Lately the annuals in the New 52 have taken one of two routes. We either get an expanded continuation of a story from the regular series or we get a separate story with a focus on characters or story. The later is what we get here.
The main story by Sholly Fisch and Cully Hamner gives us the origin of the new Kryptonite Man. This isn't the same K-Man as before. What does this mean for the original, Dr. Abernathy? You'll have to read to find out his role. The person you see on the cover may be familiar as he has appeared in previous issues of ACTION COMICS (in a sort of different form) and was briefly mentioned before as well. He has a grudge against Superman and is willing to do whatever it takes to get his revenge.
Along with the appearance of the new Kryptonite Man, we also see the return of Steel and Lex Luthor. Mixed into the story we get to find out what they've been up to and where they'll be going next.
The back up story is an 8-page silent feature written by Max Landis (you can check our interview with him HERE) and art by Ryan Sook. It's a beautifully drawn story and Landis' tale will amaze and creep you out at the same time. This new Atomic Skull will be interesting to see whenever he pops up later.
I'm torn over the art in the main feature. I'm a fan of Hamner but there are times when his art doesn't quite fit the story. We do get some cool action scenes but there were moments this didn't quite look like a slightly younger New 52 Superman.
The design for the new Kryptonite Man was just okay. I wasn't completely wowed by it and his motivation doesn't really have me itching to see more.
We've been wondering where the classic Superman villains are and we're finally getting them. As annuals should, this double sized issue focuses on giving us the origin of the New 52 versions of Kryptonite Man and Atomic Skull. They both have similar stories to their original counterparts but the update is fitting for the new 'universe.' Sholly Fisch gets the chance to step away from the back ups in giving a fully length feature and Max Landis makes his comic writing debut with a chilling silent story illustrated by Ryan Sook. Both villains may not blow you away but seeing them in an issue focused on their story rather than mixed into a regular one allows for more exploration into who they are. This is what comic book annuals should do, rather than continue a story from the main series.