Subway Shorts – Telling Stories

As we finish up this week’s books, Batman begins to wrap his tale of the War of Jokes and Riddles to Catwoman, while Lois Lane looks for an exclusive interview with Deathstroke over in Superman.

Batman 31
Written by Tom King
Art by Mikel Janin, Hugo Petrus and June Chung

After proposing to Catwoman in an issue that had a lot of hype, Batman decided to tell her a story early in his career about the war between Joker and Riddler. A war Selina Kyle took part in, by the way, so she knows most of this already. And Tom King has been using this story to build anticipation for Selina’s answer to Bruce. The problem is, I really don’t care about what happened here.

We know that Batman sided with the Riddler and they were using Kite-Man (yes, Kite-Man) to infiltrate the Joker’s army, which was taken out one by one. The final battle in the war happens in this issue, with Joker, all by himself, being confronted by Riddler, Batman and half a dozen other villains.

Anyone else think Riddler looks kind of like John Cena?

The team puts down the Joker. So, end of story, right? God, no. Because Batman would never leave all these supervillains hanging around in a position of power! While Kite-Man double-crossed Joker to give Riddler an advantage, he also double-crossed Riddler to work with Batman, to help put the bad guys behind bars.

Riddler does not take kindly to this.

You can’t see him, his time is now.

Alright, NOW the story is over, right? AH-HA! No… Because Catwoman still has to give her answer, and there’s apparently STILL something Bruce needs to tell her before she can make an informed decision. I can’t imagine what revelation the next issue will bring, but if I were Catwoman, I would say because Bruce is such a crappy storyteller. They needed how many issues to get through this?

I may be getting sick of Tom King on Batman.

Superman 31
Written by James Bonny
Art by Tyler Kirkham and Arif Prianto

Another fill-in issue with a different creative team moves the focus away from Superman and onto his wife, as Lois Lane puts her mind to getting an exclusive interview with the world’s deadliest assassin, Slade Wilson, also known as Deathstroke.

Lois’ dogged search for Wilson gets her cornered by a group of men who want Wilson for themselves, which gets a rescue from her husband. Deathstroke, being one of the most cunning strategists in the DC Universe, uses Lois to his advantage to take out the men who were searching for him.

Lois gets her story, Daily Planet managing editor Perry White is happy and everything works out, right? Come on now… We end the issue on a cliffhanger, as Deathstroke has now targeted Lois, firing a gun at her while she’s on the phone with her husband.

While I’ve generally enjoyed the main run on this book by Patrick Gleason and Peter Tomasi, I’ve also been glad to have these fill-in issues the last month or so, giving a break to the main narrative before business picks up again. Having a well-done story where Lois Lane shows off her journalism skills is a bonus. Despite all the heroes who have a connection to newspapers or the media, the representation of the career path is usually pretty bad. That’s not the case here.

DC Comics is definitely getting into a groove where they’re getting Superman right. Between Dan Jurgens’ great writing on Action Comics and fun stories like this here, it really is a good time to be a Superman fan.