Superman and Superboy have flown off to the planet Galymayne in an effort to either prevent it from exploding or save its people. They were met with religious fanatics who refused their help, resigned to die with the planet. The father / son team was rescued by the scientist, Klain, who has been working in secret on a way to save his race, despite their behavior. Can Clark and Jon rescue all of these people? Find out inside!
The short answer is “yes and no”. The Galymayne people hate and fear science so they’re viciously hunting Klain and by extension, Clark and Jon. They are fully aware that the planet is going to explode and have decided that it’s god’s will that they all die, too. Klain has come up with a plan that would allow his race to live on, however he would not be able to save everyone.
This speaks to the struggle that Superman goes through on a daily basis. Despite his incredible powers, there are times that he can’t prevent death, injury, or destruction. He’s still only one man. Although he knows this and he’s encountered it time and time again, he still refuses to accept it. Even in a situation like this, where the Galaymayne people are actively fighting against his help and just want to die, he still pushes on to try to save them.
This inner turmoil plays out on his face. You can see the reluctant resignation as he comes to terms with the inevitable deaths this planet is about to endure. There’s a brief moment where it looks like he might have gotten through to the people, but by that point, it’s too late. Superman doesn’t fly into a rage or frantically try to grab some folks and whisk them off the planet. He’s just sad. He can do so much, but in this case, he’s powerless.
Artist Ed Benes captures that emotion perfectly. It’s balanced with some great, outnumbered battles as Superman fights off the Galymayne people. There’s just the right amount of action coupled with the more personal, philosophical moments. Although, I will point out that Benes is the second artist in a two part story arc. You’d think the editorial team could have had a single artist work on this short arc for consistency, but that seems to be happening a lot with DC Comics lately.
Jon takes a back seat to most of the action in this issue. He’s in the thick of it when an initial battle, but his father sends him away. There are some valuable lessons shared by the end as the two find some beauty in all this destruction, not to mention a glimmer of hope for the future. It’s still a strange way for a father and son to bond.
It’s hard to read Superman #41 and not draw parallels to not only Krypton’s demise, but to our own present day political climate. There are segments of the population that refuse to believe in science when it comes to things like climate change. Obviously this comic is a particular extreme, but it does paint a rather grim picture of how far this could go. Writer James Robinson certainly gave us something to think about.
These two issues of Superman have been a decent interlude from the ongoing storyline. The arc had some oddities, but it still spoke to the core essence of the character. It makes you wonder if Superman could have done anything to prevent Krypton’s demise or if it was always doomed.