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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member Doctor Know's Avatar
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    Default What went wrong with the New Krypton Arc?

    Pretty much like the title says.

    I was deeply invested in the New Krypton Arc. I followed all the books, even the Supergirl titles which I don't normally read.

    From
    The Coming of Atlas
    Brainiac
    New Krypton
    SupermanL Mon-El
    Supergirl
    Codename: Patriot
    Nightwing and Flamebird
    Last Stand of New Krypton

    and finally
    War of the Supermen


    And the result of my investment in this 2 year long arc was a BIG DUMB ENDING and a reset of the status quo.


    After bringing back so many Silver and Bronze age themes and characters; that were woven in to a clever story. How could things go so wrong right as the series prepared to cross the finish line? Was it a change of writers and thereby a change of vision?

    Geoff Johns had been threading Superman's Silver Age mythos back in to his Post-COIE canon prior to Infinite Crisis. Johns left Superman around 2009/2010 to work on GL and the big Blackest Night + Brightest Day storyline. James Robinson picked up the threads and was put in charge of Superman New Krypton vol 3-4, Last Stand of New Krypton, War of the Supermen and Mon-El's story. Robinson was also writing the JLA at the time.

    Or was it behind the scenes editorial mandates that sabotaged Superman's New Krypton arc?
    Last edited by Doctor Know; 10-03-2015 at 05:08 PM.

  2. #2
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    1. People lost interest in Superman and Action books when Superman left them, leading to a decline in sales. Kind of a shame because while Rucka's Action with Nightwing/Flamebird was mediocre and clearly a last-minute revamp, Robinson's Mon-El stuff was great and overlooked.

    2. Departure of Geoff Johns probably also caused people to lose interest

    3. Decompression - WoNK played out nicely in 12 issues, but the other S-books just looked like they were buying time waiting.

    4. While the idea of unshrinking Kandor and establishing New Krypton was an interesting idea, it's hard to really keep a city of Kryptonians in mainstream canon. I'm down with having other Kryptonians like Supergirl, Zod, etc. and I don't think Superman has to literally be the last son of Krypton, but this was arguably taking things too far.

    5. And finally, JMS coming aboard because of falling sales, causing editorial to press the abort button on the whole thing.

    So yeah. I remember I was following all the Superman books during the New Krypton saga and was loving every minute of it. Even though in hindsight some of the writing was flawed (ie. General Lane was kind of an awful villain), the concept was good and WoNK in particular was underrated, and having Superman take the role of Commander El and work among his people was a great way to cast new light on Kal-El's leadership skills and ability to inspire. Zod's portrayal was also nuanced and interesting before he quickly reverts back into Terrence Stamp in time for War of the Supermen.

    I think the horrible finale to this saga is what dug this pre-FP Superman to the ground, and it was hard to imagine things could get even worse before JMS came on to do Grounded. The idea that Lane and Luthor committed genocide on the last of Superman's people and this was going to just be a status quo reset and business as usual was just jarring to me, and for that alone I'm so glad they rebooted.

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member Doctor Know's Avatar
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    ^ Everything you said QFT.

    Luthor and Gen Lane killing some 80,000 Kryptonians and it all being glossed over by Superman #700 and #701 (Grounded), unbelievable to me. Supes doesn't seek justice for his race or protest anything that mischracterizes his people. Despite Clark's job of being a reporter/journalism and exposing the truth and corruption of what Luthor and Lane were doing.

    Grounded and Reign of Doomsday only further drove the Superman franchise into the ground. Thank god New 52 rebooted the Superman mythos. Although I am intrigued by how Convergence will handle Post-COIE Supes in this final tale.

  4. #4
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    I have no official confirmation of this, but according to some interviews which came out during the New Krypton saga and personal deduction based on some of Rucka's declarations on the old ComicBloc forum, I think that at some point the initial plans were changed.

    Here's what I think. The original plan was basically having New Krypton and the following War of Supermen saga as the culmination of years of build-up. New Krypton was already in the writers' mind after Infinite Crisis, and it was initially conceived by Johns and Busiek (even if Busiek's plans involved some elements which were changed after his departure, like the presence of Kristin Wells and a different version of Brainiac). The aim was a complete relaunch of the Superman universe, including all of his most prominent villains, Metropolis, Kryptonians, and the cosmic elements of the DCU. The climax of New Krypton should have been an intergalactic war which involved not only Earth and Krypton, but all the most prominent alien races of the DCU (the same involved in World of New Krypton: Thanagarians, Saturnians, etc.). War of Supermen (or whatever they want to call it) was supposed to be much longer. But, at a certian point, they dropped the ball. After Johns' departure and the declining sale, they decided to cut everything and WoS became a one-month, hurried event. I wouldn't exclude that even JMS' Grounded was a last-minute solution just to fill the void, which would explain why Grounded was written without a real script in mind.

    Certainly, the story has we had it wasn't even remotely satisfactory, but somehow I regret it: it was the last time they attempted a real worldbuilding concerning the Super-universe.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member Doctor Know's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myskin View Post
    I have no official confirmation of this, but according to some interviews which came out during the New Krypton saga and personal deduction based on some of Rucka's declarations on the old ComicBloc forum, I think that at some point the initial plans were changed.

    Here's what I think. The original plan was basically having New Krypton and the following War of Supermen saga as the culmination of years of build-up. New Krypton was already in the writers' mind after Infinite Crisis, and it was initially conceived by Johns and Busiek (even if Busiek's plans involved some elements which were changed after his departure, like the presence of Kristin Wells and a different version of Brainiac). The aim was a complete relaunch of the Superman universe, including all of his most prominent villains, Metropolis, Kryptonians, and the cosmic elements of the DCU. The climax of New Krypton should have been an intergalactic war which involved not only Earth and Krypton, but all the most prominent alien races of the DCU (the same involved in World of New Krypton: Thanagarians, Saturnians, etc.). War of Supermen (or whatever they want to call it) was supposed to be much longer. But, at a certian point, they dropped the ball. After Johns' departure and the declining sale, they decided to cut everything and WoS became a one-month, hurried event. I wouldn't exclude that even JMS' Grounded was a last-minute solution just to fill the void, which would explain why Grounded was written without a real script in mind.

    Certainly, the story has we had it wasn't even remotely satisfactory, but somehow I regret it: it was the last time they attempted a real worldbuilding concerning the Super-universe.
    Thanks for your post. I wouldn't put it past TPTB. Everything you said, sounds plausible.

    I was watching a review by Linkara earlier, and he said that the New Krypton arc is supposed to be interpreted as a "what-if" scenario. I found no confirmation of his claim, however it would explain why DC subsequently distanced themselves from the entire arc by the time Grounded started and the subsequent New 52 reboot. Which brought back all of Superman's villains and restored Kandor to a peaceful city in a bottle.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myskin View Post
    I have no official confirmation of this, but according to some interviews which came out during the New Krypton saga and personal deduction based on some of Rucka's declarations on the old ComicBloc forum, I think that at some point the initial plans were changed.

    Here's what I think. The original plan was basically having New Krypton and the following War of Supermen saga as the culmination of years of build-up. New Krypton was already in the writers' mind after Infinite Crisis, and it was initially conceived by Johns and Busiek (even if Busiek's plans involved some elements which were changed after his departure, like the presence of Kristin Wells and a different version of Brainiac). The aim was a complete relaunch of the Superman universe, including all of his most prominent villains, Metropolis, Kryptonians, and the cosmic elements of the DCU. The climax of New Krypton should have been an intergalactic war which involved not only Earth and Krypton, but all the most prominent alien races of the DCU (the same involved in World of New Krypton: Thanagarians, Saturnians, etc.). War of Supermen (or whatever they want to call it) was supposed to be much longer. But, at a certian point, they dropped the ball. After Johns' departure and the declining sale, they decided to cut everything and WoS became a one-month, hurried event. I wouldn't exclude that even JMS' Grounded was a last-minute solution just to fill the void, which would explain why Grounded was written without a real script in mind.

    Certainly, the story has we had it wasn't even remotely satisfactory, but somehow I regret it: it was the last time they attempted a real worldbuilding concerning the Super-universe.
    blackest night and brightest day were around the same time, if War of supermen was really suppossed to be that big, maybe DC just wanted to have one big wide event with blackest night and brightest day.
    I think that on the end of day DC just choose the easy way out of a problem with thousands of superpowered kryptonians. and that hurt the superman franchise, except supergirl that was pretty good at the time

  7. #7
    Phantom Zone Escapee manofsteel1979's Avatar
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    I think MySkin and Kid A hit the nail on the head. Great ideas....ultimately botched execution that led to declining sales and instead of fixing the main issue, which was taking Superman out of SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS and putting second string characters as the stars of those titles and then sticking to the initial plan and story outline for the ending, DC panicked and at some point someone up the chain made the call to hit the reset/abort button, and Matt Idelson pretty much wrote the last part of the story for that purpose. There were lots of rumors that there was circulating regarding friction between editorial and Robinson, and given the problems that later occurred between the same editorial team and George Perez over his scripts being completely rewritten without his input, it's logical to assume the same happened with NK.

    Edit: I've often wondered if they had kept Superman as the star of Action and Superman and had his World of New Krypton arc feature as the lead story in those books, with the Mon-El and Nightwing/Flamebird arcs either as subplots or back up features, would NK sold better, and thus we would have gotten the original ending as was intended?
    Last edited by manofsteel1979; 10-04-2015 at 04:51 AM.

  8. #8
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Yeah, you guys seem to have it about right.

    I never expected New Krypton to last. When all is said and done, mainstream comics in America always return to the status quo, so NK was never going to stick around. Somehow, those people were always going to be taken off the table; killed or put back in a bottle or whatever. But the point of mainstream comics is to enjoy the ride, not worry about the final destination (which is always, basically, right back where you started from). But damn, those were some bad years.

    Honestly though, if WoNK had actually been a hit we would have ended up with a redefined and re-imagined Superman mythos built by Johns, and given how much I dislike how he writes Superman, its for the best that WoNK failed. That failure lead to DC trying to reboot Superman, which lead to the 52, and while a lot of that reboot has been a letdown, Superman is better than he's been for decades. So for me, it worked out as well as could be reasonably hoped for. I guess.
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  9. #9
    Extraordinary Member Zero Hunter's Avatar
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    The ending was just so cheap on every level. It was like hack comic book writing 101 it was so bad. I loved the story arc right up until that last part when they threw it all away in a blink of an eye. I think the story would have worked so much better if in the end New Krypton had been moved to the other side of the universe instead of being destroyed. It would have given both Clark and Kara a great new thing to deal with knowing their people were out the somewhere but having no idea where or how to find them. That would have been better than them having to deal with the genocide of what was left of their race and then seeming to get over it like it was nothing. Supergirl should have been uncontrollable in her rage against Lane and Luthor for the death of her parents and would have stopped at nothing short of Clark taking her down to keep her from killing them both. Intead it was like "oh well mom and dad are dead again and their is the guy who did it on the news guess I will go have lunch". Again more hack writing.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Yeah, you guys seem to have it about right.

    I never expected New Krypton to last. When all is said and done, mainstream comics in America always return to the status quo, so NK was never going to stick around. Somehow, those people were always going to be taken off the table; killed or put back in a bottle or whatever. But the point of mainstream comics is to enjoy the ride, not worry about the final destination (which is always, basically, right back where you started from). But damn, those were some bad years.

    Honestly though, if WoNK had actually been a hit we would have ended up with a redefined and re-imagined Superman mythos built by Johns, and given how much I dislike how he writes Superman, its for the best that WoNK failed. That failure lead to DC trying to reboot Superman, which lead to the 52, and while a lot of that reboot has been a letdown, Superman is better than he's been for decades. So for me, it worked out as well as could be reasonably hoped for. I guess.
    I like geoff johns writing superman, but I think editorial would had butchered it anyway. I didn't liked the retrocession that was the reboot on new 52, so i disagree with you.
    there is nothing on new 52 that couldn't be done on old continuity

  11. #11
    Amazing Member Marvel Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tayswift View Post
    I like geoff johns writing superman, but I think editorial would had butchered it anyway. I didn't liked the retrocession that was the reboot on new 52, so i disagree with you.
    there is nothing on new 52 that couldn't be done on old continuity
    Wow, for me, Geoff Johns's Superman is all about regression: bringing back the pre-zero hour Legion of Super Heroes, recovering Richard Donner's Superman, Mad Scientist Lex Luthor, General Zod... the jokes about Jimmy Olsen's photos, making Clark a joke of himself, removing any development of Cat Grant, the not-so-new Brainiac, Bizarro World... And he has done exactly the same with the New 52 Superman, the same jokes about Jimmy, making Clark return to the Planet, etc.

    Edit to add: And I have actually liked his Green Lantern, Teen Titans and Flash. But there is something about his Superman that doesn't actually work for me...
    Last edited by Marvel Man; 10-05-2015 at 02:59 PM.

  12. #12
    Ultimate Member Sacred Knight's Avatar
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    Editorial is not Johns' problem with Superman. His problems writing Superman are his own: he writes him generic and boring, he's blindly loyal to Donnerverse concepts, and insists on focusing on the least interesting aspects of him (spends all his time reiterating his more Man than Super).
    "They can be a great people Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you. My only son." - Jor-El

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  13. #13
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tayswift View Post
    I like geoff johns writing superman, but I think editorial would had butchered it anyway. I didn't liked the retrocession that was the reboot on new 52, so i disagree with you.
    there is nothing on new 52 that couldn't be done on old continuity
    You're entitled to your opinion of course.

    However, editorial hasn't been a factor in Johns' writing for a long time. At least, insofar as I can see. He's ignored and altered continuity constantly in his time at DC, to the point that its become his hallmark as a writer. And not just with big reboots either, (JSA, Hawkman, Titans, Green Lantern, ect) but in small ways too (Wonder Woman was not the only child on the Island, despite what the current Darkseid War story says). Now, some of those continuity glitches could have slipped past an editor (easy enough to forget that the Kents didnt have Clark's rocket in the barn in 52 continuity) but there have been so many of them, it seems clear that Johns just gets a free pass. Whether that's a good thing (creative control of a project outside of editorial's art by committee mindset) or a bad thing (disrespecting the work of his peers and lazy research habits) is up for debate.

    As for myself, I love the return to a more classic, bombastic Superman that we've gotten since the reboot. I hated the guy we had throughout the 00's and late 90's. Did we need a reboot to get the Super back in Superman? No. But then, continuity is a lie fans tell themselves.
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  14. #14
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    Did the schedule slips of Busiek's Adventures and Johns' Action Comics affect New Krypton? I swear it took forever for Camelot Falls and Last Son to finish.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    You're entitled to your opinion of course.

    However, editorial hasn't been a factor in Johns' writing for a long time. At least, insofar as I can see. He's ignored and altered continuity constantly in his time at DC, to the point that its become his hallmark as a writer. And not just with big reboots either, (JSA, Hawkman, Titans, Green Lantern, ect) but in small ways too (Wonder Woman was not the only child on the Island, despite what the current Darkseid War story says). Now, some of those continuity glitches could have slipped past an editor (easy enough to forget that the Kents didnt have Clark's rocket in the barn in 52 continuity) but there have been so many of them, it seems clear that Johns just gets a free pass. Whether that's a good thing (creative control of a project outside of editorial's art by committee mindset) or a bad thing (disrespecting the work of his peers and lazy research habits) is up for debate.

    As for myself, I love the return to a more classic, bombastic Superman that we've gotten since the reboot. I hated the guy we had throughout the 00's and late 90's. Did we need a reboot to get the Super back in Superman? No. But then, continuity is a lie fans tell themselves.
    superman change is very hard to pick, everyone thinks about man of steel or smallville, and think that is canon on comics. very easy to be confused. I don't think Johns is so much scott free of editors, seems like many things he had to do that he didn't wanted.
    about wonder woman that now is the only child on paradise island, I think it is good change if erases bullying and the murdering amazons. Anyway azzarello run just ended, it's not like he had to change it on his own book because Johns did something, like that was the case of superman and ww hooking up.
    altering runs happens all the time on comics.

    I'm down with a more down to earth superman, that is good, calm. that is a completely different thing from expectation tha tpeople have for a god amongst men. nothing of supermacho stuff.
    well continuity can easily bend depends of what editorial want , it seems

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