Did Supes get promoted? Oh boy!
Superman returns to New Krypton with the corpse of Zod's would be assassin. And as predicted, there are some hoping to engage in a full scale war with Earth blaming them for the attack. The injured Zod makes his way to the high council meeting and not only names Superman the general of his army, but his final order is not to got to war with Earth for the moment. Superman must now take Zod's place and lead the planet during its time of confusion. -summary
I don't think I've ever entered into a crossover that didn't have its slow moments to the point where it just felt like filler. When these portions of a story arc usually pop up, they either range from just ok to not good at all. Superman: New Krypton Volume Four is such a story, as it's no doubt the lowest point in the New Krypton arc. I don't agree with it being completely bad, because I still found some enjoyment in it but it's definitely average with probably no real potential in being more than that. This TPB continues the New Krypton story arc collecting the final half of World of New Krypton issues 6 - 12. Despite the numbering in TPB form, this book actually follows directly after Superman: Codename Patriot, in other words, if you come into this after New Krypton Volume Three you will no doubt be lost.
The story kicks off when Zod gives Superman his position, with the Man of Steel having no say so in the matter. I remember seeing this coming from far away because of their development. Despite being bitter enemies, there was a mutual respect formed between the two which had grown to be quite interesting. Both men want the same thing, which is the safety of New Krypton, and it's apparent they would give their lives for the world and its people. Zod actually becomes more of a sympathetic character instead of the tyrannical villain originally thought to be, and I think he kind of overshadows Superman on various occasions as the more interesting of the two.
Now in a way, I thought it to be a clever move to place Superman as the general of the military, even though it was as clear as day where this will be leading to. We were going to be given a chance to see the more diplomatic side of the character, in which we get quite a bit of. The Kryptonians are put on notice by other races such as the Thanagarians and Saturnians, who make it no secret they have an issue with their high and mighty attitudes. So this leaves Superman to talk politics and play the peacemaker hoping everyone can be friends. On top of that, someone on New Krypton has taken it upon themselves to start murdering high council members, which creates a state of panic for everyone and tosses the possibility of a traitor in the mix. Thus, creating a whodunit murder mystery that can lead to a civil war with Superman doing his best to think rationally. This really isn't bad or exactly boring material if you're completely a fan of what Superman represents, however, it does get old quite fast, and I can imagine someone wanting more action or even more development for the main story. Watching Superman constantly searching for peaceful outcomes with very little action will more than likely become boring for some, especially when it happens twice over just a few pages. And the very fact that the main premise and everything that took place during Codename Patriot isn't even mentioned just wasn't a good move at all.
I think the writing team of Robinson and Rucka stumbled here in some ways. The main story and plot development had shaped up into something special, and this break away from the main story to focus on Krypton's state of paranoia and confusion seems too out of left field. There could have been some type of balance by glossing over Earth events, like the situations concerning Supergirl and Mon-El; very important characters like the former shouldn't have been so quickly forgotten. The only reasons I didn't completely dislike this volume is because there's a small amount of story development taking place on the tactical prowess of General Lane, along with the appearance of Adam Strange who left me cracking up with his wit.
The shared artwork by Pete Woods and Ron Randall is still one of the story arcs high points. There are some very beautiful backgrounds of New Krypton, as well as character designs of animal life. I will say that the reading format can be quite annoying at times. Some pages forces the dialog to be read completely across from one page to another, and it can have a disjointed feel at times trying to pick up at the right place. This is a format I was never too fond of, unless there were some small arrows alerting me on how to follow the story.
Superman: New Krypton Volume Four has its flaws, and it will not appeal to everyone. It has its slow moments and the action really isn't anything to go crazy about. However, the cliffhanger ending leads straight into the next arc, The Last Stand Of New Krypton, which helps this book end on a high note.
Pros:Some decent moments
Cons:Not much focus on more important parts of the main story