The cover by Fernano Dagnino seems more appropriate for a "Punisher" or maybe even a "Batman" cover, but just feels out of place on a Superman book. This is the case for the covers of the rest of the "Codename Patriot" story that kicks off in this title and runs through the Super-titles in the month of August. Rest assured that the cover is not indicative of the rest of this issue.
Following an assassination attempt on General Zod in the last issue, this issue focuses on the Kryptonian investigation of the crime. With Zod incapacitated, the leadership of Krypton's military falls to Kal-El, Ursa and Commander Gor. Gor wants to simply execute the assassin, but Kal-El convinces Gor that interrogation would be a more intelligent option. The interrogation leaves more questions than answers and when the prisoner escapes, well, Earth becomes a likely destination. See where this is going now?
The slow boil that this book has been building to is starting to roll. Rucka and Robinson have spent nearly half a year building the series and the cast up around Kal-El, giving us snippets of what life is like on New Krypton. While the series has tried to keep Kal-El in the limelight, Superman (remember, his name is still in the title) has been very scarce. This issue sets up a return of the Man of Steel instead of having him hide as a soldier of Zod.
Woods' art is as clean and crisp as ever, jammed with detail and loaded with characters expressions. This issue, following the removal of the dome and the establishment of Krypton's atmosphere, Woods has taken in the fresh air and used it to his advantage. The earlier grittiness that was used in this title is now gone.
This book may not have won fans over right away, but it wasn't built as a fast-moving story. It was paced to be a twelve-issue tale and that is what it is living up to. As we hit intermission, things are heating up and the "Codename: Patriot" looks as though it will add to the heat that this issue offers up. Now is not too late to get on board with this story, especially as it begins to transcend this title and thread through all of the Superbooks.