We finish off last week’s releases – as usual – with the World’s Finest in their respective books, Batman and Superman.
Written by Tom King
Pencils by Ivan Reis
Inks by Oclair Albert, Matt Banning, Scott Hanna and Joe Prado
Man, one day after I make a joke about having a lot of inkers on one book and here we are having the same situation one day later… I’ll refrain from linking to any YouTube clips of Kevin Smith movies. Poor Banky…
But we’re not reviewing Bluntman and Chronic. Although this issue of Batman may as well be a parody issue. It’s an epilogue to the “I Am Gotham” storyline that introduced (and killed) the new hero Gotham, along with his sister, Gotham Girl. With the death of her brother, and being scarred psychologically by the Psycho Pirate, Gotham Girl is a bit on the loony side, and Batman is trying to help her. Gotham Girl goes through a number of sub-D-list villains (Kite Man, Colonel Blimp and Captain Stingaree) over the course of the week as new protege Duke Thomas laments that every time Gotham Girl uses her powers, she’s using up a little more of her life force. Being a hero is literally killing her.
Batman, unable to get through to her, reaches out to Alfred and asks how Alfred was able to help Bruce after Thomas and Martha Wayne were murdered. Alfred, perceptive as always, reminds Batman that he goes out at night and hunts criminals dressed as a giant bar. Alfred didn’t manage to help a young Bruce Wayne AT ALL. Truer words have never been spoken, Alfred.
Finally, Bruce relates his own pain at losing his parents to Gotham Girl, taking off the cowl and revealing his identity (because not enough people in Gotham City know who he is) in the process. I’m amazed the World’s Greatest Detective took that long to figure out how best to try and soothe her.
The biggest thing coming out of this issue, though, is the last conversation Batman has, with the Suicide Squad’s boss, Amanda Waller. This sets up King’s second act, “I Am Suicide,” set to start after the Batman-Detective-Nightwing crossover. I imagine it will also have repercussions that will be felt in the recently-announced Justice League-Suicide Squad miniseries, because DC Comics wouldn’t just let stories like this overlap without any kind of creative quality control, right? RIGHT?!?! Ah, who the hell knows…
Written by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
Pencils by Patrick Gleason
Inks by Mick Gray
You know how people complain that Superman isn’t an interesting character because he’s too powerful, so it makes finding an opponent in his class difficult? The entire first arc of the DC Rebirth Superman book pit the pre-Flashpoint Man of Steel up against a seemingly unstoppable force of Kryptonian nature. The story alternated between being a bit boring and really weird continues here, and I am really looking forward to the next arc.
Superman takes a chunk of the issue to finish off the Eradicator, a Kryptonian artifact meant to preserve the legacy of Krypton that is not happy with the half-breed that is Jon Kent, while also doing significant damage to Batman’s secret moon cave. Because of course, Batman has a secret moon cave.
While Dan Jurgens – an architect of the 1990s Superman – is doing an amazing job bringing back aspects of the era in Action Comics, Tomasi and Gleason are doing the same in the Superman book to a much lesser effect. We’ve had the Eradicator (garbed in his Reign of the Supermen outfit) as the main antagonist here, but the writing team also reintroduces Ace of Clubs bar owner Bibbo Bibbowski here. It’s unclear if he’s still a former heavyweight boxing champion, though.
I’m not sure if the implication is that DC Comics wants to bring the Superman books back to the heights they reached 20 years ago – which they should always strive for – but I still find it odd how both books are dealing with characters popularized by the Death of Superman. Is there a greater connection here or is it just editorial indifference to the creative quality control I was talking about up top?
I do hope that there’s a greater connection and that we’ll get some semblance of interconnectedness between the two books (another important staple of the 1990s Superman books) before too long, but I won’t hold my breath.
The “Son of Superman” arc wraps with the epilogue story in the next issue, and seven issues feels entirely too long for this type of story, which could have been easily told in half of that.Beyond that, though, we have a trip to Dinosaur Island with pencils from one of my favorite DC Comics artists, Doug Mahnke? Yeah, I’ll be on board here for a while.