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In the build-up to this series, Superman apparently agrees to a deal with his aunt Alura that he renounce his allegiance to Earth and severs ties there in order to live on New Krypton with his people. He does not truthfully renounce all ties to his adopted home, as he tells his wife Lois Lane. He in


In the build-up to this series, Superman apparently agrees to a deal with his aunt Alura that he renounce his allegiance to Earth and severs ties there in order to live on New Krypton with his people. He does not truthfully renounce all ties to his adopted home, as he tells his wife Lois Lane. He instructs his friend Mon-El to "take over for him," and has conversations with the Guardian and Jimmy Olsen before disembarking for New Krypton. Superman intends to live amongst the Kryptonians in the hopes of easing tensions with Earth and teaching them to use their powers responsibly.

When he arrives on the planet, he receives a lukewarm welcome from members of the Kryptonian military. He is openly welcomed by Alura, who asks him to pick a guild with which to be employed while on the planet. While he is deciding this, it is revealed to him that General Zod has been released from the Phantom Zone and is lauded as a great leader and a hero. He is given his previous job as the head of the Kryptonian military, and Superman finds this alarming. Zod maintains that he no longer has any reason to hate his fellow Kryptonians, as they have now accepted him. While deciding which guild to register for and having an argument with Zod, he is assaulted by his father Jor-El's former friend and lobotomized disciple of Zod, Non. Superman disposes of him quickly, and makes it clear that while the New Kryptonians hostile to him are steadily learning their powers, Superman has had his for years and demonstrates his vastly superior fighting skill and capability with his powers.

When Alura asks Superman which guild he has chosen, he admits that he is not comfortable with any, even going so far as to liken the Kryptonians' working conditions to slavery. However, Superman ultimately is assigned to be a member of the Military guild and is referred to by General Zod as "Commander El". [1]

On Oa, the Guardians of the Universe discuss New Krypton, fearing that the Kryptonians while under the leadership of General Zod will return to a military expansion that the Guardians feared long ago before Krypton's destruction. On New Krypton, Zod boasts of a recently redesigned rifle made to kill native Kryptonian species. He puts Commander El in charge of the Red Shard, a unit responsible for law enforcement and civic defense.

As his second, Superman is assigned Lieutenant Asha Del-Nar. Together, they find members of their new unit forcing Non, a recent transfer into the unit, to fight against a vicious Torquat. Superman reprimands the unit and later shares a conversation with Alura about the Kryptonian guilds. Avoiding Zod, Superman runs into his servant of the labor guild who speaks of unrest in his guild. Zod then arrives and orders Superman to kill a stampede of beasts that threatens a colony.

When the Red Shard prepares to kill the animals with their new rifles, Superman orders them to put the weapons away and instead teaches them how to wrangle the beasts without killing them. Zod compliments Superman on handling the situation, but admonishes Commander El for challenging his authority. Their conversation is stopped when news of a Labor Guild member taking hostages, including Alura, emerges. Commander Gor, a man responsible for killing several human police officers in Superman: New Krypton, arrives and threatens to kill them all if the hostages are not released. This leaves Zod pleased and Superman concerned that there could be a loss of life on his watch. [2]

Superman tries to talk General Zod out of allowing Commander Gor to execute the Labor Guild prisoners. Zod is undeterred, but Superman convinces him to allow him to try to quell the situation without further violence. As a sign of good faith, Superman allows himself to be blasted with the red solar energy of an Archer rifle, which negates his powers for thirty minutes. Superman goes into the Galla where Labor Guild leader, Tam-Or, is keeping the provisional government captive. He appeals to his aunt, Alura, and asks her to consider the Guild's needs should they agree to set them free. Alura allows Tam-Or to air his demands.

Tam-Or says that as Earth's sun precludes the need for rest or food, the Labor Guild has been working literally non-stop since New Krypton was formed. They want time to rest and see their families. Additionally, there is some unknown disease spreading through the Labor Guild ranks, even though that shouldn't be possible, and they want the Science Guild to find out why. Finally, they want a representation on the new Science Council being formed. Alura agrees to the first two requests, but points out that the Labor Guild has never had a seat on the Science Council in Kryptonian history, to which Superman points out that this is New Krypton. Alura finally agrees to consider the third demand if the Labor Guild agree to stand down.

The Labor Guild surrenders and sets down their weapons. Superman has resolved the situation peacefully before General Zod's deadline. Commander Gor however, having not received the order to stand down, sits with a sniper rifle above the square where Alura and the others were being held. He fires a shot aimed at Tam-Or, but Supergirl rushes in and catches the bullet before it can strike its target.

Superman returns to Military Guild headquarters and gives Zod an update. Commander Gor, having nursed a dislike for Superman for quite some time, kicks him in the back. By Guild protocol, an official duel is conducted. Since both men have super powers, Superman relies upon his combat training to win the day. As the fight concludes, Superman turns his eyes upward to see three members of the Green Lantern Corps hovering above them. Green Lantern Hal Jordan tells Superman, "It's time we talked".[3]

Based on the recent arrival of New Krypton, the Guardians of the Universe have sent a fact-finding mission. Their first contact, Kal-El, is pleased to see his old friends, but General Zod arrives within seconds. He remembers the Earthly Green Lanterns that fought him skilfully when they last met, and he orders Kal and Tyr to give them a tour of New Krypton.

Flying over the city, Tyr-Van gives the Green Lanterns a rundown of the city's founding, before moving on to encompass the whole planet - using the tech they were able to steal from Brainiac, they have made a new planet. Currently they are building an atmosphere, then a moon. Within a year, they will be finished. Kal is proud and happy. He and Sodam Yat chat briefly about Mon-El.

Lieutenant Nar arrives to get Kal for an emergency briefing. Thirteen criminals were brought to New Krypton from the Phantom Zone, and adapted to their powers faster than the other Kryptonians. They have been on the run, but they have a lead on one of them. Orders are to bring them in, but the Red Shard has been ordered to escort the Green Lanterns on their tour.

The Green Lanterns are surprised, and a little unsympathetic, to find that New Kryton is building a fleet of space ships. Tyr tells them that they are billed as a security deterrent, but Hal Jordan believes Zod is planning something. Kal cannot vouch for Zod, but he asks Hal to trust him.

Suddenly, an explosion occurs at the other end of the yard. A group of the criminals were meeting here, and when they were ambushed by the Military Guild, one of them ruptured a fuel line to cover the escape of all the others. There were no deaths, and no apparent leads. But Kal points out that the Kryptonians can hear someone flying away very fast. The chase is on.

The fugitive is identified as Val-Ty, alias Greyline, a notorious murderer who fought Tomar-Re. They chase him into the scaffolding around one of the unfinished ships, where he steals welding equipment and uses it as an explosive. Nar takes the Red Shard around the other side and Kal and the Green Lanterns are to herd him there. However, Zod has his own plans - when Nar has him in custody, she is to execute him. Kal overhears her from the other side of the scaffolding, and asks her to ignore Zod's last order.

The plan is a success, and Greyline is taken into custody. The Green Lanterns prepare to take him back to Oa to be imprisoned for past crimes, but Zod arrives and points out that New Krypton has jurisdiction - and Oa has no extradition treaties with New Krypton. Hal is set to argue, but John Stewart gets him to back off on the condition that Zod not execute Greyline, and the Green Lanterns go home to make their report.

That night, Greyline is behind a force field, already swearing revenge on Kal (who is surprised to see Zod kept his word) and the rest of the Military Guild. Zod is impressed at his skill, but he orders Kal and Nar to be taken into custody and charged with treason. [4]

Kal-El has been arrested and charged with treason, as seen last issue. Kal-El meets his court-appointed attorney, Dyn-Xe. They discuss the details of Kal-El's upcoming trial and his defense. Kal is facing the death penalty if found guilty. Dyn-Xe plans to argue in court that Kal-El's arrest and prosecution is just part of a pattern of behavior reflecting Zod's long-standing vendetta against the house of El.

The trial begins with the introduction of the jury (they are called arbitrators on New Krypton). It is revealed that arbitrator selection is based on the guild system, so that the major guilds are equally represented. As the courtroom drama unfolds, Dyn-Xe, as planned, alleges that that Zod's actions are motivated by the desire for vengeance against the El family. In response to those charges, Zod withdraws as the prosecuting attorney against Kal-El, but stays on for the initial phase, the prosecution of Lieutenant Nar.

Nar and Kal-El both show mutual loyalty and selflessness during the trial. Nar claims sole responsibility for disobeying Zod's orders; attempting to take the fall and protect Commander El. Meanwhile, Kal-El unselfishly speaks up; confessing that he was the one to countermand Zod's order; and asserting that Nar is completely innocent. On those words, Nar is acquitted, and Kal-El's situation grows more dire.

The trial recesses for the day, and we see reactions from Dyn-Xe, Asha Del-Nar, and Tyr-Van, Superman's friend from of the Labor Guild. Dyn-Xe, who hates to lose a trial, is miffed at his client's confession in the courtroom. Nar and Tyr-Van are gravely concerned that Kal-El likely will face execution. Nar again shows great loyalty to her commander, offering to deliver a message to Commander El's troops, saluting, and wishing Kal-El Rao's blessings.

After Nar leaves, Tyr-Van reveals he has smuggled in a device which will allow Kal-El to escape his prison cell and leave New Krypton. It is immediately clear that Kal-El will not take this option; preferring to remain and stand by his principles. Kal-El feels deeply that he did nothing wrong, so he is not inclined to flee like a guilty fugitive.

After Tyr-Van leaves, it is revealed that Tyr-Van has acted on behalf of Zod and Ursa, who secretly want Kal-El to try to escape. Tyr-Van has essentially been a spy for Zod and Ursa since the beginning. Tyr-Van feels remorse for betraying his friend; as if Zod is compelling that betrayal through coercion of some sort.

Kal-El's restraining force-field is disabled, and Kal stay put to face his trial, as Zod and the others look on with great interest. Zod orders Ursa and Tyr-Van out of the room; and seems to be in deep thought as he carefully considers his next move. At his trial the next day, Kal-El is found guilty. It is a split decision, as one juror dissents. In his closing words, Kal-El expresses the strong feeling that he did the right thing by refusing to kill the criminal Val-Ty. He asserts that New Krypton was not harmed in any way. Kal's execution seems imminent. Yet there is another plot twist, as Zod suggests that the religious guild consider exercising their option to pardon Kal-El.

The scene switches to a holiday celebration. The Nova Cycle is a major holiday on New Krypton celebrating birth and rebirth. Kal-El and Zod are walking together, discussing recent events. The discussion focuses on why Zod prosecuted Kal, why Zod now seems to want Kal alive, and what Zod is learning about Kal-El's character. Zod, as a military man, seems to admire that Kal-El declined to flee to safety, and chose instead to stand by his principles and face death. Zod asserts that Kal-El's presence makes the New Krypton army stronger.

Supergirl and Alura arrive. Supergirl expresses great joy that her cousin is safe. This implies that the religious guild has acted favorably on Kal-El's behalf; although we the readers did not see that occur.

At the celebration, the ceremonial removal of the dome over Kandor begins. This is possible now that the atmosphere on New Krypton has regulated. Intermittently, a mysterious individual is seen lurking about. He wears a hooded robe. His face is hidden but appears to be glowing. He carries a staff with a sharp pointed end that appears to be a weapon. He was an ominous presence during Kal-El's trial; and may have been the executioner or perhaps the security guard in the courtroom. He appears menacing; and looks sort of like the angel of death.

The crowd at the celebration chants Zod, Zod, Zod in obvious adulation for their military leader. But someone in the crowd screams "Death to Zod", and fires an Archer rifle at Zod, causing what appears to be a critical injury; as Superman, Supergirl, and Alura look on in shocked disbelief.[5]

Zod is lying in his own blood, the wound is still smoking, and Commander El calls for a medic. In the crowd, the shooter shouts "For my people"; his gun still smoking. Members of the crowd converge on him and attempt to capture him. The shooter fights back using his heat vision; but there are just too many people fighting him, and the shooter is taken down rather forcefully. Kal-El exclaims that the crowd may tear the shooter apart; and moves in to prevent that. Commander El and the Red Shard disperse the angry mob; and then discover the shooter lying in his own blood, looking half dead.

We learn that the Kryptonian chain of command dictates that leadership falls to the commanders: Kal-El, Gor, and Ursa. But Ursa seems too upset by Zod's shooting, and only wants to be by his side. So Kal-El and Gor are in charge of the military; with Kal-El appearing to take the lead.

Kal-El and Gor disagree about what to do with the shooter. Gor wants to throw him back to the mob, so they can continue ripping him apart. Kal-El wants to interrogate him, to ascertain if the shooter is part of a larger conspiracy. Kal-El convinces Gor that interrogation, not annihilation, is the right course of action.

We learn that the shooter's name is Ral-Dar. When Kal-El and Gor ask him if he acted alone, he is evasive. When Kal-El is summoned by Alura, he tells Gor to put Ral-Dar back in his cell, for further questioning later.

At the medical facility, Kal-El learns from Alura that Zod's condition is not good. Whatever he was shot with did tremendous damage on a cellular level. The doctors' efforts to arrest this effect only seem to amplify it. They have had to put Zod in stasis to keep his health stable. Alura says that Zod regained consciousness just before he was put in stasis, and asked for Commander El. Kal-El seems surprised by this news.

Alura is told by a subordinate that the crowd is growing fearful due to the assassination attempt on Zod. That fear is amplified by memories of Brainiac's attack on their city. Alura goes outside to speak to the crowd; to calm them and allay their fears.

Kal-El compliments her on her speech; and in a moment of candor, Alura admits that she hates public speaking. Alura looks to Kal for assurance that the shooter acted alone. Kal-El indicates that they are still trying to make that determination. Alura asserts that if it is revealed that the attack originated from outside of New Krypton, things could get ugly.

At Alura's urging, Kal-El heads back to continue the interrogation of Ral-Dar, with Kara by his side. They discover that Ral-Dar has escaped, using the same Sunstone device that Tyr-Van used last issue to disable Kal-El's prison cell. Kara observes that the device may have been used outside Ral-Dar's cell; implying that he had assistance in his prison break.

Nar indicates that, using their surveillance hardware, they spotted Ral-Dar. He was seen leaving New Krypton and heading on a course towards Earth. Relations between New Krypton and Earth are already fragile; and Kal-El is concerned that an appearance by Ral-Dar on Earth could move things closer to war. Kal quite sensibly orders the Red Shard to stand down; since an appearance on Earth by a Kryptonian military unit will inflame things. He indicates that he and Kara will handle this mission alone. Kal also correctly observes that appearing on Earth dressed as Commander El will be inflammatory. So he heads back to his apartment, reaches for the familiar costume, and utters very familiar words, that "This is a job for Superman".[6]

Superman and Supergirl pursue Ral-Dar to Earth. A pair of fighter jets intercept them and Ral-Dar destroys them. Superman, Supergirl and Mon-El rescue the pilots while Ral-Dar escapes. Superman and Mon-El meet Guardian and the Science Police to explain Ral-Dar's plot and the attempted assassination of Zod. Guardian listens and is very cautious of Kara, who is still on the planetary blacklist. Superman brings up his past relationship with Jim and Earth, but Lois arrives to break up the tension. Mon-El provides an excuse for Lois and Clark to share some time together and during their strained reunion, Lois reveals much to Clark's shock, that Chris Kent is back on Earth. [7] Superman and Guardian go to brief the Science Police about Ral-Dar. [8]

Superman pursues Ral-Dar all the way to Markovia, where the United States President is meeting with the Markovia president. Superman stops Ral-Dar, only to be confronted by General Lane with members of Squad K and his own troops, with kryptonite-infused weapons and Kryptonian battlesuits. Lane orders them to open fire, and the hail of bullets kills Ral-Dar. Superman demands answers, but is called away by Alura. Superman takes Ral-Dar's body and returns to New Krypton.[9]

Superman is flying back to New Krypton, carrying the body of Ral-Dar, who lost his life while on Earth, at the hands of General Lane and his subordinates (as shown in Superman #691). Superman is heading back to New Krypton quickly, due to an urgent request from Alura. On New Krypton, Commander Gor is calling for war with the planet Earth. He argues that the weapon that was fired at Zod was apparently from Earth. Gor's words cause spirited discussion on the Kryptonian ruling council. Several members refute Gor's angry rhetoric, and point out that the shooter was Kryptonian, not Terran. Superman arrives, and lands in the middle of this discussion. Superman of course argues passionately for peace. He warns that such a war could lead to genocide, either for New Krypton or Earth. He also points out that even if some on Earth have been acting against New Krypton, it is unfair to punish all for the actions of a few. The Council continues to argue the pros and cons. Concern is expressed that there are spies and saboteurs undercover on New Krypton. There is some squabbling between the different guilds represented on the Council.

General Zod, although extremely weakened from the assassination attempt, arrives to join the spirited conversation; and specifically to make two key points. (1) He promotes Commander El to the temporary rank of General and Commander of the Armies of Krypton; pending the return of Zod after his convalescence. (2) Zod declares that New Krypton must not make war with Earth (at least not yet). Zod passes out and is returned to stasis before he can explain his "not yet" comment.

Over a week has passed, and we see the emblem of the House of El flying over the headquarters of the Military Guild. This is not Kal-El's idea. Rather, it is a Kryptonian tradition for the General who leads the Military Guild to be honored in this way. Since Kal-El is still in charge, we know that Zod's recovery is proceeding slowly.

Lieutenant Nar, Commander Gor, and others leave on an important mission in space. The leaders of New Krypton have determined that their young planet needs a moon. Since creating a moon from scratch is not feasible, the Kryptonians are planning a very ambitious and tricky maneuver; to capture one of Jupiter's moons, transport it, and place it in orbit around New Krypton. Councilor Qin of the Science Guild has done the math himself, and confirmed that gravitational consequences of this maneuver for the surrounding bodies in our solar system will be negligible.

The mission to relocate a moon of Jupiter has a name: Operation Callisto.

General El has summoned Tyr-Van, his friend from the Labor Guild. Tyr-Van was Kal-El's first friend (other than family) when he initially arrived on New Krypton. Kal-El reveals that he knows that Tyr-Van has been a spy for Zod since the beginning (as shown in issue #5). Kal-El explains how he was able to figure this out; and expresses that he feels betrayed by this revelation. Kal-El breaks off the friendship, and requests that Tyr-Van not see him anymore. This is an emotional moment for both of them.

Suddenly, General El is told that Operation Callisto has hit a major snag. The Kryptonians have been attacked while carrying out the mission. Details are sketchy because the enemy is jamming communications. But it appears that the size of the attacking force is quite large and intimidating, that there have likely been casualties, and that Commander Gor was injured in an explosion.

General El gives the command for several military units to leave immediately on a rescue mission. Kal-El joins them as they head out into space. All members wear oxygen masks to allow them to breathe while in the vacuum of space; but as Kryptonians, they need no other protection from extreme temperatures and other conditions as they travel through the solar system towards Mars, the vicinity of the ambush.

Without warning, General El and his soldiers come upon the scene of the attack, and immediately find themselves in the thick of battle. We learn that the attackers are Thanagarian. Superman mops up a few Thanagarians while reconvening with Lieutenant Nar.

She tells Superman that the Thanagarian attack disrupted the guidance system for transporting Callisto, and as a result, the Jovian moon is out of control and hurtling directly towards New Krypton.[10]

The skirmish between the Kryptonians and the Thanagarians continues. For the first third of this book, we see things from the point of view of the Thanagarians; specifically, from the command post of Wing-Master Vetalla Dae aboard her ship. A multitude of Thanagarians all speak at once, issuing commands or reporting status as the battle rages on. This produces quite a cacophony until the Wing-Master orders the other voices to be filtered out so that she can be heard. The reader has to work a bit to decipher all the Thanagarian military jargon. Nevertheless, some things are very clear: The Thanagarians are a very militaristic and aggressive society. In battle, they tend to refer to their adversaries as "meat". They dislike and distrust the Kryptonians. They allege that the Kryptonians were the ones to attack first.

We are reminded that the Thanagarians have disabled the Kryptonian lead ship which was guiding Callisto, the Jovian moon, on its course towards an intended orbit around New Krypton. The moon is now out of control and hurtling towards a collision with New Krypton.

A Kryptonian strike on Dae's ship, the Gryfalcon, initiates a chain reaction in the engine's power core that will soon cause an explosion which will destroy the ship. Out of loyalty and military honor, Dae and her subordinates express their intention to stay put and go down with the ship.

Meanwhile, General El and members of his team have boarded the Thanagarian space craft. Under Kal-El's orders, the Kryptonians have managed to cool the reactor and avert the impending explosion. Wing-Master Dae goes to confront the Kryptonians. Dae asserts that it was foolish military strategy for the Kryptonians to rescue their adversary (and thus forgo an easy victory). However, she takes it for the good will gesture that it is, and orders that the Kryptonians are no longer prisoners.

General El insists that the Kryptonians bear no hostility towards the Thanagarian people. He is told that the Kryptonians attacked first. Superman pledges that the Kryptonians will act peacefully, and negotiates an end to the hostilities. After Kal-El and his team leave, Wing-Master Dae is told that the Kryptonians lost control of Callisto only because the Thanagarians disabled the ship that was controlling the Jovian moon's trajectory and acceleration.

Back out in space, General El and his troops attempt to use their own brute strength to slow Callisto down, but find it to be a monumental task. Suddenly, the moon slows, thanks to some help from the Thanagarians using beams that transmit Nth Metal energy. (FYI: Nth Metal is the Thanagarian anti-gravity metal that allows Hawkman and Hawkgirl to fly.)

Superman heads to New Krypton and returns with perhaps every inhabitant of the planet. The combined might of 100,000 Kryptonians is enough to control Callisto and place it in proper orbit around New Krypton.

Kal-El and Alura talk. She reassures him that updated math calculations again indicate virtually no gravitational consequences from Operation Callisto. When asked, Kal-El says he thinks he knows how the battle with the Thanagarians started; he just has no proof yet.

Wing-Master Dae is invited to speak before the Kryptonian ruling council. Overtures are made toward establishing diplomatic relations between the two planets.

Suddenly, we see the arrival of Jemm, Son of Saturn, and his henchmen. They are members of another super-powered race. They muscle their way into the council chamber and confront the Kryptonians, speaking words that are hostile and arrogant.[11]

At the end of last issue, Jemm, Son of Saturn and his henchmen had burst into the Council chamber unannounced, interrupting a meeting of the ruling Council. Specifically, the Council was engaged in peace talks with Wing-Master Dae, commander of the Thanagarian military, when the Saturnians muscled their way in. As we begin, there is general chaos as a result of the violent and abrupt intrusion. Several of the security guards are down. Indignation is expressed by everyone present. Wing-Master Dae is highly insulted at being interrupted during this important meeting.

Jemm and his thugs are in attack mode. The Saturnians' powers include super strength, flight, and the ability to fire powerful energy beams from their forehead. We see them use those powers aggressively as Jemm taunts the Kryptonians rather arrogantly. But when the Saturnians pull their weapons, General El has seen enough. He disarms them at super speed, and then responds with a little bit of force of his own; although it is very restrained considering the provocation. General El confronts Jemm, and introduces himself as Superman; since he and Jemm have had dealings in the past, but Jemm may not recognize Superman out of costume. Superman tells Jemm that this is not the time for fighting, and convinces Jemm to stand down.

But the war of words continues. Jemm is angry because the Kryptonians felt entitled to move one of Jupiter's moons around as if they owned it. Wing-Master Dae is angry because the Saturnians sided with the Rannians against the Thanagarians in the recent war. And General El is just trying to keep a lid on everything. Jemm does put in a good word for Superman, calling him noble, and thanking Superman for helping Jemm in the past during a time of need. It is out of gratitude for Superman's past good deed that Jemm, having spoken his peace, agrees to withdraw with his henchmen. He warns that the Saturnians "will be watching".

But on the way out, Jemm does a curious thing. He bows before the member of the religious guild who is present, and graciously gives praise to Rao as a "majestic God". Jemm and the other Saturnians then depart.

As Wing-Master Dae prepares to leave, General El asks her if they have established peaceful relations. Dae replies that no, they only have an accord. She indicates that this is as much of a concession as you ever get from the Thanagarians. On her way out, Dae tells General El that the Thanagarians also "will be watching". Superman must feel like he is hearing double. With the battle in the Council chamber over, things seem to get back to normal. Superman is invited to join the Council during recess, and he gets to see a member of the Artists Guild and a member of the Military Guild having a very heated exchange about militarism versus peaceful coexistence. We learn that these arguments are a daily occurrence within the Council. When Superman weighs in with a message of peace, his words are lost on the Military Guild Member.

The scene shifts, and we observe members of the Red Shard, Kal-El's military unit, gossiping about their members. They observe that Non follows General El around very closely, and ridicule him for doing that. They then mention that Lieutenant Nar similarly spends a lot of time with General El. They speculate rather derisively that Lieutenant Nar has strong romantic feelings for General El, and is trying to make it with him. Nar walks in on this discussion, and is visibly annoyed. She scolds them, telling them to respect their General, and to respect themselves.

Another scene shift, and we are watching the military in combat training. Commander Gor is aggressively bullying and hurting other members of the Military Guild, when Non jumps in and gives Gor a powerful and well-deserved taste of his own medicine. General El seems to really appreciate this, and uses it as an example to his troops; telling them never to be cocky, because there is always someone stronger.

Yet another scene shift, and we observe members of the Labor Guild complaining that they never got representation on the Council, as they feel they had been promised. Someone asks Tyr-van to talk to General El, and ask him to put in a good word to the Council on their behalf. Tyr-van expresses severe regret that he no longer has clout with General El since their falling out.

We switch to General Zod, still in stasis and recovering from his wounds. Zod requests a private conversation with Kal-El. They talk about Non, and why he sticks so close to General El. Kal-El suspects that Non may be keeping an eye on him out of loyalty to Zod; to protect Zod against an attack that Non imagines Kal-El is planning. But Zod reveals that the opposite is true. Non sticks to Kal-El because Kal-El reminds Non of Jor-El, who was Non's very close friend on Krypton before Non had his lobotomy.

Zod also asks Kal-El if New Krypton is ready for war. Kal-El indicates that while New Krypton is ready to defend itself if necessary, he is tired of hearing talk of war, and has no taste for it.

Suddenly, General El is alerted to a new security threat. Kal-El goes to investigate at the home of Council member Mar-Li (the member of the Artists Guild we saw quarreling earlier), and finds the Council member down, covered in his own blood, and apparently dead. Standing over him, much to Superman's shock, is his old friend Adam Strange. [12]

As we begin, council member Mar-Li is lying dead on the floor in his own home while the military bursts in only to find Adam Strange standing over the dead body. Commander Gor has already decided that the intruder is guilty, and is ready to kill him on the spot, when General El orders him to hold on. When Gor protests, wants immediate revenge, and demands justification for restraint, General El reminds Gor that he is obliged to follow orders from his superior officer. No further justification is needed. Adam Strange proclaims his innocence, which gets one of the soldiers very agitated. The soldier, Lancepe-Sade Vol, gets further irritated when the intruder calls General El by his Earth name, Superman. But General El orders Vol to stand down before he can do bodily harm to Adam. General El orders the military to leave, so that they do not tamper with evidence and taint the crime scene. General El asks Lieutenant Nar to secure the room and get the Science Guild busy scanning for clues to the murder.

General El takes Adam to speak directly to the Council. Adam explains that traveling by Zeta beam is not an exact science. Since Adam cannot control the exact location of his arrival, it was random bad luck that caused him to arrive in the wrong place at the wrong time, making him appear guilty of the murder. When the Council asks his reason for teleporting to New Krypton in the first place, Adam explains that he is there to protest the accord that the Council reached with the Thanagarians. The Rannians have recently been on the losing end in a war with the Thanagarians; and Adam questions the judgment of the Council in reaching this accord.

General El advocates on behalf of his friend, asking the Council to free Adam on the condition that Adam assist in solving the murder mystery. In making this appeal, he refers to Adam's reputation as a "solver of problems". The Council gives its consent.

As the two of them head out, Adam seems rather ungrateful that Superman went to bat for him. Superman earned Adam's freedom, but Adam resents that there were conditions attached, and would prefer to leave immediately for New Rann, his home. But Superman needs Adam's help in solving the crime, and Adam reluctantly agrees to help him.

Superman and Adam Strange make the rounds; heading first to the crime scene, and then to the morgue, to check in with the Science Guild and learn the interim results of their investigation. The inspection of the corpse has yielded some evidence that the murder weapon is a tool used by the Labor Guild to fire red sun energy bursts to help prune and control the thick vegetation of New Krypton.

This leads Superman and Adam to confront the Labor Guild members at work. Kal-El is looking to find and speak to Tam-Or, the unofficial spokesman of the Labor Guild. But General El and Adam get a very chilly reception. Tyr-Van is very verbal about their unhappiness with lack of Labor Guild representation on the Council. As he expresses this, other Labor Guild members shout out their concurrence.

In the meantime, we learn that Labor Guild members are contracting a mysterious illness. General El looks to get medical help for Sura, a young laborer who has been stricken with the disease. We learn that she is a close friend, or perhaps the girlfriend, of Tyr-Van.

Superman's kind gesture does not seem to be appreciated; because in the next instant, things get ugly. When Adam spots Tam-Or, General El attempts to pursue him, but the Labor Guild members assault and restrain him. The military members arrive just in time to watch their general receive a punch to the face. Tempers flare, and it appears that a full-scale riot is imminent. General El takes command of the situation. He directs the Red Shard to pull back. He then uses a combination of persuasive rhetoric and an effective retaliatory strike against his attacker to deter the members of the Labor Guild. Meanwhile, as Adam pursues Tam-Or, he calls out to him, suggesting that perhaps Tam-Or is being framed, and that he wants to help. But Tam-Or does not stick around to hear the details.

Lieutenant Nar initiates the use of orbital scanners to continue the search for Tam-Or. In the meantime, Superman and Adam Strange debate whether Tam-Or fled because he is guilty, or just because he was scared. They consider whether the attack was directed personally at Mar-Li, or whether it was a politically motivated attack against the Council. If so, then instead of calling this a murder, it might be more accurate to label it an assassination.[13]

General El arrives as the Council members are arguing about the murders and who caused them. The Council members express fear at being targeted. Tempers and emotions are spiraling out of control. Alura's pleas for calm go unheeded. In their discussions, Council members focus their suspicions on two groups: the Labor Guild, and the people of Earth.

As he enters the chamber, General El notifies the group that the murder weapon has been found, and that it contained genetic residue from Tam-Or. Councilor Zo demands that Tam-Or be arrested, and General El replies that the Military Guild has been unable to find Tam-Or, although orbital scanners have confirmed that Tam-Or did not leave New Krypton. These revelations cause the tension level in the room to rise. Harsh words are exchanged between Kal-El and Councilor Zo, as Zo accuses General El of shielding Tam-Or and secretly favoring the Labor Guild. When Zo makes a comment about Kal-El's mom, things get personal, and the tension level is ratcheted up further. Zo wants to send troops into the Labor Guild sector, while Alura argues that this will inflame the situation. Zo continues to hurl verbal threats at General El.

Superman and Adam Strange head towards the medical facility. As Adam questions him, Superman tries to justify the poor behavior of the Council members by saying they are frightened and believe they are being hunted. Kal-El is headed to see Tyr-Van, but must make another stop first.

Kal-El visits General Zod, to check on Zod's progress as he continues to heal from his own assassination attempt back in issue #5. They discuss the recent murders and the ongoing investigations. Zod speaks with conviction when he declares that Tam-Or is innocent. Zod says that everybody is hunting the wrong man. Kal-El replies that perhaps Tam-Or can help lead him to the real culprit.

Kal-El goes to talk to Tyr-Van, who is despondent about his girlfriend's serious illness. Tyr-Van is also quite bitter. He recounts the recent events that have caused suffering and humiliation for the Labor Guild; and somehow seems to blame Kal-El for most of it. Although this is extremely unfair and undeserved, Superman accepts the criticism.

Kal-El and Adam Strange tell Tyr-Van they suspect Tam-Or may not be guilty. This revelation seems to soften Tyr-Van's harsh mood a little. When Kal-El asks Tyr-Van to take them to Tam-Or, Tyr-Van agrees.

They arrive at a secret military installation that Kal-El is completely unaware of. The Labor Guild has built this facility, which is lead-lined and soundproofed. This explains how Tam-Or could stay hidden on a planet where everybody has x-ray vision. Kal-El receives what sounds like an urgent communication from Lieutenant Nar; but unfortunately, due to the soundproofing and shielding, her message is garbled and unintelligible.

Kal-El and Adam Strange confront Tam-Or. When asked why he fled, Tam-Or indicates that he had believed that Kal-El was going to kill him. Apparently, somebody else has been feeding bad information to Tam-Or.

Suddenly, members of the Military Guild arrive. Councilor Zo and Commander Gor have followed Kal-El because they question his loyalty. Kal-El proclaims that Tam-Or is innocent; but this statement falls on deaf ears. When Zo and Gor openly threaten Kal-El and Tam-Or, Kal-El attempts to assert his military authority as General. However, he is told that Zod has just returned to active duty, and Kal-El has been demoted. This is the message that Lieutenant Nar was trying to send him.

Archer rifles are aimed at Kal-El, Adam Strange, Tam-Or, and Tyr-Van. All four are bathed in red-sun radiation, instantly removing the Kryptonians' powers; and Gor gives the order to "FIRE!"[14]

Superman, Adam Strange, Tam-Or, and Tyr-Van are in a very tight spot as we begin this issue. They have just been bathed in red sun radiation from the Archer rifles of Gor and his men, as Gor gives the command to "FIRE". Death seems imminent, but the mind of Adam Strange goes into overdrive; perceiving the attack almost as if in slow motion, and contemplating a strategy for survival. Adam activates his Zeta beam, executing a "whiplash program" by teleporting himself and his allies briefly to another world, and then immediately back again to New Krypton, but in another location. Adam's quick maneuver saves his group, except for Tam-Or, who caught a bullet before they managed to teleport away. Tam-Or quickly succumbs to the bullet wound and makes some cryptic statements in his final moments. Superman feels helpless, since his powers are still down, and he cannot do anything to save Tam-Or's life.

Gor and his team arrive. Gor charges Kal-El and Adam with treason, and announces that they are under arrest. Gor is feeling pretty cocky, since Kal-El has twenty more minutes before his powers return. But Kal-El is furious that Gor just murdered an innocent man, and stands his ground with Gor. As Gor again points his Archer rifle at Kal-El, General Zod arrives and orders Gor to stand down. Zod is furious that Gor disobeyed his command of "no lethal force". Zod demotes Gor to Lancepesade on the spot.

Zod and Kal-El exchange words on a variety of topics. Zod declines to provide information about the secret military facility; preferring to save those details for later. Zod asks Adam Strange to leave because he feels that the situation has become sensitive and political; and is now an internal matter for only Kryptonians to address. Adam says goodbye to his friend Superman, and then uses his Zeta beam to move on.

Kal-El and Zod continue their conversation in private. Kal-El provides Zod with a thorough summary of the investigation so far; and as they review the details, it turns into a brainstorming session. They question each other, examine the clues, and look for answers. Slowly, they piece together the following facts: A cabal has formed; and its members have been conspiring together to weaken New Krypton.

A clue revealed during his conversation with Zod has led Kal-El to the home of Wri-Qin, Council member and member of the Science Guild. Kal-El and Wri-Qin engage in small talk until Kal-El suddenly accuses Wri-Qin of nefarious behavior. Wri-Qin confirms this by punching Kal-El across the room; explaining that he has exposed Kal-El to synthetic gold kryptonite, removing his powers once again.

Wri-Qin, fully powered and lifting a defenseless Kal-El in the air in a menacing way, continues to talk. He confirms Kal-El's suspicions and reveals more details of the conspiracy. He reveals that Superwoman (who we know as Lucy Lane) had traveled to New Krypton and lived there for a brief time. She had acted as General Lane's agent, secretly recruiting selected individuals and persuading them to act surreptitiously, weaken New Krypton and act as spies for General Lane. The goal was to make New Krypton more vulnerable in the event of a war with Earth. General Lane managed to delude the members of the cabal into believing that this was the safest course for New Krypton.

But Wri-Qin, motivated by selfish greed, had decided to double-cross the other members of the cabal; killing them off one-by-one. His hope was to secure a greater share of the power in the eventual post-war government of New Krypton, under the rule of General Lane and his associates. Wri-Qin also fantasizes that he will walk the Earth with Kryptonian powers; bullying the helpless people of Earth just as he is currently doing to Kal-El.

But Kal-El has a trick up his sleeve. His military unit, the Red Shard, have been hovering nearby, waiting to be called into action. They move in and fire the red sun beams from their Archer rifles at Wri-Qin, equalizing the power imbalance, and eliminating the threat.

The scene shifts, and Lieutenant Nar notifies Kal-El that Zod has requested his immediate presence at a Council meeting. Kal-El ignores the invitation, and Nar leaves looking somewhat upset.

Zod arrives, and is miffed that Kal-El chose to ignore his summons. Zod notifies Kal-El that the Council has granted the Labor Guild a seat on the Council; and that Tyr-Van has filled that seat as the new head of the Labor Guild.

Zod and Kal-El talk about whether Superman has had a positive impact on Kandorian society during his time there. Ironically, Zod is certain that he has, while Superman is not so sure. Their conversation is interrupted abruptly by the arrival of Brainiac's warship, hovering directly overhead.[15]


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Links and References

Superman Our Worlds At War Book One
Superman Family Storyline
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