The main story in Action Comics #13 was a great story bringing back the Phantom Zone and its criminals, an Arctic Fortress, and some classic Fortress memorabilia. But the biggest re-imagination and addition to the DCnU Superman mythos was Krypto the Super-dog.
The back-up feature in Action Comics #13 focuses on Krypto's life in the Phantom Zone and how he was always in Kal's life, even if observing from another dimension. These back-up features, written by Sholly Fisch, have added some nice flourishes to Morrison's stories, filling in some details of the supporting cast members and some important events in Superman's life.
This story is simple, showing the love and devotion of a dog for his boy. And given that I loved the return of Krypto, I thought this was sweet.
Early on we see how Jor-El does some genetic legerdemain, linking Krypto and Kal forever, creating an unbreakable bond. I suppose in this day and age some explanation for Krypto finding Kal light years away (via the Phantom Zone) is needed beyond their love for each other. But it added something of a cold scientific layer on what was otherwise a purely emotional story.
Here we see a replay of the scene from Action Comics #5, Krypto forcing Xa-Du back through the Phantom Zone portal, saving the El family and leading to Kal being put in the rocket to Earth.
One thing I like is how Fisch states that even with Kal at this tender age, he and Krypto were inseparable. There is something about the use of 'thick as thieves' here that just worked for me.
Either by love or by gene linking or by some tracker built into his collar, Krypto is able to cross the vast distance of space (albeit in the zone) to be at Clark's side.
He is there in trying times, like when the Kents were buried.
He is there during battles, trying to help from the other side of the mirror.
I hope we end up seeing the fight against the T. Rex!
But Krypto's favorite moments are the quiet moments when he can simply be near Clark, at peace.
Again, this is a sweet story which builds on the emotional ending of the main piece in the issue. Nothing to complain about there. That is what these back-up stories should do, build on what we have read before.
Brad Walker does the art here. Unlike his prior back-ups, Walker's pencils are inked; Andrew Hennessy is the inker. That 'solidifies' the story a bit. I wonder how this Norman Rockwell-esque story would have felt if the art was just penciled rather than inked. It isn't a complaint. But I wonder if the softer pencils would have worked better.
Will these back-ups continue once Morrison leaves? I hope so.