Return to Krypton II: "Rising Son" / "Culture Shock" / "Blood and Heresy" / "Dream's End"
The Adventures of Superman vol. 1 #606 (Sept. 2002)
Superman: Return to Krypton (2004), reprinting Action Comics vol. 1 #793, Superman vol. 2 #184, Superman: The Man of Steel #128 (Sept. 2002)
Writers: Geoff Johns, Joe Casey, Mark Schultz, and Joe Kelly
Pencils: Pascual Ferry, Duncan Rouleau, and Karl Kerschl
Inks: Cam Smith, Marlo Alquiza, and Karl Kerschl
Colors: Tanya & Rich Horie, Rob Ro & Alex Bleyaert, and Moose Baumann
Letters: Ken Lopez
Assistant Editor: Tom Palmer jr.
Editor: Eddie Berganza
I had mixed feelings about the original Return to Krypton; my feelings about its sequel are more straightforwardly negative. It seems to me that both of these storylines threw away a potentially emotionally powerful premise in favor of a combination of empty action sequences and unnecessarily complicated continuity "fixes."
|from The Adventures of Superman vol. 1 #606|
(script by Joe Casey, art by Duncan Rouleau & Marlo Alquiza)
Then in the end, we finally get an explanation for this Krypton. I thought when reading the original Return to Krypton that all this was intended to retcon away John Byrne's Man of Steel vision of a sterile Krypton; that story claimed Jor-El presented a lie of a sterile Krypton to Kal-El so that he wouldn't feel so sad about his dead homeworld. This story rewrites that, so that we learn that after the Imperiex War (I think), Brainiac 13 time-travelled to pre-destruction Krypton (which really was the sterile world John Bryne showed us) and tried to kill Jor-El to stop Superman from being born. He failed, but made off with Jor-El's diaries and the Eradicator Matrix (I guess this is related to one-time Superman villain "the Eradicator," a.k.a. the Cyborg Superman, but I don't know enough to know), which he used in concert to make a fake Krypton as a trap for Superman. Only since Jor-El was a weirdo, his diaries recorded not the actuality of Krypton, but his dreamed, ideal Krypton. So this Krypton is a real place, a planet in the Phantom Zone, but it is not the real Krypton. Phew.
|from Action Comics vol. 1 #793|
(script by Joe Kelly, art by Pascual Ferry & Cam Smith)
And why did Return II even need to retcon the retcon? This was published in Sept. 2002; exactly one year later, Superman: Birthright would begin publication, removing Byrne inventions like the birthing matrix from continuity just as the first Return seemed like it was going to. By the time Return II came out, editor Eddie Berganza had to have known those changes were coming, so I just don't even get why this story-- which retcons the retcon of a retcon-- even exists.
And if you subtract the continuity jiggery-pokery, there's nothing here worth discussing. None of the five Super title crossovers published during Joe Casey's run on Adventures were exactly great, but Return to Krypton II is definitely the worst of them.
I did like that Krypto was in it, I guess, but Superman is not always a good dog-owner.
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