This is definitely a different direction for SUPERMAN. For months we've been left wondering what could be done to give the series a boost. Lobdell appears to be determined to give the book that boost. As a zero issue, we're going back further than five years.
We get to see Krypton before Superman was born and before the planet blows up. Through some narration by Superman himself, we learn a bit more about Jor-El and his quest to determine if Krypton's fate can be averted. With others working against him, it's not just a simple matter of trying to report his findings to the Science Council. And be prepared to see a different side of Lara as well.
Rocafort's art and Sunny Gho's colors make this a beautiful issue. It's almost strange to see Krypton depicted in this way but when the action cranks up, it all looks good.
It might be meant to make Jor-El a more formidable character but he was too calm when his life was in danger. As Superman's father, he should be brave and determined but with so much at risk, you would think he'd be a little more concerned with his safety.
Throughout the issue, we get several reminders as to Jor-El not being able to save the planet. It's meant to make the issue easily accessible to new readers but almost felt a little repetitive. If this is Superman doing the narration, at times it didn't really sound like the Superman we've had in the New 52.
The ending will definitely leave you scratching your head. Throughout you'll have the question as to how Superman could be narrating the entire events. That answer only leads to another question.
Finally we have an issue of Superman that can give us hope. As a zero issue, it accomplishes the goal in showing us some new information about Superman's past (actually about his parents' past) as well as new developments that are fun to see. Rocafort and Gho make everything look nice and pretty. There is still more we need to find out about what's going on here and hopefully this will be addressed soon in future issues. Lobdell has stepped up to the plate in taking on the task in making Superman interesting and is showing he's not afraid to take some risks.