“Superman #13”

(w) Scott Lobdell (a) Kenneth Rocafort
DC Comics
$2.99, 32 pages

News recently broke out that Clark Kent was going to quit the Daily Planet. I’m fairly certain that will draw some attention to a comic book. It also happens to be the debut for the writer and artist on the book. Between these two details, I would think that it is safe to assume that we are going to get a general introduction to all things Superman in this book and how the creators are going to go forward with things from here.

When introducing new readers to a book, it is important to introduce characters and establish the relationship between them. With Superman being such a character firmly established in pop culture, you get a lot of the introduction of characters taken care of. People will come to this book with some preconceived notions of who is who and if there is something different than that established quo, you need to explain it.

Let’s take a look at Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen’s relationship. We got three panels that Olsen appears in yet we get everything about their relationship laid out. Jimmy is a moocher, and Clark isn’t used to living with him, much less anyone. So they have potential roommate conflicts coming up, and one is on display here when Clark walks in on Jimmy in the shower with a lady. That is perfectly done, set up, and delivered.

Taking a look at the opposing page and the introduction to Lois Lane and Perry White shows us something different. We get the Perry White/Clark Kent relationship, but what exactly is going on with Lois and Clark? They aren’t married, seemingly not in a relationship since Lois is talking to a Jonathan (who exactly that is, I’m not sure, besides maybe with Lois?), and somehow, even though Lois is a producer at PGN (not sure what that is and what it has to do with the Galaxy Broadcasting company), she gets to sit in on a conversation between Clark and Perry that should only be between boss and employee.

Move forward a couple of pages and then we get introduced to Morgan Edge, who is Perry’s boss and owner of the company. The relationship between these two characters are firmly established by Morgan’s rant on Clark not reporting the news that Morgan wants to see reported. This is the catalyst for Clark quitting the Daily Planet, and even though it seems a bit of meta-textual commentary is going on with Clark’s speech, it comes across as genuine to a degree. I will say that to include the words “truth,” “justice,” and “the American way” was a little eye-rolling to see included in Clark’s speech, but it still ended Clark’s career at the Daily Planet as expected.

An alien looking dragon then comes to attack Metropolis. I think that relationship gets firmly established. But then Supergirl comes around, only choosing to speak Kryptonian, and you can definitely tell that Superman and Supergirl don’t like each other. The alien looking thing turns out to be a creature of Krypton, and its appearance makes Supergirl think that Krypton is still alive. We then see a figure, who is cloaked in mystery and cannot be seen by the two. Even if they turn their heads slightly to the side and look up. And the issue ends.

The art is done by Kenneth Rocafort. I’ve seen his work on Red Hood and the Outlaws, and it is pretty much the same style from that book carried over to this one. Rocafort has a couple of distinctions to his art. The first is the layout of his panels. They seem to be just placed randomly and put into random sizes and shapes. Half the time your eye can flow with the work, but the other half made it just seem out of place. He also will tend to put characters into a unrealistic pose that faces the character out towards the reader. It is just like in a theater where the actors are all slightly turned towards the audience so the audience can see and hear them. The last page is perfect example of this with how Superman and Supergirl are turned towards the reader in some unrealistic posing. So when I say they need to look to the side, they simply need to take a look 4 feet behind them and that mystery character is hovering right there. For having just displayed super-hearing a few pages before, Superman is seriously lacking in that department at the end of the book.

The story and art is just underwhelming for me considering the news coverage for the book and the promotional pages in the back of all of last week’s DC releases. Some status quo was given for the character, but not really being a fan of Superman comics before, and not seeing anything here that is interesting to me, it isn’t a book that will be making my pull list anytime soon.