Comic Book Critic: Action Comics #13
by Gabriel Estrada(@mediiageek)
It’s Halloween in the Fortress of Solitude and phantoms are on the loose! Let’s start off by saying another fantastic issue by Grant Morrison. Evoking the old DC Halloween stories of yore, Superman has an encounter with the Phantom Stranger while Grant Morrison sets up the significance, and possible ongoing threat of the Phantom Zone. There’s a lot of Silver Agey-ness to this issue, but Morrison puts it in the context of the new universe, making the whole thing seem rather fresh. A largely done-in-one issue with subplots continuing in the background makes this a great tale.
To be quite honest, I was a bit weary when I saw that Travel Foreman was going to be in charge of the art. He did a really amazing job on Animal Man but I didn’t expect his style to translate so well over to Superman. Boy, was I wrong as soon as I saw this issue was going to be a Halloween-themed issue I knew the art was going to be a treat (no pun intended)
This issues story revolves around a Phantom Zone criminal breaking out and trying to kill Superman and, for once it is not General Zod. I was really worried how Grant Morrison was going to explain Xa-Du’s escape but Morrison proved he knew what he was doing. The main focus and joy here is Krypto. We’ve been teased for some time now as to the fate of the Superdog. The previous mention of a ghost dog watching over Superman made you wonder what that meant. Of course there will be some that aren’t completely thrilled but we can finally put this all to rest.
Seeing Grant Morrison’s take on Krypton and the first time the Phantom Zone was used was fascinating. It’s always been an odd twisted turn of events how they decided to treat the criminals and that they ended up being the ones to survive Krypton’s destruction. On its own, this is probably the best single issue of this series so far. It may even be one of the best single issues of the year; in my mind, it may even get nominated for an Eisner. This issue is more than just a fun Halloween one-shot. This issue manages to sneak in a little of the series overarching plot in a non-intrusive way and it takes a surprising turn for the heartwarming about halfway through. I really enjoyed Krypto’s reintroduction here. It was totally sweet and provided Clark with a very human moment when he does whatever it takes to save his dog. Maybe it’s just me. I’m a big sucker for a story about a boy and his dog. This issue managed to hit the right notes for me. At the start of the New 52 I really didn’t look into Action Comics but now that the trades are out I’m rereading Grant Morrison’s run and I’ve come to realize how great this series actually is. Overall, this is just a sweet issue. I highly suggest you get into your Halloween spirit and pick this issue up.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars