A busy week put me a little behind schedule, but here we are to finish out last week’s reviews with looks at the World’s Finest – Superman and Batman – in their eponymous books. Both were released last week.

Batman 5
Written by Tom King
Pencils by David Finch
Inks by Matt Banning and Sandra Hope

We get some glimpses into the future via the narration in Batman 5, as Gotham Girl recalls the incident that led to the end of her brother’s time as a hero.

Gotham, the Superman analogue who was supposed to help Batman save Gotham City has been driven to the brink by Psycho Pirate and Hugo Strange, and he realizes that Gotham City just isn’t worth saving. So he tries to destroy it. In reality, he probably has a point, but Batman still tries to stop him, calling in the Justice League for an assist.

Of course, because this is comics, Gotham is capable of taking down the League, and Gotham Girl explains the reasoning while she cowers in the Batcave with Bruce Wayne’s latest ward, Duke Thomas. And of course, Batman is able to finally take Gotham down, although the narration implies that this was the beginning of what leads to the death of Batman years down the line.

I guess we’ll also be seeing Gotham Girl around for a while longer, and I can’t help but wonder how she works into the future for the Bat-books, as a character with the powers of Supergirl seems to be an odd fit into the Bat-universe. We’ll see what happens as we continue to go forward. The “I Am Gotham” story ended with this issue and we start a new story with issue 6.

Superman 5
Written by Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi
Pencils by Doug Mahnke
Inks by Jaime Mendoza

There is a lot of potential for the Superman books, but using a very one-dimensional antagonist from the mid-1990s seems wasn’t a very good idea for the first storyline. Add in the fact that Gleason and Tomasi seem to be dragging the story out well beyond what it needs. It seems like Superman is just going from location to location defending himself from the Eradicator, who just keeps coming.

There’s little intriguing motivation to a battle between Superman and the Eradicator. He’s not a “villain,” he’s a Kryptonian force of nature, doing what it is programed to do. And of course, even with all the upheaval in the Superman books, no one thinks the Eradicator is going to win. So the story ends up being really boring.

It doesn’t help that Dan Jurgens and crew is doing such a great job establishing the return of the old Superman over in Action Comics. It really creates a stark contrast with the main Superman book, which is mining from the same source material of the Death of Superman. Both books have Superman trying to protect his family by bringing them to secret hideouts. I hate it when an office doesn’t coordinate and two books end up telling the same story. Especially when one of them isn’t very good.

On the bright side, we get more Doug Mahnke artwork, which is always a benefit for a book. Hopefully once Superman dispatches the Eradicator, we can move on to something more interesting.

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