SUPERMAN #13 continues the "House of Brainiac" storyline in a satisfying way that presents real stakes, making you wonder who you can trust moving forward.

Review: SUPERMAN #13 — My Adventures With Lobo

Superman #13 is the second installment in DC’s “House of Brainiac” crossover story from writer Joshua Williamson, artist Rafa Sandoval, colorist Alejandro Sanchez, and letterer Ariana Maher.

This issue picks up back on Earth after Action Comics #1064’s cliffhanger. Superman is on the search for Lobo and finds him in a Green Lantern-themed bar in Coast City. The two battle it out while Brainiac is up in space, holding superpowered individuals from Metropolis hostage and using them to power up some mystery weapon. Lobo teams up with Superman, and the two head to space to confront Brainiac and his army of Czarnians.



Williamson writes a sterner Superman than we’re used to here, but it fits considering the situation. Williamson allows the reader to see how emotionally taxing Brainiac’s assault is for Superman, letting us see a more vulnerable side of him that doesn’t often emerge. To establish this, he has the issue open with a battle between Lobo and Superman. The regenerative Lobo was a great choice for this, as he provides an outlet for Superman’s anger, as well as information to help move the plot forward. It does take Williamson a while to find his footing with Lobo. The character’s presence in the first chunk of the issue feels too convenient, but smooths out over time as Williamson successfully incorporates him into the plot as a whole. The Czarnians that Williamson uses in the story feel as though they connect to Lobo naturally. It’s absolutely believable that Brainiac has an army of this long extinct race trapped in his ship, and given the competitive and reckless nature of Lobo, the two parties butting heads seemed inevitable.

Lobo wrecks a bar.
Lobo wrecks a bar.

Brainiac himself is the star of the show here. He doesn’t necessarily explain his plan, but he does explain what he needs for said plan to come to fruition. There’s a lot of mysteries surrounding Brainiac in the early chapters of this story. There’s clearly something wrong with him, but we’re unsure to what. Williamson uses the Super Family members in Brainiac’s captivity to move the story forward, getting information out of the villain while also asking who these other Brainiacs are, and what his endgame is. Williamson doesn’t waste a single character. It constantly feels like everyone has their own role to play, which is impressive with a cast this large.


Sandoval seemingly has a lot of fun with this issue. He draws and details this Green Lantern-themed bar in Coast City with a plethora of neat little details. What he details just as well is Lobo’s rampage through the bar. There’s a weight and power that’s felt behind every blow, the broken furniture really allowing you to feel the impact from every hit. Where Williamson lays the groundwork for a ticked off Superman, Sandoval follows up on it with menacing facial expressions that show he’s not messing around.

Superman confronting Lobo
Superman confronting Lobo.

Sandoval generates these intimate moments between members of the family in Brainiac’s captivity. A lot is said through facial expressions that enhances the scenes they’re present in as a whole. There’s a page where a few of the characters from Superman’s supporting cast are trapped in these tubes, and you really get a sense of urgency through their expressions. Whether it be Supergirl’s looks of strategizing, or Mercy trying to test the limits of the prison she’s in, there’s always something important happening for each individual character. Sandoval really allows that to come across in his art.


Alejandro Sanchez does some really beautiful work on coloring this issue. Where the first part of this event was bright and hopeful, this issue is dark and malevolent. The setting of Brainiac’s ship is really creepy. Various shades of purple fill not only the room itself, but sometimes the actual page that the panels lay on top of as well. The purples and blues that the ship radiates blend together really well in a way that really strongly connects you with that specific location. Now, whenever we return to it, it feels almost familiar. The light that emits from Brainiac’s body is especially interesting. Sanchez uses the lighting in a really intriguing way where a character can be lit from a purple prison cell from one direction while also being lit in another purple light relative to wherever Brainiac is standing. It fills out character faces nicely. The lights also seem to be tied to Brainiac’s status. If he’s rejuvenated, they seem brighter than they would be if he wasn’t operating at full capacity. There’s lots of attention to detail in Sanchez’s coloring here.


Maher knocks it out of the park here. Starting with Lobo, everything said feels loud and rowdy because of those big and bold bubbles that accompany nearly every word he says during his introduction. It helps to establish the character for readers unfamiliar with him. With Brainiac, Maher is smart about differentiating the different versions of him present that were seen in the last issue. All the Brainiacs have the same black speech bubbles with green lettering and outlines, but the actual shape of the bubbles is different depending on the Brainiac. For the main one, They’re these sort of smooth circles indents on the top right and bottom left corners. With another, it’s this octagonal shape. It helps to separate each one. So much personality for these new characters is brought forth through this thoughtful lettering.

Lobo causing chaos in the Lantern bar
Lobo causing chaos in the Lantern bar.


Williamson, Sandoval, Sanchez, and Maher continue the arcs established in the first issue while also skillfully weaving new characters into the mix. They really hit the ground running with this event. Superman #13 is a strong second entry in what is shaping to be one of Brainiac’s most compelling stories.

Mohamed Malla
Mohamed Malla
I have a strong passion for comics, and I have since I was a kid. I read absolutely anything I can possibly get my hands on, and I love that I can. I'm currently studying screenwriting, as I adore film and television as well.
SUPERMAN #13 continues the "House of Brainiac" storyline in a satisfying way that presents real stakes, making you wonder who you can trust moving forward. Review: SUPERMAN #13 — My Adventures With Lobo