REVIEW: Superman #13

Superman #13 is here and Superman and Jor-El return to the remains of what was once the planet Krypton. What secrets will be unearthed in this place that means so very much to these two men that carry the name El? Well, before we dive in lets checkout the covers.

Artist Ivan Reis has created a very dynamic cover of Superman flying at speed as if towards the reader. Now don’t get me wrong, I love this cover but its not entirely representative of the interior but that is common place in this day and age. Ivan Reis has done a remarkable job of capturing so many different soldiers in the background. That must of taken hours and it is very much appreciated.

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Legendary artist Adam Hughes created the variant cover featuring Lois Lane. Personally I think it has a very 60’s pin-up girl vibe to it, perhaps because of the hair volume and heavy eye makeup. The colours and tiny details are beautiful here, you can see the definition in her lips and everything.

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Superman #13 spends almost the entirety of the issue in the past, on Krypton during its finally few days of existence. Now we have of course witnessed these fateful few hours play out time and time again be it in the comics, animated series and of course the movies. However, not quite like this. and that is thanks to Bendis’ new addition to the Superman Mythology – ‘The Circle’. Jor-El is very much at the end of his tether talking with Lara. For me this conversation is very much a method to inform the reader of all the lengths Jor-El has gone to, to ensure Krypton’s survival. Like with most iterations of the Superman Mythos – Jor-El has already turned to The Council looking for solutions, and ways to keep his people safe. And yet again like with most iterations he is turned away with his concerns being shunned.

This leads us to tread new ground alongside Jor-El as he seeks help from ‘The Circle’. The reader is only just starting to gain knowledge of this secret Cabal who’s members represent the strongest pillars of the galactic community. During this exchange the reader learns the mechanics behind this seemingly omnipotent organisation, including the identity of some of its other ‘prestigious’ members. Now of course when Krypton’s destruction was chronicled in its earliest form, we didn’t have the connectivity we enjoy now when reading DC Comics. Due to this, a question always asked is ‘where was the Green Lantern of that sector when Krypton was destroyed?’. Well this issue goes along way to answering that question which I really enjoyed, and appreciate as a fan of both mythologies. The Circle comes across very cold and self-serving. They appear to be self-appointed and make decisions in a very analytical manner. They come across the same way the Guardians of the Universe does, appearing omnipotent and somewhat arrogant all at once.

As Jor-El’s concerns are shunned once again, we find him amongst the denizens of Krypton on the lower levels where he encounters a woman by the name of Kito who in my opinion he has clearly had some sort of relationship with. He questions her regarding Rogol Zaar only before being attacked by Thanagar Wingmen. Now this whole sequence of events of course looks incredible especially the pursuit of Jor-El by the Wingmen of Thanagar, however it just felt a little out of place to me. I can’t really see why Thanagar would look to assassinate Jor-El. Yes he has argued his case to ‘The Circle’ multiple times, however he always appears to have been compliant regarding their wishes.

As Superman #13 progresses Jor-El finds his way back to Lara and baby Kal just in time to witnesses the beginning of the end as Krypton’s destruction is at hand. Even one final attempt at pleading with ‘The Circle’ for aid falls on deaf ears. The artwork depicting the destruction of Krypton is breathtaking. The way the city vibrates as buildings crumble just looks epic. There is a certain majesty to the devastation depicted as the foundations and structural integrity of the city fail seemingly around the House Of El. The look of sheer horror on the faces of Lara and Jor-El as their world crumbles around them really got me choked up. I had tears in my eyes by this point. The way the couple embrace in the face of such destruction was just so tender and caring. It was a nice contrast to all the devastation engulfing the scene.

Superman #13 closes back in the present alongside Jor-El and Superman amongst the remains of Krypton. The pair participate in a heated debate as all that we have just learnt was being imparted on Superman via Jor-El. Understandably Superman is enraged by this news. Superman’s ethics and values go against every action that has been described to him however I do believe he is acting rather harshly towards his father. You can sense the shame and regret radiate off of the elder statesman, but what else could he have done. Jor-El tried everything at his disposal. This man had his back against the wall and faced insurmountable odds alone.

Superman #13 is a very enjoyable read and adds so much more depth to what is already a very established and world-renowned tale. I am very intrigued to see what role Kito will play in the issues to come. I don’t believe Bendis would introduce a character such as this without future appearances being mapped out. Interior artist Brandon Peterson has truly produced the most outstanding artwork throughout this installment. The sequence featuring the Wingmen of Thanagar was just sensational. The way The Wingmen man-oeuvre around the city is just so crisp and clean and with immense precision. Honestly these pages are just wonderful.              Seeing Jor-El of yesterday placed right up against Jor-El of today is very sobering indeed. This man has continually seen the ugly side, the selfish, uncaring side of humanity over and over. He has seen the end of the world, no wonder he behaves in the way he does. My feelings towards Jor-El have certainly changed thanks to this issue. His facial expressions during Krypton’s destruction broke my heart. Bendis’ deconstruction of Jor-El has been so enjoyable to me. Jor-El has had so many layers stripped away that I honestly want there to be a reconciliation between him and Clark so badly. The odds this man has faced would test anyone’s sanity.

As for ‘The Circle’, I feel we have only scratched the surface with this group and I’m intrigued to see what their purpose was regarding Krypton. In this issue we saw they had fair warning about Krypton’s demise and even tangible evidence by the end. What more did this group need or more importantly what did they gain from its destruction? I guess only time will tell.

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