Subway Shorts – Super Team-Ups and a School Daze

We’re looking at members of the Superman and Batman families in their books over the last three weeks or so.

Detective Comics 961-962
Written by James Tynion IV 
Art by Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez and Brad Anderson

The INTELLIGENCE arc continues to prove why ‘Tec has been a more fun book than Tom King’s Batman book, with the team aspect of Detective Comics allowing for different directions and multiple stories running through each issue.

For instance, while Batman takes a mystical tour down memory lane with Zatanna, who had a childhood crush on Batman, Batwing works with Batwoman and Azrael to overcome the negative teachings of the Order of St. Dumas and defeat Jean-Paul Valley’s “little brother” Ascalon. Oh, and Clayface was teaching Cassandra the works of Shakespeare.

Batwing’s solution to the Azrael suit corrupting Jean-Paul is a new suit, based on the design of the AzBats suit from when Bruce’s back was broken, with an AI built in that is based on Batman’s moral code.

Ultimately, Jean-Paul decides he wants a suit closer to his Azrael suit than the AzBats suit Batwing created for him, but not before Batman and Zatanna come in with the deus ex machina of an orb that tells the future to give to Ascalon to save the day. It would be annoying if they hadn’t spent the whole arc building to that moment in the flashbacks.

Zatanna made a big impression on everyone here, as she almost single-handedly stopped the threat the team had been fighting over several issues.

Over the course of the final issue, we learn a lot of new tidbits that will likely shape the direction of Detective Comics as we build toward the 1,000th issue in roughly a year and a half: Zatanna’s father worked with Ra’s al Ghul; Jean-Paul’s father is in control of the Order of St. Dumas and he’s not really a good guy. Most importantly, Batman learns this little tidbit:

That’s going to be important information as the Rebirth battle with Dr. Manhattan moves forward…

Despite the hype of the main Batman book, Detective Comics continues to be the Bat-book you should be reading for a great story.

 Action Comics 985
Written by Rob Williams
Art by Guilliem March and Hi-Fi 

After the reveal last issue of the return of Zod’s wife and kid, we step away a bit from a Kryptonian family feud for Superman to run into The Machinist – a villain who challenged Superman during the New 52 – who has used some technology to mind control people and animals into attacking innocents.

When Superman discovers the microchips The Machinist was using was manufactured by LexCorp, he goes to challenge the billionaire industrialist-turned-super hero. Luthor, though, was aghast that someone had stolen his technology and agrees to team up with the Man of Steel to figure things out.

Unfortunately, as we close out the first issue of the arc, Luthor gets mind controlled, setting up a confrontation in the next issue.

The issue isn’t as strong as the issues penned by Dan Jurgens, but it was still fun and I’m looking forward to where this story leads.

New Super-Man 14
Written by Gene Luen Yang
Art by Billy Tan, Elmer Santos and Phillip Tan

The threat of Super-Man Zero – Emperor Super-Man – is dealt with here as Kong Keenan follows the instructions of Master I Ching to make sure his team is together under his leadership. The threat of Super-Man Zero is eventually dealt with, but not by Keenan.

The villain is run through with a Kryptonite sword by the Suicide Squad, who have been sent to China to deal with the problem of rogue Supermen controlled by China. This should get interesting, but the whole issue felt like a set-up for the reveal.

Gotham Academy: Second Semester 12
Written by Becky Cloonan, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl
Art by MSASSYK, Adam Archer and Sandra Hope

The final issue of the second year of the Detective Club’s tenure at Gotham Academy (I still have no idea why it’s called second semester… they clearly say it’s their second year… there are two semesters per year… you know what, never mind…) brings Olive back to the brink of being taken over by Calamity and destroying all of Gotham City. And then everyone hugs in the end.

We will surely get a THIRD SEMESTER sometime soon and the adventures of the Detective Club will continue with a new number 1 issue, which is annoying, but I’ll deal with it to ensure that a fun book that doesn’t take itself too seriously sticks around.

Superman 28
Written by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
Art by Scott Godlewski, Gabe Eltaeb and Rob Leigh

I was definitely not a fan of the last issue of SUPERMAN, considering how heavy-handed it was. The second part of this two-part road trip was better, though not by much. This issue was more history lesson than lecturing about ideology. But it’s still not something I want from a Superman comic. Hopefully, with the next issue starting a new arc featuring the Sinestro Corps, we move toward a more traditional Superman story.