Superman #13 is published by DC Comics, written by Brian Micheal Bendis, art by Brandon Peterson and Ivan Reis, inks by Joe Prado, colors by Alex Sinclair, and letters by Dave Sharp. The penultimate issue in The Unity Saga: House of El looks back into the secrets of Jor-El’s old life before the destruction of Krypton and why that singular moment is coming back to haunt the entire house of El.
The majority of Superman #13 is spent in the past. But instead of focusing on the adventures of Jon as previous issues did, this issue shows readers what Joe-El was doing in the final days of Krypton’s life; revealing some details about the shadowy council that was alluded to in previous issues. I found the revelations in Superman #13 very satisfying. The increased insight into Jor-El was handled particularly well.
Throughout this storyline, Bendis has crafted Jor-El to be a character that is hard to classify as good or bad. Instead, he is a character who well-meaning but has clearly made some questionable decisions in the pursuit of his intentions. We continue seeing these character traits in Superman #13, as his relationship and decisions in regards to other individuals are steeped with thinly veiled threats in regards to past actions he was associated with. However, it does nothing to tip him into outright villainy, which I’m happy to see. I think Superman stories are always best when Superman is faced with someone who doesn’t fit neatly into the black or white spectrum of morality. That situation is further complicated by the fact Jor-El is his father.
Superman #13’s bouncing between the past and the present means the art is once again split up, with Brandon Peterson returning to provide the art for the past sequence one again. I’ve always been a fan of Peterson’s work and bringing him back gave the flashback a sense of coherency with the previous issues.
The differences between Peterson’s and Reis’s art also work particularly well for depicting Jor-El. Ries’s art in Superman #13 does an excellent job of making Jor-El feel worn. While he is certainly desperate in Peterson’s art, he still has fight in him. A greater sense of possibility to his character. This combination of art really helps augment the effect time and failure have had on Joe-El’s character.
By the end of Superman #13, the stage is set for the climactic confrontation to the House of El portion of the Unity Saga. I am very much looking forward to the final issue next month. I’m not entirely sure of all the players that will be involved in the issue. With all the shadowy figures shown from the past and the characters that have already been confronted in the present, I have little idea of who will be making an appearance in the big issue. But Superman #13 certainly has me looking forward to finding out.
Superman #13 is available now everywhere comic books are sold.
By the end of Superman #13, the stage is set for the climactic confrontation to the House of El portion of the Unity Saga.