The story of the Last Family of Krypton comes to a conclusion in this issue, and after finishing the story, I really couldn’t tell you how I feel about it. Being an Esleworlds story, we know that this isn’t in continuity, so the inconsistencies and tangents are expected, but along with that freedom comes a price; the story has no consequences. Once it’s done, it’s done, and I can put it out of my mind and move on.
I suppose there’s two arguments here. First is the argument for the exploration of the nature of Superman’s destiny, and that no matter what, he is, and always will be, destined to become Earth’s Greatest Hero. I get that from this story, but it seems clunky. Rather than being an organic part of the narrative, it feels forced, like the writer, Cary Bates, had the idea, but someone at DC said that by the end, Kal-El had to become Superman, no matter what. At times it feels like the story is being pushed in that direction by some unseen force. Most apparent in this issue are the Guardians of Oa, who essentially come right out and say that these things are supposed to happen, as if they have meta-knowledge of the main DC Universe. I suppose we’re just supposed to accept that. I can tell you, even being a Green Lantern reader, it was a hard pill to swallow without any real explanation.
The second argument you could make is that this is a story about Jor-El’s character. In that case, it’s a bit easier to take. All of the actions of the story take place in order to explore an element of Jor-El’s nature, thus giving us insight into Superman’s nature. An interesting idea, but again, poorly executed. There’s more room to excuse the writing here, but Bates still doesn’t take that opportunity and realize it’s true potential.
At the end of the day, I don’t regret reading this series, but I will have a hard time recommending it. The writing seems rushed and contrived, and I don’t personally care for the art of Renato Arlem. As a Superman fan, it’s an interesting look into the parents of The Man of Steel, but honestly, if that’s what you’re after, pick up the novel “Last Days of Krypton” by Kevin J. Anderson. It’s a much more fleshed out examination of Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van, as well as giving a look into General Zod, who I have to say was lacking an appearance in The Last Family of Krypton. Now that would have made this last issue interesting! Final verdict; hardcore Superman readers will find something to take away, but the casual Supes fan will just be bored and confused.