Anyone picking up this week's issue of Action Comics may want to prepare themselves for a couple of major changes to the status quo of Krypton's final son. One of them may be familiar to those who've followed Superman's career in other media (or even his career in comics before 1986), but the other... well, that promises some strange days to come for the Man of Tomorrow. Spoilers await.The final part of "Brainiac," the latest storyline from writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank, manages to offer a new beginning of Kal-El at the same time as the end of the world for Clark Kent: As a result of defeating the newly-revamped Brainiac (now an alien who's spent years stealing cities from other planets), the fully-populated Kryptonian city of Kandor ends up in the Arctic - leaving the planet Earth with thousands of brand new Supermen and Women, all with powers and abilities the equal of Superman's — at the same time as Pa Kent dies of a heart attack in Smallville.
This isn't the first time for either thing to happen, of course (in fact, both Pa's death and new Kryptonians on Earth have been seen fairly recently in Grant Morrison's alternate universe All Star Superman), but poor Pa Kent has managed to stay alive in mainstream comics since the 1986 revamp of the Superman franchise. (Sure, he's since died in Smallville, but come on; it's Smallville. Like that counts.) And with the exception of Supergirl and the Phantom Zone criminals, the rest of the Kryptonians have managed to stay away for that length of time as well. But while these new plot developments may not be wholly original, the timing of both leads poor Clark into something DC is calling New Krypton, a storyline running through the Superman and Supergirl series for the next few months, showing that without the folky wisdom of men and women like the Kents, great power doesn't lead to great responsibility... and that that may be a problem. Just guessing. Action Comics #870 makes it to stores today; Superman: New Krypton Special is released on October 22nd. [Action Comics #870]