H'el has been thrust into the past of Krypton, a decade or so before its destruction. He's been found by Jor-El, who's been monitoring his comatose state for six months. There's a shard of green crystal in the chest of 'Patient H'- a result of Supergirl finally waking up to his lunacy and lies in the H'el on Earth story - and you might think the young scientist would wonder what it is (click on image to enlarge).
I'm going with arrogant git, and youth is no excuse.
We see a further example of Jor's near mystical talent for intuitive leaps later in the issue, after the Science Council have sneered at his theory that because he has Kryptonite, Krypton is going to explode (given that he hasn't given them any evidence, who can blame them?)
The fellow with Jor is Dru-Zod, the future General Zod, enemy of Superman and good movies. And I rather like his interactions with Jor, pricking his pal's pomposity and making him a little more human.
Cyborg Superman #1.
Also accompanying Jor, but unseen, is H'el, whose mind is unrestrained by the condition of his body. He's been listening to Jor's theories, fan worshipping the man he believes will be his best friend in a few years. He only just manages to resist using his psi powers to make the Science Council listen to Jor because 'I must travel with a light footfall here in the past, lest my actions alter the future'. Yes, that's H'el, whose raison d'etre is to undo the destruction of Krypton - writer Scott Lobdell would be better off telling us that H'el's mind powers don't work in the past, or while he's comatose, rather than making it obvious they don't work when they'll kill the story by giving him what he wants.
Honestly, the level on convolution on display is ridiculous. The book seems to be leading to some kind of 'I'm my own grandpa' scenario, which could explain H'el's conclusion when he sees that Jor has built 'his' spaceship years before he should have.
Whatever the case, it seems that as of this month, both Superman and Supergirl's fathers are responsible for two of their biggest enemies - Jor caused H'el's creation, Zor called out to Brainiac and became the Cyborg Superman.
What a mess. A big, stupid, disrespectful mess.
There is one thing I like, Jor's telling Zod that 'our people have a high capacity for cellular absorption' and that he's been positing the effects of different-coloured suns on Kryptonians - that fits in nicely with Silver Age Jor, my favourite. The intelligent, yet humble, good man.
Other stuff happens, a splashy moment that's somewhere between shocking and entirely predictable. It's all leading to another H'el-centred crossover, Rao help us. Really, I shouldn't have bought this issue, but I thought perhaps Lobdell, who's been doing an excellent job on recent Superman stories, might bring some of that A-game here, perhaps make H'el more compelling, less annoying.
He's more annoying than ever.
The art's attractive though, being the work of the excellent Dan Jurgens and Ray McCarthy. There's a good sense of place, and the characters are put through their paces with style. I'd like them to have 'explained' that confusing page above, but I suspect that's a script issue rather than illustrative storytelling - Lobdell making stuff up on the fly, planning to fill in the details later.
Gene Ha's tweaked-for-3D cover is pretty effective, and should attract fans of Lobo everywhere - hey, maybe that's who H'el really is?