation to return to the same points in times. From this opening chapter, it appears that Venditti’s deviations from what is expected may largely arrive past this issue. Familiarity is important but can also lead to boredom. The dialogue lacks a really distinct spark to garner excitement, and small adjustments to the art would add some visual dynamism to the series. There is enough in the story to invite Superman fans, but they may have to wait until the next issue for something fresh.
World of Krypton #1 is available wherever comics are sold.
World of Krypton #1
World of Krypton #1 has moments of quality but fails to be new
Screenwriter with a love of comics and movies. Once referred to Wuthering Heights as “the one with the Rabbits.”