Superman is most known for being immensely powerful, a loyal superhero and friend. Most importantly, he is an immigrant from another planet that has long ago been destroyed, according to DC Comics. However, in the continuity of Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman picture, Krypton is still alive and well, albeit imprisoned by evil powers. The Christopher Reeve version of the Man of Steel finally returns home in Superman ’78 #3. Robert Venditti wrote it with art by Wilfredo Torres and colors by Jordie Bellaire.
The story in Superman ’78 picks up just after the first picture. The alien synthezoid Brainiac has come to Earth to capture and classify Kal-El. It is as a Kryptonian considered an “invasive species” that might be destructive to the planet. Superman voluntarily takes Brainiac to his ship orbiting the earth, seeing the power of his antagonist and the havoc Brainiac has already wreaked on Metropolis (while a truly jubilant Lex Luthor smiles from below).
Superman discovers, to his horror, that Brainiac has kidnapped thousands of beings. He even more astonishingly has figured out how to reduce their habitats. So they can store more efficiently on his spacecraft (which is already immense). Brainiac zaps Superman and seemingly vaporizes him. But Clark soon awakens in a new area filled with white, crystalline objects. Other white-robed figures appear to greet him, one of them has a familiar “S” shield on his chest. Jor-El (played by the late Marlon Brando) is Superman’s father, and Superman has returned home.
Superman ’78 and Kryptonian science
For fans of the early Donner Superman pictures, particularly the first, this is a stunning development. Superman has never visited Krypton. He knows about it just slightly more than the typical DC universe inhabitant – that is, very little. The 1978 film famously did away with the classic 1960s Buck Rogers-esque designs of Krypton seen in the comics in favor of a more stark, monochromatic design; perhaps indicative of the fact that Kryptonian science stagnated in the Richard Donner universe, and free thinkers like Jor-El face criticism.
In the standard DC storyline, Superman has traveled back in time to Krypton multiple times. (though in all instances, Krypton could not be saved). Outside of chats with the picture of his father in the Fortress of Solitude, Christopher Reeve’s version of the character has never seen his house. He has no idea what it looks like. Superman is as alien to Krypton as the reader is. Despite returning home, Clark is no closer to feeling at home.