With each new trailer released for Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel our list of questions and theories grows, and even a single image out of context gets our minds racing over potential plot twists. Thankfully, Warner Bros. and DC Comics have provided some answers.
The Man of Steel prequel comic that just last week confirmed the existence of Supergirl a.k.a. Kara Zor-El in Snyder’s universe has now been released; and the inclusion of Superman’s cousin is the least shocking truth revealed in the comic’s pages.
Normally prequel comics or tie-in graphic novels are intended to expand on a film’s plot, or help fill in small gaps and backstory. But in this case, with the story provided by Man of Steel movie writer David S. Goyer, things are a bit different.
MASSIVE SPOILERS lie ahead, so stop reading if you hope to keep the nature of Kryptonian exploration, Kara Zor-El, and Superman’s Fortress of Solitude a surprise.
For starters, the plot of the prequel comic must be explained. As the most promising daughter of the House of El, the comic follows Kara as she nears completion of her training, intending to become a member of Krypton’s ‘Explorers Guild’; citizens tasked with searching the cosmos for suitable planets, and triggering terraforming projects to make them inhabitable to Kryptonians.
Keeping up with the previous spoilers that Kryptonians no longer rely on natural birth, it is explained that once a planet is made suitable for Kryptonian physiology, “stored embryos” in the ship are developed, planting the seeds for hundreds of Kryptonians to populate the new world. The impression given is one of a much colder, almost swarm mentality – Kryptonians are grown to spread and expand from world to world, turning every member of the society into a drone of sorts.
After losing her closest friend during training at the hands of another maniacal recruit, Dev-Em, Kara defeats the killer. As the first documented murderer in over a century, the Kryptonian authorities choose not to execute Dev-Em, claiming they are not as barbaric as the Thanagarians – a nod to Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and yet another hint at the shared universe Man of Steel will be launching.
Meanwhile, Kara graduates with distinction, and prepares to command her own Scout Ship. The Scout Ship – of which there are literally hundreds preparing to depart – matches the look and structure of those seen in the many Man of Steel trailers, presumably in the service of General Zod.
Once the journey is under way, Kara and her crew enter cryogenic pods for the ten-year-long sleep until they reach their unnamed destination. At the same time, it is discovered that Dev-Em has escaped his cell, although no one knows where he has fled to, or why. Kara awakes, wondering why the rest of the cryopods surrounding her are already empty.
Leaving her pod, Kara soon discovers that Dev-Em has smuggled himself onto her ship, and one-by-one, pulled her crew members from stasis and forced them to follow his command. While Kara has slept, Dev-Em has lived the decade in near-isolation, as the rest of the ship’s crew have been reduced to skeletons, still encased in their armor.
It appears to be these skeletons that show up in the most recent Zod-centric MoS trailer, still clutching their weapons.
In confronting Dev-Em, Kara soon finds that instead of their intended target, the ship has entered Earth’s own solar system – although the maniac’s reasons for doing so aren’t explained. A fight soon erupts between the now-super-strong Kryptonians, doing catastrophic damage to the ship as it nears Earth.
Kara attempts to land the ship, but ultimately crashes it into the arctic, last seen clutching her command chair. Dev-Em and Kara’s fate is left a mystery as time passes and the Scout Ship is slowly covered by snow and ice, until it is revealed to be the alien structure we highlighted in our previous trailer analysis – the structure Goyer has since confirmed is the presumed Fortress of Solitude.
Adding further evidence to this theory: the interior shots of Kara’s ship are a near-perfect match for the darkened hallway that we have suspected was the Fortress since the very beginning. Which means the previously unknown wall-mounted pods are the same cryogenic chambers used by Kara’s crew.
Is Clark observing mummified Kryptonians in this scene, Kara having placed them back into their pods as a burial? Has she preserved herself in one as well? Did she even survive the crash? And what of the Kryptonian embryos stored on board?
These are all questions that will hopefully be answered in the film. What we do know is how the ship got there, what may be stored in it – and in addition, how Clark finds it in the first place.
The comic ends with a northern tribe sharing a meal; a painting of the ship falling from the sky, and the ‘S’ logo Kara wears on her chest decorates the wall of their dwelling. As the story then shifts to the ‘Now’ – a modern military base – it is revealed that the ship has crashed in Ellesmere Island, Canada. Authorities are left trying to understand how a signal could be coming from beneath thousands of years’ worth of ice, and why it would be sending a signal now.
The final frame shows the same bearded Clark Kent MoS now know so well, working his invulnerable knuckles to their steel bones on a fishing boat. The implication is that the signal is meant for him, but given the number of Kryptonians who soon arrive on the scene, we’re not so convinced.
Besides leaving plenty of doors open for bringing in Kara in any potential sequel, fans now know just how far back the history of Krypton and Earth goes. And with hundreds of other ships seen flying from Krypton to seed other worlds, the idea of the race being eradicated seems unlikely, even if the homeworld is destroyed.
That poses the obvious question: why is General Zod so determined to find Kal-El? Is it really just a personal vendetta? Is Zod’s massive mechanical ship unleashing not energy beams onto Metropolis, but some sort of terraforming procedure? It seems a bit obvious to claim that Zod is just bent on spreading Kryptonians over yet another world, but what else could it be?
Since we know Superman finds the crashed ship, and that it likely contains enough embryonic seeds to give Krypton a new start, anything is possible. At least we know where his family fits in, and just how high the stakes may be. Even if Goyer may have adjusted the fiction by placing Kara thousands of years before Kal-El was even born – his parents Jor-El and Lara are noticeably absent from the comic altogether.
What do you think of this backstory? Does this make you Superman fans even more excited for what twists and turns Snyder and Goyer have in store? Or will you only be happy if this story gets told on the big screen as well? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Man of Steel will be in theaters on June 14th, 2013.
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