Review: Superman #13

[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writers: Peter J. Tomasi  & Patrick Gleason
Penciller
: Doug Mahnke
Inkers: Jaime Mendoza, Keith Champagne, and Norm Rapmund

Summary
Superman and Lois have been trying to stop Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., from capturing Lois’ new boss at the Hamilton Horn, but it turns out that “Candice” is really Kroog, an alien criminal. Lois demands to know what Kroog did with the real Candice, and she admits that Candice is still alive.

Just as Frankenstein is about to put Kroog in trans-cell, it is destroyed. The Bride, a bounty hunter and the estranged wife of Frankenstein has arrived, wanting to take custody of Kroog so she can claim the reward for her capture. When Frankenstein disagrees, she shoots his hand off and grabs Kroog.

However, Kroog explodes and somehow doesn’t die. The individual pieces of her body are fleeing and starting to reattach themselves back together. Instead of following, the Frankensteins argue, until Superman breaks it up, getting them to table the argument until after Kroog is recaptured.

While Frankenstein reattaches his hand, Lois takes the Bride aside and asks about what happened between her and Frankenstein to break up their marriage. She tells Lois that their son became a monster and she was forced to kill him.

Lois takes Frankenstein’s hover-bike back to town to free Candice and help any civilians harmed in Frankenstein’s attack, while Superman, Frankenstein, and the Bride try to track down Kroog.

Superman realizes that pieces are headed in the same direction, which leads them to Kroog’s ship, where Kroog reforms and prepares to depart the Earth. Superman stops the ship from leaving, and uses his strength and heat vision to reshape the ship into an inescapable container to hold her.

Superman then leaves the decision of who gets custody of Kroog up to Frankenstein and the Bride. Frankenstein gives Kroog over to the Bride and makes a plea for her to return to him, which she refuses. She departs with her prisoner and Frankenstein leaves alone.

Later that night, we see Lois at home, looking sad and thoughtful, but she perks up when Clark arrives, and the two of them head upstairs to tuck in their son, Jon.

Positives
The escape and recapturing of Kroog is a pretty straightforward story, and unsurprisingly more time is spent on the real story: the relationship between Frankenstein and his Bride. It seems Lois sees something in their situation that worries her. Jon seems unlikely to become a monster, but if he did, that could put the entire world at risk. Given Clark’s tendency to overprotect his son, would it be up to her to stop Jon? And what would that do to her and Clark’s marriage?

Also, the Bride’s statement that there’s always a lot unsaid between a husband and wife might have Lois wondering what isn’t being said between herself and Clark. Hopefully, Lois will realize that this is just groundless worrying and not meant as foreshadowing of marital strife ahead for the Smith family.

Negatives
Once again, Jon is barely present, only showing up in the last panel. This is unfortunate, as much of the magic of this title is the interaction between Clark and Jon. This isn’t a big drawback, as it allows Lois some time in the spotlight. The book is about their whole family, not just Jon and Clark.

Verdict
This issue seems a bit of a downer, compared to earlier issues, but this isn’t a bad thing. Life has its ups and downs. And seeing how a marriage can go off the rails could be an important lesson that helps Lois and Clark keep their own marriage going strong.

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.