Review: Superman #13 By Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort

Review:  Superman #13

Published by DC Comics

Written by Scott Lobdell

Art by Kenneth Rocafort

The Plot

Superman is in “The Block,” which is situated near the center of the earth.  He has been working with Dr. Veritas for the past five days testing his limits.  He is overjoyed to find that he broke a sweat (a single drop) and as he is leaving he says something that has Dr. Veritas wondering if it’s a threat or not.  At the same time, Superman wonders if she took his comment out of context.  As he arrives back home in Metropolis he finds Jimmy in a compromising situation.  Back at the Daily Planet, Clark is arguing with both Perry and Lois and that ends abruptly when he finds some distressing information about Lois (which he comes across by doing something rather unethically).  Afterwards, Morgan Edge digs into Clark (still smarting from the previous revelation with Lois) who then counters a little too hard, which leaves him on the unemployment line.  Outside of the building, Cat tries to show that she’s on the same page as Clark, but is interrupted by a giant flying creature.  As Superman, he confronts the monster only to wind up being knocked into a different continent mere moments later.  After the conclusion of the battle, Supergirl shows up enraged at Superman’s actions against the monster that just threatened his life.  Unbeknownst to them, H’el is looking down upon both Superman and Supergirl.

The Breakdown

The new look of this comic actually suits the whole New(ish) 52.  It seems like a different approach to Superman/Clark and the art isn’t congruent with the traditional Superman-looking comic.  There are a lot of people clamoring for the return of “their” Superman from the pre-New(ish) 52 universe.  However, where were a lot of these people prior to the relaunch? The numbers don’t lie, this iteration of the character was getting stale.  In the months prior to the relaunch, Superman was barely hanging in the Top 40.  It’s been in the Top 30 now (better than that earlier on) and it can be argued that it could be doing better, but with recent problems of editorial issues, etc. the book has suffered.  However, the problems that the Superman title has have to do with things on the business end and not necessarily with the character itself.  Superman has constantly been reinvented over the years because it’s been required.  Back to this comic though, I enjoyed seeing Clark getting so bent out of shape with Lois at the Daily Planet.  Also, I enjoyed watching him more hotheaded while dealing with issues at the Planet.  In the old universe he was more mature, etc. but now I find that Clark is easier to relate to.  The battle was nicely done and it was refreshing to see him being thrown for a loop and being in genuine pain.  He’s been kicked around before, but I liked the way he verbalized it this time.  The revelation of what the creature was actually intrigued me as well.  This was a prelude to H’el on Earth and I’m looking forward to reading it.  The buildup has been good as a sample of this issue has been included in other titles this month.  It makes the story seem like a big deal.  I‘m looking forward to Superman, Supergirl, and Superboy interacting with one another again as I’ve missed their relationships.  The art brought such a different look to this book and it’s what the Superman title needed.  It seemed like this book was more than 20 pages.  In fact, I counted the pages afterwards and checked the price.  Overall I enjoyed the book.

BUT…

Kara is mad at Superman…again.  Kara doubts Superman’s claims…again.  Didn’t Kara come to the realization that Krypton was indeed gone when she found Argo City earlier in her own title? I’m not sure if this is leading somewhere or if it was a continuity blunder (with Lobdell’s recent history I have to ask).  I almost wish that we’d see a little more of Lois’ relationship with Jonathan in order to take it more seriously.  We know what Lois is like and to have her want to take bigger steps in her relationship is a pretty big deal.  I feel like the relationship is just there as a plot device.  I want to see it fleshed out more so maybe it won’t just seem like a mere stumbling block on the path to Clark and Lois reuniting.  My biggest complaint about this comic though was Jimmy.  In recent times, DC has been on this silver age kick with bringing back Barry Allen, etc. etc. etc.  However, they have no problem modernizing Superman’s pal.  I’m not being all “Good Heavens this has no place in my comic book,” but I don’t think Jimmy Olsen was the reason why the Superman franchise was stuck in a rut.  There have been so many changes to the characters in the Superman-verse, I wouldn’t have minded seeing Jimmy still representing some of that innocence that made Superman endearing in the past.  Also, he was such a dunce about the whole thing.  So does making him more socially idiotic supposed to be an improvement? One last point and it’s more art-related, Jimmy’s partner-in-crime has such a weird expression on her face.  She doesn’t look surprised or embarrassed, but rather sad as though she was being held there against her will (and I’m not trivializing any serious real-life matters, but that’s just how it looked).  This was just an awkward page altogether.

Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf-Read It, or Ignore It?

Buy it…although at one point it was looking like a borrow it.  However, we are still in the introductory phase of the new creative team and they should be given the benefit of the doubt.  The new visual look of this title is refreshing and I do feel as though they are going to really try some different things with the character.  The reboot was supposed to be about trying new things and this is one title and character that really needed it.  I’m going to stick around and see where this goes.

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