After a team-up with Batman and Robin, Superman and his family have found themselves involved in a conflict with Frankenstein. With the last two arcs focusing on Superman and his son it was refreshing to find that this conflict with Frankenstein is spotlighting Lois Lane. Lois is a strong character and has become even more interesting in her current status quo as she unlike her husband can’t just jump back into her old role. How her current path led to somehow coming into contact with Frankenstein was a surprise out of nowhere. And with the cover for Superman #13 featuring the wife of Frankenstein things should get even more interesting. Let’s get to it and see how Superman #13 turns out.
Writers: Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
Artist: Doug Mahnke
Inkers: Jaime Mendoza, Keith Champagne and Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Wil Quintana
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Superman asks Frankenstein about more details on the alien who was posing as a local editor. Frankenstein only says that the alien, named Kroog, is a war criminal who has killed many throughout the galaxy. Just as Kroog denies the allegations of being a criminal Lois punches her and asking what she did to her editor friend.
Kroog reveals that she only captured and locked the editor in her basement since she only needed a small blood sample to take on a human appearance.
Superman expresses his pleasure in finally being able to capture such a criminal though he wished SHADE informed him of this. Frankenstein says he didn’t have time to given the smash and grab nature of the situation, though Superman doesn’t agree with that type of action.
Lois tells Frankensteing and Superman to stop talking and to get the Kroog out of her sight while she goes to find her editor friend.
A SHADE transport vehicle arrives and as Frankenstein gets ready to leave with the Kroog the vehicle is blown up.
The Bride of Frankenstein’s suddenly appears, claiming that Kroog is her’s to turn in as she has been hunting her for months. Frankenstein claims that he captured Kroog so it’s his responsibility to hand him over to SHADE.
The Bride of Frankenstein blows off Frankenstein’s hand holding Kroog.
Just as she grabs Kroog, Superman says he senses Kroog’s heart rate and temperature rising. Kroog suddenly blows up. Superman, Frankenstein and Bride are quick to contain Kroog’s body parts before she can reconstruct herself.
Frankenstein question Bride why she brings misfortune to everything she is involved in. Bride says she was thinking the same about Frankenstein. They then begin brawling throughout the area.
Superman is quick to stop the fight and tells the two that they must focus on containing Kroog before things get worse as Kroog’s body parts have disappeared.
Bride goes to grab Frankenstein’s blown off hand and notice he is still wearing both of their wedding rings. Frankenstein is quick to grab his hand to reattach it and walks off to contain Kroog with Superman.
Lois goes up to Bride to ask what happened to the two. Bride reveals that they had a son who became a destructive monster. It got to the point that their son in a moment of clarity asked his parents to kill him. She says she did so out of love for her son and it caused a rift between Frankenstein and her.
Lois thinks there is a lot unsaid between the two. Bride rebuttals by saying that is the case with every husband and wife.
Lois tells Superman she is going to use her hover bike to find her editor friend while he goes with Frankenstein to capture Kroog.
While Frankenstein is hesitant to ride on Bride’s backseat to go after Kroog he is quickly convinced to do so.
As Superman, Frankenstein and Bride fly off one of Superman’ neighbors watching everything his house window.
Superman scans the area to find Kroog’s location. Frankenstein says that Kroog must be going to a specific location of importance.
Somewhere underwater Kroog’s body parts gather inside a ship. They all end up coming together to reform Kroog’s body.
Just as Kroog uses her ship to escape Earth she is stopped by Superman, Frankenstein and Bride. Superman is quick to make Kroog’s ship into a prison cell for Kroog to be sealed in.
As Superman finishes up capturing Krogg, Frankenstein tries to make up with Bride, admitting that he has grown to become an lonely man through his adventures. Frankenstein tries to give Bride her wedding ring back but she throws it on the ground saying she rather stay alone.
Frankenstein walks off, stomping on Bride’s wedding ring in the process, before Superman can talk to him.
Later that night Clark arrives back home and hugs Lois. After happily sitting together in the living room for a while they go upstairs to tuck Jon into bed. End of issue.
The Good: Following a long first arc Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason have become masters at delivering strong two part stories. “Super Monster” is yet another example of that mastery that they have displayed. With Superman #13 we see how they are able to balance strong character development with some action sequences in a tight package.
The thing I was most impressed with coming out of “Super Monster” is how I was completely invested in Frankenstein and his Bride as characters. These are characters that I am not all the familiar with from their DC Comic versions. In all honesty, monster stories have never been my thing. But Tomasi and Gleason turn my opinions on them around by focusing in on who Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein are rather than what they can do.
Frankenstein in particular gets the best character development. Tomasi and Gleason do a great job making all of Frankenstein’s dialogue feel minimal. By portraying Frankenstein in such a way we get a sense that he is an angry and depressed character, as he says later on, is lonely. Seeing his Bride probably didn’t help his attitude and Tomasi and Gleason do a good job with displaying his discomfort.
Bride of Frankenstein development is just as Tomasi and Gleason make her a battle harden individual in a different way than Frankenstein. With her you get a sense she has made choices she didn’t want to make but did them for others best interest. Learning that she was the one that killed their son because of what he was turning into added even more depth to who she is. It also makes her decision to not accept Frankenstein’s re-proposal as she has been on her own and has lived with her choices for so long she doesn’t need him.
With this individual character development Tomasi and Gleason are able to show us how they also complement each other. Because while Bride of Frankenstein is brash and unfraid to speak her mind, Frankenstein is much more reserve and accepting of his loneliness. This makes Bride turning down Frankenstein harder to watch as you can tell that in a moment he is willing to open up he is only faced with rejection. It’s a type of development that builds interest for readers that aren’t familiar with these versions of the characters.
On the other side of things Lois Lane gets possibly her best character development since the first arc. Over the course of these last few stories Lois has been relegated to the sidelines while Tomasi and Gleason focused on Superman’s relationship with his son. So for Superman #13, and the previous issue, to prominently feature Lois was refreshing. Seeing her openly take charge of the situation and ordering characters as strong as Superman and Frankenstein around was a great moment to see. Knowing that Lois had her friend’s safety in mind when dealing with this situation made her dialogue stronger as it came from a personal place.
While he was overshadowed by the others Superman did also get his moments in this issue. His standout moment as Superman was by far when he shut both Frankenstein and Bride up. It was a simple badass moment for Superman that we don’t get often from him. This was nicely balanced out with the sweet ending that showed us how Clark and Lois relationship does have a strong foundation unlike Frankenstein and Bride. It’s the type of ending this series is beginning to be known for, in all the right ways.
For his part, Doug Mahnke turned in another superb line of work with Superman #13. Mahnke is by far one of the best artist DC Comics has drawing Superman. And it was clear with how he drew them that Mahnke had a lot of fun drawing Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. Both had their own unique monstrous aura that you knew there was more behind their appearance. He was also able to deliver big with the ending. It shows the trust Tomasi and Gleason have in Mahke that they took a step back and allowed him to tell the ending through his artwork rather than more dialogue.
The Bad: Nothing
Overall: Superman #13 was another superb entry in what is clearly DC Comics best series. Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s writing has no equals as they show complete understand of Superman and his world. At the same time they continue to put Superman and his cast in different situations that allows us to further explore who these characters are. This team-up with Frankenstein was a great example of this. Add in some phenomenal artwork from Doug Mahnke and we have another example in Superman #13 that further proves that if you aren’t reading this series that you must change that right away. This is a can’t miss series.