Yeah, right. Poor, deluded Kara may take in this nonsense, but everything is just too angled towards making H'el seem the humble, noble hero. Maybe in the New 52 DC Universe the people of Krypton - for the first time in any version of Superman's history - knew of their world's coming end. Heck, DC has made Wonder Woman's Amazon sisters men-raping monsters so nothing is beyond them. I don't believe it, though. I think writer Scott Lobdell is clueing us in that H'el is full of nonsense; he's as twisted inside as he is outside. Plus, J'or never calls the astronaut by any name - it could well be Legion of Super-Heroes member Mon-El we're seeing, given the similarity to his Silver Age origin, with H'el a passing, deluded janitor.
And hallelujah, Kara is finally starting to have her doubts, to emerge from whatever spell she's allowed herself to be put under, so desperate is her desire to go home again.
Sadly, Kara's questions don't bring answers. Just as H'el seems ready to tell her that in order to travel back in time, Earth must die, Superman breaks into the chamber, followed by Superboy, and a fight ensues, causing H'el to take desperate measures.
The Justice League, meanwhile, learn why they've been having such a tough time reaching H'el, but never mind, they've had a good showing here, pulling together without bickering like brats. I hope this team shows up in the Justice League book sometime ...
While much of this issue continues the fight seen in the preceding Superboy, Supergirl and Superboy Annual, the dawning of doubt in Kara represents a reawakening of the character's intelligence. She's asking questions. Maybe next time she'll actually demand some answers.
Meanwhile, an understandably peeved Superboy bashes Supergirl soundly for earlier slights. As a massive Kara fan, it pains me to see her being the patsy of the crossover, but if she winds up wiser, and is the one to finally wallop H'el, I'll be somewhat happier.
For fairness' sake, Superman also gets to look like a total stook this issue. Asked why he has world-threatening creatures in his Interplanetary Zoo, Superman says he had no choice - it was a case of bring them to Earth or leave them to destroy their planet of origin. As opposed to, let's see, throwing them into space/the Phantom Zone/an uninhabited world/wherever.
Still, the moment pales before this sick-making little scene (click on image to enlarge).
Look at the above panels again, and give credit to Lobdell for at least bothering to introduce the characters, unlike some big name >cough< writers. We're also thoroughly appraised of what this crossover is about, meaning that for once a comic company's claims about issues being able to be read independently of one another rings true. And if readers do want to read more, foonotes indicate where to find previous happenings.
There's an illuminating moment that helps define Superboy's TK-based abilities, increasing his potential as a powerhouse, and I do like that Kon the clone doesn't bow down before Batman, like the rest of the DC Universe.
Kenneth Rocafort continues to put other artists to shame, maintaining a monthly schedule without compromising on quality. His heroes look tip-top - noble, strong, determined - while H'el appears seductively evil. And the big rumpus scenes work very well indeed, having a real energy behind them. The colours of Sunny Gho and Blond add final definition to the players while making the art pop.
While I like my Superman comics to balance heroics with Clark Kent's daily life, it's unrealistic to expect this in a Big Daft Crossover. I do wish, though, that a page or two had been devoted to Lois and the rest of the Daily Planet staff - what do they know of the current conflict, are they missing Clark, that kind of thing. I hope they return to the spotlight once H'el on Earth is finished. Meanwhile, this was a pretty decent instalment, showing how the various characters react to the same dire situation.
But please, someone give Wonder Woman a cold shower.