Suicide Planet Part 1
Written by: James Robinson
Pencils by: Doug Mahnke
Inks by: Jaime Mendoza and Scott Hanna
Colors by: Wil Quintana
Cover by: Viktor Bogdanovic and Mike Spicer
This issue introduces a new writer and story arc, and as such, it requires no previous reading or setup.
On the day of Krypton’s destruction, Superman has taken his son, Jon, to the Fortress of Solitude. After his recent adventures in time allowed him to witness the death of Krypton, Superman has created a holographic simulation of his home planet’s destruction. He thinks it’s important and valuable for he and his son to watch and remember this momentous occasion that nearly brought and end to Kryptonian history. After the two watch the hologram, an alert goes off in the Fortress, one that Superman had set to notify him if any other planet was about to meet the same fate as Krypton. Jon begs Superman to bring him into space to help save Galymayne, the planet in need. Clark eventually agrees under one condition: they don’t tell Lois about it.
On the way to Galymayne, Superman walks Jon through what it’s like when he goes on one of these missions. They meet the natives, explain their presence on the planet, and are brought to wherever that planet’s leader or leaders are. In this case, the leader of Galymayne is their High Priest and greets Superman warmly. Clark explains that he is a being of great power and is here to help them from meeting the same fate as his own home planet, but the High Priest denies Superman’s assistance. He tells Superman that the people of Galymayne are strong people of faith and if it is the will of their God—Dhermet—that they are to die, they will not deny that. Superman insists and the High Priest warns him that their seers have foretold that someone might come and stop the will of Dhermet, allowing them to prepare for interference.
The people all begin to attack Superman and Superboy, who both find themselves with weaker powers than they usually have. They escape the angry mob and are beckoned into hiding by a lone citizen of Galymayne. This man says that he is a scientist and is thus reviled by his people; however, he is determined to save his planet regardless of their disdain for him. Before any more introductions can be done, the angry mob finds them and the three board the scientist’s ship, and head off on the run from a people they are trying to save!
Thoughts on the issue:
One of the difficult things about writing Superman is that his whole character is a deus ex machina; when you give him something to fight, you know he’s going to win. What we have here is a much more interesting conflict for Superman to deal with than a simple supervillain with a doomsday weapon. This time, there is no weapon and the conflict is that Superman is trying to save these people from themselves. It asks the question: Do we really need to respect everyone’s beliefs when we know those beliefs to be harmful? This is a particularly interesting struggle for a character who’s meant to be unambiguously good, but is forced into a position of ambiguity. Add to all that the exciting art by Doug Mahnke and the new arc by James Robinson is off to a strong start. Also the idea of Superman and his son celebrating and even creating Kryptonian holidays is really nice to me, and something that Kara deserves to be involved with.