Friday, May 9, 2014

Review: Batman/Superman #10

Batman/Superman #10 came out this week and was an entertaining and fun issue. And if there are words I haven't been able to say too often with the New 52, they are entertaining and fun. This has the feeling of a late Silver Age early Bronze Age 'one and done' issue. Maybe the best compliment I can give it is that it reminded me of a DC Comics Presents issue. We have heroes teaming up, fighting an enemy together ... an enemy we probably won't ever see again, in a ridiculous setting.

And you know what. I didn't mind.

Every so often, my mind could use an issue like this. It is break from the 6 issue trade stories, the overlapping ever-increasing event arcs, and ... gasp ... it is fun and entertaining!

Writer Jeff Lemire does a great job introducing the Atom to the New 52 universe. This Ray Palmer is a bit quirky, a little sardonic, and smart. But when asked, he risks his life to help someone. I am becoming more impressed with Lemire as he is able to write the darker seedy Green Arrow, the more mystical Animal Man, and the bleak and too dark Futures End. This story is really wild in comparison to those settings.

Art is done by Karl Kerschl and Scott Hepburn and they bring a breezy feel to this issue which works well with this story.

Let's dive in so I can talk about setting and events.

The issue starts with Superman flying to the miniscule headquarters of S.H.A.D.E. The HQ is a small globe that Superman can hold in his hand thanks to Palmer's shrink technology. And Superman needs Palmer. So we already have a sense of Ray here, a physicist who has already perfected the technology.

Superman and Batman  were in space rescuing a space station when Batman fell into a coma.

So why does Superman need Palmer?

Because after a microscopic vision scan of Batman, Superman discovered a tiny dead superhero and in intact microscopic city in Batman's brain. This is preposterous ... but isn't that what comic books are supposed to be all about.

Let's see ... the last time we saw tiny people inside someone's brains it was Jean Loring killing Sue Dibny or Atomica killing the New Doom Patrol.

Remember when people could be inside someone and not be causing a lethal stroke?

It is all so Fantastic Voyage!

Palmer and Superman don shrink belts and head into Batman's body.

Inside Batman's cerebral vasculature, they discover this alien culture. And with the aid of SHADE universal translators, we learn a bit more. The city's version of Superman ... Captain Boldstar ... was the dead hero floating around.

And super-villains have taken over the city-ship, enslaving the populace.

I always think these adventures in someone's blood stream are odd. Where is the light source? Are those clouds? I suppose this is a bit more realistic than that time Supergirl went inside Fred Danvers to fight a germ.

Even the villains are sort of fun. They have silly names like Dr. Smashhammer and Titan Super Gladiator.

The two tyrants walk up and engage the heroes in combat.

Gladiator accidentally rips off Superman's shrink belt. In an odd twist, the Gladiator grows huge, luckily flying out of Batman without exploding his head. But that means the microscopic villain is now on our world.

Inside Batman, Superman subdues Smashhammer. Palmer uses a P.R.I.M.P. to shrink Hammer into an even tinier prison.

I like how Palmer at least acknowledges how omnipresent and silly all the acronyms are.

He uses the P.R.I.M.P. to shrink the city-ship into a different globe, reviving Batman.

Of course, this is the New 52. Despite this guy being 3x Batman's size and tough enough to help kill a Superman equivalent, Batman is able to beat him up.

Still, the art here is nice with good panel progression and a nice kineticism. 

But remember, Superman doesn't have his shrink belt anymore.

I like the odd humor that Palmer has. He jokes with Superman, telling the Man of Steel he'll have to remain in Batman's blood forever.

It is a joke. Palmer's belt can handle both of them. But how crazy is it that this scientist has the courage or will to tease Superman a little.

And just like that the adventure is over. Batman is now free of all foreign alien cultures.

For a while now Batman has been all business and rather dour. So Lemire giving him a punch line about how Batman shouldn't leave Gotham was fantastic.

That sounds like the quips friends would make to one another.

And, despite saying he is just a scientist, Palmer decides he just might become a super-hero. And when he does he'll use the code name The Atom. Nice. I like this Palmer ... a bit more interesting than the staid Silver Age guy.

Of course, Batman recognizes the similarities with Atomica ... and is worried. Ah, the New 52.

Still, this was a breath of fresh air. Heroes teaming up. A normal person inspired to become a hero. An adventure in another hero's blood stream to save an alien city. It is ridiculous ... incredible ... perfect.

There was a time that comics could be entertaining and fun all the time. I guess I'll have to be happy with 'every once in a while'.

Overall grade: B+


Anonymous said...

Silver Age Wise, Supergirl entered the bloodstream of her boyfriend, Dick Malverne's father to fight germ bacilli with her fist. It was the 1960's and that was still considered decorous ladylike behavior...



Martin Gray said...

Great review, and well remembered on the Supergirl business. I want more DC comics like this one.

As regards the 'odd twist' of the bad guy growing huge, that was set up a few pages earlier when Ray mentioned he'd given Superman, as a debut shrinker.

LissBirds said...

It's been a long while since I've seen Ray Palmer...I'm tempted to pick this up! If only because you said it was fun. I am in desperate need of fun comics at this point.