Supergirl 31 / Superman 12

Who can withstand the combined powers of Superman, Supergirl, Superboy and Krypto?

The Super-books cross over as the House of El joins forces to combat Rogol Zaar and his band of maniacal misfits.

Supergirl 31
Written by Marc Andreyko
Pencils by Kevin Maguire and Eduardo Pansica
Inks by Eber Ferreira and Sean Parsons
Colors by FCO Plascencia

Superman 12
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils by Ivan Reis
Inks by Joe Prado and Oclair Albert
Colors by Alex Sinclair

Reading Superman comics in the 1990s, you got used to having an interconnected series of books coming out week-to-week, all continuing the same story in their own way. The four Superman books – Action Comics, Superman, Adventures of Superman and Superman: Man of Steel – each came out on subsequent Wednesdays and had different creative teams doing a new chapter of the story. I loved that level of story telling. There was a new Super-book every week and you only had to wait a week for the epic to continue instead of a month.

It’s been a long time since DC Comics has tried that level of storytelling with Superman, though I think if it ever was to happen again, it would be under writer Brian Michael Bendis, who is currently writing both SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS.

While Action Comics has been focusing on the build to EVENT LEVIATHAN lately, the main Superman book has dealt with the aftermath of Clark and Lois allowing their son, Jon, to go off on a space adventure with Jor-El, which resulted in Job aging 6-7 years and Jor-El being center in an intergalactic war.

Meanwhile, Marc Andreyko has taken over Supergirl and has made it a supplemental book to what Bendis was doing in Superman, with the Girl of Steel going out into space to find out more about Rogol Zaar, the superpowered psychopath who claims to have destroyed Krypton. She has Krypto by her side, Zaar’s axe at the ready and has discovered yet another secret galactic group pulling the strings (which included a Guardian of the Universe) that called for Zaar to destroy the planet.

The two stories converge this week, with both Superman and Supergirl showing different interpretations of the same events. Superman and Superboy are battling Zaar, Zod and other Phantom Zone escapees trying to kill Jor-El while trying to quell a three-way space war. And Supergirl, thankfully, comes back to lend a hand before she goes off on her own mission to take down The Circle (and we find out Jor-El was also a member).

I don’t necessarily care about having an overall shared universe in comics. I’d rather not have to worry about where Book B fits with Books C&D in continuity while I’m reading. I just want a good overall experience with my comic books. But having a small number of books band together to tell a larger tale is a lot of fun. Letting creators bounce ideas off each other and freestyle new ways that a story can branch off led to some of the best years of Superman stories ever. It can’t hurt to try and replicate that with a new group of writers who enjoy working together.