Discussion: Batman/Superman #1 – 4 (DC Comics)

Now that the first story arc of Batman/Superman is in the books, as it were, what better time to scrutinize the hell out of it then right now?  Since I […]

batman superman cover 1

Now that the first story arc of Batman/Superman is in the books, as it were, what better time to scrutinize the hell out of it then right now?  Since I can’t think of any reason not too, let’s take out our microscopes and scrutinize!

FYI…spoilers ahead!

Batman Superman Cover 2

Collectively, the first story arc of Batman/Superman (the New52 version of Superman/Batman and World’s Finest before that), written by Greg Pak and penciled mostly by Jae Lee (with some fill-in work by Yildiray Cinar and Ben Oliver) turned out to be fairly decent.  Taken individually?  That’s when things for your friendly neighborhood jman break down a bit.  At times, the individual issues were difficult to follow.  The jumps between locations, universes and time periods was difficult to follow.  Were they on Earth 2? Earth 1?  Somewhere else?  It wasn’t all that clear.

what

There were other things that were hard to follow.  It was difficult at times to differentiate between the young Batman of Earth 1 and the older Batman of Earth 2.  And speaking of which, what was the deal with the Earth 2 heroes?!?!?  Granted, I don’t read Earth 2 book.  So I could be missing out on something here, but Earth 2’s answer to Batman and Superman seemed pretty…arrogant?!?!?

I think the problem with Batman/Superman, is unfortunately Jae Lee’s artwork.  I’ve got mixed feelings about his style.  Overall, Jae Lee’s got an interesting, distinctive look.  But, it tended to bog the story down.  To be perfectly honest, I rather preferred Ben Oliver’s work on the last few pages of issue one and issue four as a whole.  I just don’t think Lee’s style suits this type of book.  Perhaps an Elseworld’s tale about Batman, like The Long Halloween.  Lee’s style has a creepy, other-worldly feeling to it.  It’s not a style that lends itself to a book who’s one main protagonist is Superman.

ben oliver

Then there was the meeting of Clark and Bruce as kids in issue 3.  Talk about mixed feelings.  I mean, in a vacuum, it was a decent bit of storytelling, nothing offensive, really.  And I get what Pak was going for with it.  But, unfortunately, it doesn’t take place in a vacuum. And it just seems like more mucking of history that doesn’t really need to be mucked with.

All that being said, on my second reading of the first four books for this discussion, I definitely enjoyed them more.  Issue 4 being the strongest of the four.  The story tied together rather nicely at the end, referencing the opening scene between Bruce and Clark in issue one.

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I still standby what I’ve said many, many times elsewhere about the new52 Superman.  And Earth 2 Superman seems to concur with me, the arrogant tough that he is.  New52 Superman is just not very Superman-ish.  And this story arc only furthers my point.  Killing both of Clark’s parents wasn’t a good idea.  Young Superman isn’t very likeable.  And, I’m sorry, but two years into this I STILL don’t get the t shirt, rolled jeans, work boots and cape look.  It’s dumb.

Admittedly, I am a bit biased.  My heart belongs to the pre52 Superman/Batman series.  Especially Loeb and McGuinness’ initial run on it.  That was good stuff.  Alas, though, those days are long gone.  All’s we can do, I guess, is hope for the best with this new title.

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