We are finally back on the main storyline that started out in Against the Law. With New Troy of Metropolis being transported away by Brainiac, Metropolis turns to Superman to save the day.
Morrison continues with the theme of shaping Superman into the hero that we know and love rather than the use of elaborate stories primarily that revolves around the villain. As the title suggests, this continuation of the Brainiac storyline does not really focus on Brainiac as a villain but rather is used as a platform to allow Superman to embrace his past and future. In every scene, the characters (Kent and Luthor especially) underwent significant character developments. There is something really enjoyable about this as these aren’t really the characters we know, instead mere shadows of they will eventually become.
On the surface, having Superman choose between the planet he is from and that which he grew up on sounds rather uninteresting and somewhat overdone. We all know that he is going to attempt to save them both. That said, Morrison is able to fit in so many mind-blowing moments, such as Corben’s struggle and Superman donning on his Kryptonian suit, that made his fight against Brainiac very entertaining. It was never about their confrontation but rather Superman rising to become the hero of Metropolis. In an odd way, it was really Krypton who stole the spotlight here. Kal’s discovery of his Kryptonian origins to emerging gloriously in his classic suit were only topped once again by Kal’s ship – the little ship that carried him to Earth when he was a baby. Morrison made used of elements introduced in the filler arc Legion Aid to really showcase the might of Krypton which I thought was incredible!
Other key players in this Nature or Nurture are Lex Luthor (obviously), Steel (John Henry Irons) and this mysterious guy who has been appearing consistently in all of the arcs thus far. Lex’s self-serving nature was explicitly displayed when his connection with Brainiac is revealed to Lois. Furthermore, his insistence on risking human lives for weaponry only amplifies the characters materialistic ambitions and exhibits his lack of concern for his fellow humans. Even when he is not the villain, Morrison manages to keep true to the character’s true nature. Nature or Nurture ended off with the startling reveal that Kent’s drive towards taking down Glen Glenmorgan was fuelled by none other than Lex Luthor, in an attempt to use Clark to get rid of him so that he can fill the power vacuum left by his arrest – another unexpected twist in an already elaborate plot.
Dr Irons on the other hand had lesser appearances but that didn’t stop his scenes from being anything less than impressive. With superman off to save New Troy, Dr Irons as Steel is left to protect the rest of the people back in Metropolis. Seeing Steel as a superhero and demonstrating the awareness of his strengths and weaknesses is really illuminating. While I highly down Steel will ever rise to a Justice League level member, he does have the potential to be a key player in Superman related arcs in Prime Earth.
Within the arc, Morrison seamlessly integrated hints of the future of series – a future enemy: the Multitude. While nothing is really known about this enemy, we do know that they have the power to destroy Earth which prompted Brainiac’s decision to collect specimens of Earth. Could Lex be responsible for this upcoming threat? Or could this mysterious guy that has been popping up randomly throughout the series be responsible? Only time will tell.
These first few arcs cumulatively is a true testament to Morrison’s prowess in crafting a superb story while respecting each and ever character’s true natures.