My love for Superman is no mystery, and so many great stories have been told in the comics over the years. Many I have read, many I have not. With the primary focus on all titles released Post Crisis, I intend to read everything ever released from 1986 – 2011. This is the beginning of the Superman Reading Project (SRP), and the story begins on a far away planet, many thousands of years ago.
You can’t start at the beginning without really starting at the beginning. So we begin with The World Of Krypton, Vol. 2 released from 1987 – 1988. Essentially an origin story of sorts, that heavily focuses on the Clone Wars on Krypton, that will later bring us to the man who will later become Kal-El… aka Superman.
Issue #1 (of the 4 part mini series) tells the tale of a man named Van-L who is about to celebrate his ‘Day Of Passage’, basically a celebration of reaching adulthood. On the way to the celebration, he has a race with his friend Vara. During this race, she flies her craft too low, crashes and gets badly injured. This is Krypton though, so with all their advancements in science and technology you’d assume ‘fixing’ Vara up would be simple yes? You’d be correct, as Krypton has clones! Every Kryptonian has 3 clones of themselves to harvest for extra organs and body parts. Useful for sure, however there are those who are opposed to clones being used in this way (though I ask, what else would you do with your clone?). Protestors and activists who are specifically defending the rights of these mindless soulless creatures.
At his party, Van-L discovers that his father was in Kandor right before clones rights protestors started to riot and cause mass destruction in the city. His father was able to get out just in time. Then the party takes a very weird and creepy turn.
A woman named Nyra is at the party and takes a moment to announce her son Kan-Z’s engagement to his girlfriend Kyla.
By the way are you struggling to keep these Kryptonian names straight? I sure am lol.
This announcement takes a horrid turn as Kan-Z pulls a weapon on his mother and kills her right on the spot. Come to find out, he had killed his girlfriend Kyla as well. Van-L and a now healed Vara decide to investigate.
Apparently Nyra stole her own clone (which was highly illegal), named it Kyla, and gave her to her son to marry. So Kan-Z was basically marrying his own mother. That drove him mad and caused him to snap and kill. Told you… weird and creepy.
Kan-Z, having been stopped from killing himself, makes an announcement to all of Krypton about everything that just happened. This includes the fact that a clone (Kyla) was able to have their own mind and personality. The clones rights protestors eat this up, and war ensues.
Issue #2 – 3 covers the aftermath of the war and introduces us to Van-L’s future grandson and Superdad, Jor-El.
The war for clones rights takes off, and war ensues! Vara, who had ironically been healed by her own clone, stands for clones rights and for them to not be used in such a manner. She joins the Black Zero Organization, a terrorist group. Van-L and others on the other hand fights against her and the Black Zero members in his trusty War suit that somehow keeps him alive for 1,000 years!
So, a thousand years have passed and Van-L makes his way to a now completely destroyed Kandor (having been blown up atomically by Black Zero). He leaves his war suit and is immediately captured by a rebel.
Van-L is taken to the President of the World Council, who tells Van-L that Black Zero is back and is going to blow up the whole planet. Sure, why not?
Now let’s go yet another 1,000 years ahead in time to the ‘present’. A young man named Jor-El is doing his studies and watching videos about the great Clone War of Krypton. We learn here that Jor-El is the grandson of Van-L. This of course makes me wonder how the surname of L became El, but it’s probably not that important.
We see what Jor-El is watching. Going back 1,000 years, Van-L leads an attack on Black Zero with Vara by his side. Vara who was originally a part of the nefarious terrorist group, no longer has the desire to fight for clone rights as Krypton no longer uses clone technology for organ banks. As Black Zero was seemingly unarmed, the attack was successful. That is until it’s discovered that Kan-Z is behind it all and has created a world destroyer machine to blow up the planet. Van-L then hops back into his war suit and completely destroys the egg shaped world destroying machine with little effort.
Flashing back to the present, we learn that clones for parts is no longer a thing on Krypton. Advancements in other sciences and technologies have given Kryptonian’s the ability to live almost forever. Practically immortal. There is no longer any need to reproduce in the normal sense, as in a world where no one dies, the population is under strict control so there is no over populating.
Death is very rare, so imagine the shock to learn someone on Krypton has passed away and left an opening for a new Kryptonian to be born. This is of course done via Gestation Chambers. Babies are grown with the combination of DNA Matrix’s from 2 perfectly matching candidates. Jor-El is shocked to learn that while he has not officially had his ‘Day Of Passage’ into adulthood, he has been chosen to make a new Kryptonian. His match that has been chosen is none other than Lara. She has been picked because combined with Jor-El, they have a near-perfect genetic matrix. He asks to see an image of Lara and declares she is beautiful!
This brings us to Issue #4, and the real true ‘present’ as we are now in Metropolis. Clark tells Lois that Superman wants to meet with her for an exclusive story just for her. Clark’s identity as big blue will remain a secret from Lois for a few more years at this point.
When they meet, Superman tells Lois the history of Krypton. The Clone War, Krypton’s advancements in genetic engineering, how Jor-El fell in love with Lara, and being visited by his parents while he was still in the gestation chamber being ‘grown’.
That’s right folks, Superman… Kal-El… was essentially a test tube baby. I find this completely bizarre, though hearing a story about his parents getting it on and making a baby in the traditional sense would be more disturbing. Probably.
Superman then tells Lois of all the earthquakes that began to disrupt the planet of Krypton, bringing the Green Death plague that killed millions of Kryptonian’s. Jor-El, realizing this is all related to the efforts of Black Zero 1,000 years prior, demands to have Kal-El (still unborn and in his gestation pod) brought to his lab. Lara comes in to confront Jor-El. Technically this is the first time Jor-El and Lara meet face to face. Krypton, and how babies were made there, is just bonkers to me.
As the earthquakes get worse and the planet on the verge of exploding, Jor-El decides to send his unborn and practically genetically perfect son to Earth in a rocket ship. As the rocket blasts off, and the planet begins to crumble, Jor-El confesses to Lara that he loves her. Even though, you know… they had just met and only had a test tube baby.
As Superman finishes telling his story to Lois, he is visibly sad and even sheds a few tears. Seeing this very emotional side to Superman really gets to Lois, and shows us that an alien from another planet is also very human in ways not expected.
Superman basically sums it up nicely in the final panel of this issue. By being sent to earth and away from the planet he was created on, Kal-El was given the gift of humanity by his father. And that humanity, along with incredible super powers, is what made Superman the champion for good here on Earth.
Of course being raised by the Kent’s obviously played a big part in that as well, and in our next edition of the SRP we will take a look at the history of the Kent family.
This was a fun start to the SRP and I enjoyed learning a bit more of the history of Krypton. A scientifically more advanced world than our own, yet just as wacky as anywhere else. I would love to see more stories that take place with these characters, and dive deeper into the World of Krypton. For now though, this served as a great starting point for the story of The Man Of Steel.
Till Next time, stay Super and Game On!
Each blog post will end with a random Music Video, because TMG ❤’s MvM
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