Poor Superman. He leaves Earth to live with his crazy fellow Kryptonians and winds up getting locked up for treason. Although Supes hasn't been having a very good time on New Krypton, I've been enjoying this series a whole lot! James Robinson and Greg Rucka have really done a great job in making me care about those wacky Kryptonians. What's in store this month? Let's find out!
-This issue begins with the trial of Supes and his subordinate, Lt. Asha Del-Nar. To make a long story short, Gen. Zod ordered Asha to kill a criminal upon catching him last issue, while Supes, her direct supervisor told her not to follow Zod's orders. Asha listened to Supes and Zod had them both brought up on charges of treason. Oh, and on New Krypton, the penalty for committing treason is death. Now, back to the story. Supes lawyer tells the council supervising the trial that Zod has had a vendetta against Supes and his family for years now, and that the only reason Supes was brought up on charges was simple revenge. Much to the surprise of the jury, Zod agrees and decides he won't prosecute Supes, instead turning his attentions to Asha.
-Zod makes his case against Asha, which in and of itself is pretty funny. The main gist of it is that by almost allowing Hal Jordan to capture the criminal(which is what nearly happened last issue)she endangered all of New Krypton because Hal is crazy! Zod states the whole Parallax episode as his example of Hal's mental instability. Asha admits to disobeying a direct order from Zod, and seems prepared to take her punishment, until Supes opens his big mouth. Supes tells the council that he ordered Asha to disobey, thus exonerating Asha and damning himself. Zod smugly points out that Supes just admitted to treason, and as such should be sentenced to death. The council dismisses all parties so they could deliberate.
-Supes lawyer is incensed that he admitted his guilt like that, but Supes explains he couldn't let Asha take the fall for his actions. Supes is returned to his cell and visited by Asha, who thanks him, and his little buddy from the labor guild, Tyr. After Asha leaves, Tyr quickly sets up a device that would disable the red sun device holding Supes in his cell before quickly leaving.
-Tyr returns to Zod and Ursa, and we learn he was a double agent sent by Zod to buddy up to Supes. They watch the security cameras in Supes cell and are shocked to see that Supes isn't leaving his cell. Ursa and Tyr can't figure out why Supes refuses to leave, since remaining means certain death. Zod orders them to leave his office while he sits there deep in thought.
-The next day is a Kryptonian holy day and also the sentencing of Supes. Out of the 6 council members, 5 of them vote guilty(including Supes own aunt!), and Supes is given a last chance to speak before sentencing is carried out. He tells the council that he did the right thing by preventing the criminals death and that if presented with the same situation, he'd do the same thing again.
-The council prepares to pass sentence on Supes when, of all people, Zod speaks up on Supes behalf! Zod tells the council that with it being a Kryptonian day of forgiveness, they should absolve Supes of his crimes. Zod asks the powerful religious guild to step in on Supes behalf, and the member of the religious guild present at the hearing releases Supes.
-Supes and Zod leave the hearing side by side, and Supes inquires as to why Zod did what he did. Zod explains that he doesn't like Supes, but that Supes makes his army stronger, and in the long run, that fact is more important than his personal feelings. Zod and Supes take part in the festivities and the crowd chants Zod's name. As this issue ends, a lone gunman targets Zod and blows a hole through his chest with a laser weapon!
As usual, this was a very good issue of this series. I have to say that since this title began 5 issues ago, it has proven to be one of the strongest comics I've read month in and month out. I love the way the writers are blurring whether Zod is the world conquering, child abusing scumbag we remember from Geoff John's amazing "Last Son" storyline, or if he is just a Kryptonian patriot whose only concern is for the safety of his people.
So now, this months cliffhanger ending leaves us wondering if Zod is going to survive the assassination attempt. I think the better question is did Zod set up the assassination attempt himself? Think about it, Zod saw how Supes was prepared to martyr himself for his beliefs, and Zod probably realized that a dead Superman might be worse than a live one. Making himself a martyr would greatly increase Zod's own power among the Kryptonian community. If Zod is able to fake his death, he can act with impunity behind the scenes, directing actions through proxies as he sees fit. Then he could always return down the road as the resurrected savior of the Kryptonian people. However, with how excellently written this comic is, whatever James and Greg decide to do from here is bound to make for a great story. For a score, I'll give this comic a very strong 9 1/2 out of 10. Wow, the past couple of comics I've read have really been exceptional. Here's hoping that trend continues!