Superman #13 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Brandon Peterson, Artist; Ivan Reis, Penciller; Joe Prado, Inker; Alex Sinclair, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: How Evil is Jor-El?
Ray: Superman #13 is one of the better issues of Bendis’ Superman run, and ironically, it involves almost no Superman. Guest-drawn by Brandon Peterson for most of the issue, this story takes us back to the last days of Krypton and shows us exactly how much Jor-El was involved in the Cabal and the eventual destruction of the planet. Most writers portray Jor-El now as some sort of climate change activist, warning Krypton that the end is coming but having his fears fall on deaf ears. Bendis injects a little more ambiguity into the character, portraying him as well-meaning but a little unhinged. Even if he’s right, it’s easy to see why he’s not a person people would put their faith in. He’s also apparently a close ally of the Cabal, keeping peace in the galaxy for ages – but even they’re starting to lose their faith in him as he pleads for their help with the coming apocalypse that they can’t quite detect.
Bendis always likes to work in some of his pet references into his works, but sometimes it takes you out of a book. Case in point – a Tamaranian king referencing his science advisor’s cousin’s bar mitzvah. I guess it’s cool there are space jews, yay! But following Jor-El down the rabbit hole in this issue is intriguing. He seems to love his family but is growing more distant from Lara and baby Kal by the day. He descends into the lower sectors of Krypton hoping for answers, but only finds more questions. There are two ways to view this story – a harbinger of truth that no one listens to, or a disturbed man who sold his soul to a criminal conspiracy only for it to dispose of his whole world when he became unstable. The ending segment involving Clark and Jor-El hashing things out in the ruins of Krypton isn’t a patch on this week’s other segment involving a DC hero and their presumed-dead dad, but the Lois Lane segment involving Lex Luthor coming along to give her a mysterious box is compelling.
Corrina: I do not like this version of Lara. It adds nothing and simply makes her a sounding board for Jor-El. I guess Jor can have all the character development (even if I think it’s lousy character development), while Lara gets to play sounding board. She’s basically a “sexy lamp.”
And only Bendis could give us a whole issue with backstory of Jor-El but yet manage to answer exactly ZERO of the questions surrounding Krypton’s destruction. ::deep sigh::
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.