The future of H’El has been unleashed in Superman 23.3! But does it make any sense?
Scott Lobdell and Dan Jurgens reunite to continue their story on H’El. After the “H’El on Earth” arc ended, the future of H’El was left uncertain. He was teleported to another period in time and it appeared to be before the fall of Krypton. Naturally one would assume that H’El would take this opportunity to save the world he loved. However, Lobdell falls into his natural habit of convoluted, twisted, and downright confusing storytelling.
Dan Jurgens was able to pick up where Scott Lobdell clearly took off. His artwork is very consistent throughout the comic. He adds life to the stoic Kryptonians in a way that most artists seem to struggle with. H’El is given the upmost attention and the new power center addition to the character makes the villain much more sinister. His power is almost unending in the final act of the comic and the chaos is depicted in an incredible way.
The new mission that H’El has set in motion makes for an intriguing future, but it is very questionable whether sending him back in time was really worth it. In the end, the reader will question whether the issue was worth the time. It is unexpected and unfortunate that such an interesting villain be given such a letdown of a solo-issue. Hopefully Action Comics will pick it up as they will be handling any continuation from H’El going forward.
Taking a character back in time is a very risky move. In comics it happens more often than we’d like to admit, but there is one aspect of it that gets overlooked more and more. The past affects the future. In this issue all aspects of consequence due to the actions of H’El seem ignored; in part because he enacts universe changing properties in particular with Jor-El, the father of Superman. It is as if Lobdell wants to rewrite the Superman mythos to his liking. It is a dangerous plan that could yield in a very negative consequence.
Aside from the obviously questionable narration, the pacing was simply sluggish. Nothing interesting takes place until the third act. H’El reawakens and unleashes a rampage upon the Kryptonians. It takes way too long for things to get going, and when it does, it just doesn’t pay off.
The artwork alone is not enough to save this issue. In a month filled with innovative and terrifying villains, this one is an obvious pass. Hopefully H’El will be given the arc he deserves in the future.