By: Matthew Rapier
H’El has arrived and means to reinvigorate Krypton. Superman joins up with Superboy to visit Lex in a prison designed specifically to hold him from escaping. Lex, being the genius that he is, gives Superman the insight on how H’El plans to use the bottled city of Kandor in the Fortress of Solitude to travel through a chronal-nexus to collapse our universe and bring about the rebirth of Krypton.
The Justice League, Superman, and Superboy all head off to the Fortress where H’El and Supergirl are holed up trying to make good on the plan. In an attempt to shield Superboy from the beam from the machine, Superman gets sucked into it himself being teleported to any random location that will be hard to find. The Flash battles Supergirl throughout the Fortress but H’El is able to intervene and teleport Flash back to the JL watchtower. The long teased Oracle has finally awakened and is ready to take a world.
H’El on Earth isn’t one of the greatest Superman stories ever told, let me get that out-of-the-way. It’s also not a terrible story either and I’m finding myself enjoying this story as it progresses further. I was skeptical at first when I learned that it would be about a Kryptonian coming to Earth to try to rebirth Krypton because that card has been played so many times over now. Luckily, this story has plenty of new parts and interesting twists that it feels fresh enough to not be a complete retread of past stories.
I really like that Supergirl is still a bit naïve and genuinely misses her home world because she got to experience it unlike her cousin Kal. You can also see the grief she has in standing up against her family and potentially destroying a race of innocent people, but the feelings for her past remain strongest.
Superboy #16 and Supergirl #16 work well together in the art department. Iban Coello and Amilcar Pinna work together on Superboy and bring a somewhat cartoon look with very solid lines and bright colors which really compliments Mahmud Asrar’s art on Supergirl. Asrar has been one of my favorites since the New 52 hit and his work on the book has been such a constant joy to look at.
The only one that stands out a little weird here is Kenneth Racafort on Superman. I am generally a fan of his work, but lately I’ve become bothered by his panel layouts and little scribbles outside of the panels. He sets up way too much negative space on his pages that could otherwise be filled with his top-notch art. Maybe this is just his style and he enjoys to be creative with his panels, but I still can’t help myself from being distracted by it.
Overall this has been the most solid Superman arc so far in the New 52. Grant Morrison started his run on Action Comics so strongly and eventually fizzled into such a confusing story that many people lost interest. Lobdell, Johnson, and Deflaco are working well together to make these story a cohesive unit. With “H’El on Earth”, it’s good to see the Superman family books coming together and also holding some guest appearances from other DC heroes to make it feel connected across the board.
Overall Grade: 7/10