Review: SUPERMAN #13
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Colours: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Superman #13: Superman, intergalactic hero! A major chapter in the galaxy-spanning “Unity Saga” begins as Superman reluctantly takes the lead in a quest for peace bigger than he has ever tried before. It’s Superman, Superboy, Supergirl and a cast of thousands in a fight to keep the universe intact. But it’s this issue’s final page that will have fans everywhere talking. It’s a moment almost a thousand years in the making…
Deadly plans, murderous schemes and evil dealings. Each of Lex Luthor’s offers means doom for the heroes. So why is Lex now talking to Lois Lane?
The artwork on this issue is impeccable. Peterson has done a superb job. I especially like the breathtaking depiction of Krypton, both from space and close up. And Reis and Prado admirably captured the tense encounter between Lois and Lex Luthor.
I also like that Bendis is making use of DC’s long history. How many newer readers would even recognize Appa Ali Apsa as the Guardian of the Universe that went on a roadtrip across the United States with Green Lantern and Green Arrow? Plus Sardath, Adam Strange’s father-in-law and Myand’r were nice to see, even if they do seem somewhat out of place here – but more on that later.
I quite liked the tie-in to Year of the Villain. Any encounter between Lois and Lex is always intense. Lois seems to be one of the few people who seems to understand just how evil and dangerous Lex is – even more so that Superman does. Clark always has some degree of naïve hope that even Lex can be redeemed, but Lois sees Lex for what he is and isn’t afraid to let Lex know that.
Also, I can’t wait to see what Lex is offering Lois that might tempt her. Knowing Lois, it almost certainly has to be some important knowledge or information. But what could that be. Lois, better than anyone, knows not to trust Lex, but will her need to seek out the truth lead her to accept his offer anyway?
And now for the bad news. I’ll admit that I was not pleased to hear that Brian Michael Bendis was taking over the Superman titles. This was mainly because this meant that Peter J. Tomasi would move onto other projects, and I loved his take on Superman and his family.
But I have tried to give Bendis a fair chance. I didn’t make any assumptions that he would ruin anything and I’ve avoided comparing his writing to Tomasi’s. And, I do think Bendis is a good writer. I liked Ultimate Spider-Man, and I love his current work over in Young Justice. But, good God, Bendis! You are making a mess of Superman!
Where do I start? Jon suddenly being robbed of half his childhood, just so you can put him in the Legion of Super-Heroes? For God’s sake, they’re time travellers! Why not have them enlist Jon from 6 years in the future?
A insane and possibly evil Jor-El? Well, I could sort of buy it when it was implied that his imprisonment and torture at the hands of Doctor Manhattan had driven him crazy. But this issue seems to be implying that Jor-El was involved with shady business before Krypton was destroyed. I find it very hard to believe that Jor-El was involved in a shady interstellar cabal.
And the members of that cabal don’t make much sense either. Sardath and the Guardians are know to be manipulative, but neither strike me as likely to be involved in something like the Circle. Plus, the Guardians are on a power level way above the rest. I can’t see any reason that a Guardian would need to ally himself with any of the others.
On the other hand, Myand’r is the complete opposite. Tamaran was never a major player among DC’s cosmos. Myand’r may be a king, but I can’t see that he would bring much to the table.
And Bendis likely meant this as a joke, but Myand’r makes a truly bizarre statement: “I had my Chief Science Officer leave his cousin’s Bar Mitzvah to come check your solar system’s radiation calibrations.” Bar Mitzvah? Are we supposed to believe that there are Jewish Tamaraneans?
Please, I’m begging you, Bendis. Can we just finish this story off and move past this totally unnecessary and confusing rewrite of Krypton’s backstory and get this title back on track? I know you’re capable of better storytelling than this.
Despite all the flaws in the story, there still is the makings of a good story in there somewhere, so I hold out some thin hope that Bendis can still squeeze a moderately satisfying conclusion. But it’s sure not going to go down as a classic Superman saga. But thanks to the gorgeous artwork, at least it’s nice to look at.