Action Comics #994
Dan Jurgens, story and pencil art
Art Thibert, Trevor Scott, Johnny Desjardins, and Joe Prado, finished ink art
Rob Leigh, letters
As the issue begins, Booster Shot and Superman are on Krypton after traveling to the past. Booster is lamenting their situation because his top priority is to protect time. Superman’s priority is to learn the truth about his father. Now, if Booster Shot doesn’t figure out how to get them back to earth in the present time, he will be known as “The greatest hero you’ve never heard of.”
The story continues as Superman and Booster run from the Kryptonite police force while Skeets, Booster Shot’s AI assistant, directs them to the “time sphere” which will transport them off Krypton and back to the present. Meanwhile, Booster hails the power of the blasters on his wrists, force field technology, fighting ring, and strength-enhancing suit which he’s using against the Kryptonian police.
The story transitions as Booster Shot convinces Superman that any information he might learn about his father is meaningless if time has been altered. Superman refuses to leave Krypton before finding an answer to the question: who is Jor-El? Skeets corrects Booster that time has not been altered; a piece has broken off creating a void that time is trying to fill with new time (huh?). Superman is confused by Skeet’s explanation and asks, “New Time?” Booster summarizes the conversation in practical terms. They need to leave before Zod shows up at the time sphere.
Meanwhile Zod and Jor-El are puzzling over Superman and Booster Shot’s presence. Zod sees the symbol on Superman’s chest and matches it to the house of El. He orders the Eradicators to capture or kill Superman. The Eradicators fire on Superman and Booster Shot as they stand arguing by the “time sphere”. Zod arrives and begins to pound on Superman while Booster warns that they need to leave immediately before “time solidifies.”
The story transitions to Lois back on earth who is looking for her father who was captured and is being held for execution by a corrupt regime in Logamba. Jonathan asks Lois why Lois never told him about his grandfather? Jonathan tells Lois that he doesn’t want to lose a grandfather he never met after losing a grandfather he never knew – referring the Jor-El. Lois has a conversation with a general who informs her that there will be no efforts by the military to free her father. Lois takes the general’s refusal to help as permission for her to save her father on her own and as she sees fit.
The story transitions back to Krypton where Booster Shot makes an executive decision to leave immediately. He grabs Superman and flies them to the time sphere and leaves for the Justice League satellite. Booster summarizes the sliver of splintered time that never came to be: The Krypton people escape, Superman leads a noble life as a husband and father, and the universe benefits greatly by the enlightenment of the Krypton people. Instead, Superman watches as Krypton explodes and all of its people die, including Jor-El. Booster watches the pain and shock on Superman’s face as Superman watches this horrific scene unfold. The time sphere is affected by Krypton’s explosion causing them to land on earth in 25th century Gotham! Superman and Booster lay unconscious as the Eradicators arrive.
The story depicts Superman’s pain in a meaningful way as he witnesses Krypton exploding and all of its people dying. Superman’s rageful response fueled by grief can be felt by the reader. Meanwhile Booster’s anguished response to Superman’s pain, as the sole witness of Superman’s loss, is heartfelt, as well.
However, the most compelling part of this story is the parallel created between Superman and Lois as both search for their fathers. Superman was not able to save Jor-El; we must wait to see if Sam Lane can be saved. The parallels continue as Sam Lane is a disgraced military man who was operating outside of protocol when he was captured. He’s set to be executed and his only hope comes from Lois. Jor-El’s assists Zod and is aware of the evacuation protocols. Krypton explodes before Jor-El could leave the planet. I am intrigued to learn what the significance might be for Booster and Superman landing in 25th century Gotham?