Customer Reviews: Superman: The Third Kryptonian
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VINE VOICEon January 29, 2010
I probably picked up Superman: The Third Kryptonian at the wrong time. At the moment, Geoff Johns, James Robinson, and Sterling Gates are busy reinventing Superman and his relationship to the world, as well as playing with the problem of Kandor, what was once a bottled city stolen by Brainiac. If I'd read the graphic novel during its initial run, I'd probably have liked it more.

The plot is pretty simple. A bad, powerful alien with a revenge jones against Kryptonians comes to Earth to get rid of said Kryptonians. Of course, he immediately targets Superman and Supergirl, but he learns there's a mysterious third Kryptonian. And the reader does too. If I hadn't already had Kandorans whizzing around in the current pages of Superman and Action Comics, I'd probably have been more curious. Now it seems like we have lots of superfolk.

Kurt Busiek does a lot with the story, though, and it goes through a lot of convolutions before we reach the finish line. I like the character of Karsta Wor-Ul. Busiek pens her as an ex-soldier and ex-mercenary, and she measures up in that regard. I also liked the idea that she'd retired to the country and chosen to lead a life of peace after all her adventures.

The story spun out through the second leg of the three-issue story contained within the graphic novel is great space-faring stuff. The idea of a behind the lines strike using never-before-used superpowers was fascinating. A do-or-die mission that felt like covert ops.

I also enjoyed the presence of young Christopher Kent in this story. His presence has split Superman fandom to a degree, but Busiek does a really nice job with him. I especially liked the pages where Christopher and Tim Drake talked and played. Really good touch.

Rick Leonardi's pencils on this section of the graphic novel are fantastic. Superman's actions were big and bold and properly heroic. I enjoyed the angle changes throughout the panels very much, and flipped back through the story after finishing it just for a second dose of the visual impact.

Two standalone stories round out the graphic novel. Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza join up for "The Best Day," with pencils by Renato Guedes. This super-family picnic was okay at best, but had some nice character interaction. Dwayne McDuffie wrote "Intermezzo," which is a nice hat tip to Jonathan and Martha Kent and the worries they go through on a regular basis regarding their son. Superman and Pa Kent's adventures in outer space were terrific and a lot of fun.

Overall this graphic novel is a mixed bag. Superman fans will probably want to pick this one up.
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on October 15, 2008
Thank you DC Comics for showing me the amazing telent of Renato Guedes! The cover to The Third Kryptonian, to put it lightly, is beautiful. Guedes' art is simply bright and amazing and closer to real illustration more along the lines of Alex Ross. This makes Superman more real, and this means Guedes' work stands out above other contemporary Superman artists. (Perhaps I exclude only Jim Lee) The story is credible but a little bit too simple at times, and has the potential to soar at other times. I liked that it addresses the potental for other Kryptonians in the universe that could be alive: rather than simply hinting at it or making fans wonder what would that mean? The downside to this? I wouldn't want "too many" Kryptonians running around. It would seem silly and take away one of the best modern themes for the Man of Steel," what does the most powerful being on Earth do if he is alone?" How does he deal with love, pain, anger, and other human emotions? You start getting too many Kryptonian friends and it loses substance. This looks more and more like a modern Day "Superman Family". Zod help us! The main body of The Third Kryptonian is helmed by Rick Leonardi (penciller) who did alot of cutting edge stuff for Marvel in the 80's and his style is right on, I still like it it's very modern. Seems geared for the new contemporary comics fan. There are really great moments in the story and Batman, in his cameo, as always is rock solid. He's just the best of the big three. What is not in the book that would make up my wish list items? A sketchbook section From BOTH artists showing their visual problem solving would have been a blast to see. All covers from the original issues are reprinted too appearing before each part of the story. I strongly recommend this to any Superman fan who likes to see the character at his best. Just start at the front cover and enjoy to the end. Visually, this is extremely enjoyable.
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on November 10, 2008
With all the epic storylines leading up to and intertwining with the Final Crisis storyline, DC appears to be cleaning up some loose ends and here in the Superman stories this is one of those loose ends. It's not a great story... Kal meets a rogue Kryptonian with a sad and lonely story, who gives Kal even more insight into his Kryptonian heritage. Unfortunately this story is just three issues and done, which means DC had to tag on a couple loose filler issues on the end. Although we get to see Kal's "son" Christopher in action, there's really not much meaningful other than to a true hardcore Superman fan.
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on July 28, 2009
I can not understand how so many reviewers thought so poorly of this book. It's excellent. The first 3 issue arc concludes a storyline started in Superman: Back in Action, and does it quite well. Who is the third Kryptonian the Auctioneer found on Earth? Great read. The second two issues are one-shots that really deliver. They both have a magical, and whimsical quality to them that reminds me of Grant Morrison's All-Star book.
In this reviewer's opinion, this is yet another in a long line of great Superman stories from Kurt Busiek. Great job Kurt, and thanks!
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on November 25, 2008
This book was a bit of a disappointment. Kurt Busiek is one of the best writers in comics today (check out Astro City or Marvels is you don't believe me. This story has the feeling of being phoned in though. It's as if he was handed a storyline from someone else, told to take all the relevence out of it, and put it in before his deadline was done. Even the artwork was stilted in some portions. All in all, not the best thing put out since Busiek took over the title. If you are a diehard Superman fan (like me) and like to keep up on what's going on in Metropolis, get this book. If you just like reading Superman stories, look to Busiek's Superman 1-2-3 or Camelot Falls books.
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on May 24, 2009
Busiek's run on Superman has been nothing short of a disaster. From the interesting potential of post-Infinite Crisis Up, Up & Away, Busiek has squandered every golden opportunity with lame duck "plots", woeful characterisations and uninteresting new "character" additions to the Superman mythos. It occurs to me that very few writers can make Superman fly, much less believe in him. Busiek is not one of them. His Superman is dumb, flat and did I mention dumb? Clark Kent is back to being a nonentity, Lois a hard-nosed b*tch and the rest fade into nothingness. Avoid.
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on July 8, 2009
Bought it mainly because of Renato Guedes' artwork, but sadly there is only a small portion of his work is in this book. The story is weak. I wouldn't recommend this.
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on July 26, 2011
Luckily there are three semi-related stories in this collection. The Third Kryptonian story sucked big time, nothing significant here emotionally. You'd think the discovery of another live Kryptonian would be something of momentous importance to the Man of Steel, but apparently it's just another day at the bank. Not to mention that the cast of characters defeats the whole emotional impact of there being three survivors of Krypton, because apparently Powergirl doesn't count (she's from Krypton in a different dimension) and neither do Krypto (because he's a dog) and Christopher Kent (because he's a kid and he was trapped in the Phantom Zone). This story was just an intergalactic, what if there were superbeings who did whatever they wanted and created a huge empire and everyone hated them and were glad they were dead, drawn out nonsensical story with too many loose-ends and I don't cares.

The redeeming element of this collection is the last supplemental story centering around the Kents. Apparently Clark is missing (in the phantom zone by the looks of the last panel) and an army of Kryptonians has invaded Earth. It looks like the human race is facing extinction and even the usually optimistic Martha Kent has abandoned hope. The story focuses on a flashback as Jonathan relates a father-son experience that they kept secret from Martha because of the danger involved. It's an intimate story that, while short, is far more epic and emotional than the three-part Third Kryptonian story. This short story alone nets the three stars.
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