I love comic book universe space stories. It’s a love I came to later in life – I was into space-based sci-fi outside of comics since before I could read, but I was a pretty down the line ’90s X-Men/Batman kid when it came to comics, and I wasn’t really interested in seeing anything but those characters locked in storytelling amber for a while. But around the turn of the century, I got turned on to the Legion of Super-Heroes with Legion Lost and it was like, pun only partially intended, having a whole new universe open up to me.
There’s a certain amount of hope inherent in the concept of a bright space future. Sure the Earth of the Legion has to endure a series of great wars in the thousand years between now and when they arise, but we make it there. And it’s gorgeous and hopeful and different and colorful, like everything great about the present-day DCU with that extra hint of triumph.
So I started picking up more Legion books. And diving into what I could find on the early internet about the various races and species and planets. And eventually Marvel did something interesting with their space books (with Annihilation) so I did the same there.
My interest in space comics continues to this very day when I spent an hour and a half staring at page 2 of this preview of Superman #14. It’s a two-page spread with Superman and his family joined by Zod as the Man of Steel addresses the entirety of the DC interstellar community. Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Alex Sinclair do an unbelievably good job of getting so much on the page. This is the kind of page that I’d imagine writers threaten their artists with – “PAGE 2: Splash page, crowd scene with one member of every species in the galaxy HA HA SEE YOU NEVER BUD.” But it’s meticulous and thorough, and the composition of the crowd furthers the story being told.
Look around in the crowd: you see the folks who have been present throughout the story: Appa Ali Apsa, Sardath, and the rest of the Circle. I spotted a Dryad (Blok’s race), a Star Sapphire, Vril Dox, and others who are unsurprising. But you also see some universal-level shitheads in there: a Dominator, right up in the foreground, and a Khund next to the Zilius Zox giant head guy behind Sardath.
This isn’t even especially coded: these people don’t join the good guys unless something is tremendously wrong. That’s solid, straightforward, fundamental storytelling that uses the shared universe to build atmosphere. We should expect nothing less from a pro like Ivan Reis, but it’s still laudatory when you do see it.
It’s safe to say here that Rogol Zaar, the man who destroyed Krypton, is defeated by this gaggle of aliens, and Superman is looking for a way to make sure that nothing like Zaar’s heinous crime ever happens again. Superman places the blame at the feet of the mysterious cabal shaping galactic events during his father’s time. You can find out how this all plays out when the issue arrives this Wednesday.
For now, we have a preview with the aforementioned spread below:
Read and download the Den of Geek SDCC 2019 Special Edition Magazine right here!