“Krypton Returns” comes to an end as the House of El fights to stop H’El from continuing his dastardly plan to bring back their homeworld and destroy the entire universe in the process.
Realities collide in Superman #25. H’El fights against both Superboy and Supergirl in separate worlds as Superman tries to reset what possible future H’El is trying to create. The story gets a bit convoluted as the idea of multiple H’El’s existing at once comes into play, and the way in which it’s handled is confusing to say the least. Although there is a lot of action and intrigue in the idea of Krypton returning, the story that Scott Lobdell has been building toward is more bark than bite.
The major strength of the arc is Kenneth Rocafort’s artwork. The way he displays both Krypton’s architecture and each characters design is truly a sight to be seen. Rocafort is able to bring emotion into complex characters and draw out their strengths. H’El appears haunting in every scene, particularly towards the end of the issue during the final bout. Superman is given the same amount of detail as the other House of El members, although it goes without saying, Rocafort draws an incredible Supergirl.
Overall, the action in this issue is stellar. The colors are vibrant as the setting swaps between realities, with the battle taking place between Krypton and space. Seeing Rocafort draw intense action sequences is refreshing after a long departure from the Superman series. Although we have seen all that Superman is capable of before, Rocafort draws the Man of Steel in a way that makes him look refreshing on every panel, especially when he’s pummeling H’El.
H’El is an interesting character with a dynamic ability set. But it seems like Lobdell has run out of ideas for the character. His powers expand in ways that are strange and hard to stomach. His intentions swing wildly back and forth which, more often than not, isn’t warranted. The character as a whole had a strong start on “H’El on Earth” but bringing him back so soon may have hampered the evolution of the character. By the end of the issue, H’El will feel more like a bother than a memorable Superman villain.
The comic structure for the series has been forced and, although ambitious, takes away from the story. Forcing other Superman readers to read books like Supergirl and Superboy still feels unnecessary. The ending is very similar to the start of “Krypton Returns”: abrupt and unclear. And although we are promised a daring final end for one of our heroes, it’s far from believable. Despite this, each character is given a specific role and the reader believes it until the very end.
Although “Krypton Returns” is very pretty, it lacks substance. Superman #25 tries to be epic and thought-provoking but isn’t able to deliver on either level. On the action front, the comic is very solid, but if you’re expecting more than a punch-off, you will be disappointed.