Action Comics #868

Action Comics #868 ( DC / Johns / Frank / Sibal )

“Brainiac” part 3 of 5! The frightening storyline that sets the stage for the SUPERMAN event of 2008 continues. Against everyone’s advice, Superman has journeyed to the deepest reaches of space to initiate contact with an alien being he thought he knew: Brainiac. But after learning about the truth behind Brainiac’s existence and his plans for Earth, Superman may regret his decision.”

The Johns/Frank ball of awesomeness keeps on rolling as we get our first look at the true(?) visage of Brainiac.  And you know what? This version is not only mentally scarier, but he’s a physical specimen that can give the Man of Steel a run for his money.  Yep, Superman receives a beat down from mountainous science geek as he attempts to question Brainiac on what he did to Kandor and Krypton’s Sun, and his current plains for naughtiness.  Turns our the Brainiac is headed to Earth.

I do have one point of confusion that has lasted for the last couple of years. What the hell is going on with Kandor?  It used to be a shrunken city that Superman kept in the Fortress of Solitude, but that’s not the case anymore.  If your an old school Superman fan who’s just making their way back to a regular book, I highly recommend Action Comics but you’re going to need some continuity lessons.  I went to the Wiki (yes I know it’s not 100% true, but it’s the best I got) and heres what I got on the history of Kandor.

Modern Kandor(s)

Post-Man of Steel/Crisis on Infinite Earths

The Post-Crisis version of the bottle city has a somewhat different history, having been created by an alien wizard named Tolos, who trapped representatives of various races (including Valor‘s uncle) within, in order to possess their bodies. This city is not literally shrunken, but exists in an extra-dimensional space, occasionally connected to the Phantom Zone. Superman has not, as yet, managed to restore it.

Post-Superman: Birthright

The Superman: Birthright miniseries reinstated several Silver Age elements of Superman, one of which is Kandor. After the mini-series was completed, its place in canon was shown in Superman (Vol. 2) #200. Superman was thrown out of time and saw both versions of his origin: Man of Steel and Birthright. Entering the Birthright he experienced temporary amnesia. Afterward, he discovered/remembered the new history:

  • The city had been shrunken and was kept in the Fortress of Solitude.
  • When shrunken in Kandor, Superman again has no more powers in the Red Sun Krypton-like environment.
  • The city is once again from Krypton (but populated by non-Kryptonian aliens as well as native Kryptonians).
  • The citizens also recall Brainiac stealing their city from Krypton, and not the wizard Tolos.
  • It was not explained how Tolos got a hold of the “bottle city” from Brainiac. It had been speculated and later confirmed by Geoff Johns that Brainiac encountered the wizard and he stole one of the bottle cities from Brainiac’s collection.
  • Apparently, a hundred years have passed in the city (while the world outside has aged normally). Because of this, Superman (or the ideal of him) had grown to god-like status and is worshiped in Kandor.


In Week Thirty-Seven of the 52 series, Rip Hunter and Supernova use Kandor as a hiding place. They are using the technology of Kandor, along with several other pieces of super-technology, to find a way to fix the timeline before the villainous Skeets finds them. It is revealed Kandor is currently inhabiting the undamaged sub-basements of the then-demolished Fortress of Solitude.

Skeets does show up, banging against the glass of the bottle, terrifying the residents and damaging many of the buildings. In an effort to get to his two adversaries, he actually pushes the bottle off its platform, but Supernova/Booster Gold emerges to full size just in time to save the city. Booster is shown carefully placing the city back. Further shots show nothing more than the initial cracks to the buildings. Rip, still inside the city, is unhurt.

One Year Later

Kandor returned after the 2005-2006 miniseries Infinite Crisis with Power Girl and Supergirl temporarily taking the positions of Kryptonian vigilantes Nightwing and Flamebird. A full understanding of the nature of the Post-Infinite Crisis world of DC Comics has not yet been revealed, but it appears that many aspects of Silver Age continuity have been restored to the storyline, including the Brainiac involvement in the reduction of the city, and its future enlargement and rebuilding as a Kryptonian planet.[1]

The city of Kandor is now apparently ruled by Ultraman, brainwashed by Saturn Queen into a speciesist despot, claiming the Kal-El identity for himself, and center of a religion built around himself. The aliens of the city are a repressed minority, subject to arrest or execution on a whim. Ultraman does not treat his ‘own’ people any better, he murders several for inadvertently seeing politically sensitive information.

Kandor is shown with many Earth-like elements, such as tattoo parlors, alley-ways, common street muggings and movie theatres.

Claims of another Kryptonian city, Argo City, were also brought to light when Supergirl suggested that the city still existed. After exposing Saturn Queen, Supergirl and Power Girl somehow return to Earth. The final fate of Kandor still unrevealed, Power Girl blames Kara for having somehow compromised their mission in exchange for information about Argo City.

Sometime between the events of One Year Later and the 31st century of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Kandor was enlarged and put on the new version of Rokyn, an isolationist world that discourages contacts with aliens and strangers.

In Action Comics #846, it is revealed that in New Earth continuity, Jax-Ur was banished into the Phantom Zone after he destroyed Krypton’s moon, including the lunar colony of Kandor. It notes that the true fate of Kandor was never known to Kryptonians, however.

In Action Comics Annual #10, Kandor is shown on a page detailing the Fortress of Solitude, though it describes it as having been inspired by the Kryptonian city, not the original.

In Superman #670, it was revealed that the bottled city residing in the Fortress, and containing various alien races, was not the true Kryptonian City of Kandor after all. This bottled city was said to exist in another dimension, with the bottle simply being the link between dimensions. The bottle was destroyed, eliminating the link between Earth and the false Kandor. The fate of both Kandors is still unknown.”

So there you go.  Action Comics remains to be one of the best monthly comics, and the best Superman book you can put your 2.00+tax to. Plus it’ the second issue in the last three to have a breast implant gag!

Grade: A

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Updated: August 20, 2008 — 8:56 am

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