Monday, October 28, 2019

Bullet Review: Batman/Superman #3

Batman/Superman #3 came out last week.

Given the Supergirl angle of this storyline of the 'Secret Six', the heroes infected by The Batman Who Laughs evil, I have felt a bit compelled to read. But this series is just the sort of dark take on the DCU that doesn't grab me.

This issue has Superman trying to fool the Batman Who Laughs into revealing his plans and his agents. But this plan involves something which seems a little silly to me, more on that later. It also seems like DC is doubling down on having the best of the best succumb to the darkness. I suppose that is considered even more shocking. But to me it means that the best can't fight off evil. And I don't like that.

Writer Josh Williamson has a good handle on Batman's voice. But the plot seems a bit off for me.

David Marquez's art is just luscious, bringing this book up a notch in my mind. It really is beautiful to look at.

That said, the wonky font in red on top of black word balloons makes the dialogue of the Batman Who Laughs nearly unreadable. It is just painful.

On to the book.

We start out with Batman admitting that his planning contingencies to battle his friends and other heroes is a betrayal of trust.

No kidding.

I did like the fact that Batman owns his sin.

Meanwhile, Superman has dosed himself with Joker venom in hopes of fooling the Batman Who Laughs that he is infected. He breaks that Batman out and they head to the Hall of Justice. There is a grinning Superman blasting heat vision while saying 'burn'

So my biggest question is this ... can Superman be poisoned by Joker Venom? He does seem affected by this.

And I can't hear Superman say 'burn' without thinking of this moment.

You never want to be compared to this moment because you will always come in second to this moment.

The Batman Who Laughs finally reveals his plan.

His Secret Six will kill every living thing in the known universe. And then he brings up Lara to boot.

Is that really a plan? Kill every single thing? And does he really think 6 individuals can destroy a universe of living things?

Honestly, look at the font and word coloring and tell me that works for the reader.

Hearing this, the addled Superman nearly loses his mind and almost attacks the Batman Who Laughs.

Luckily a couple of things happen.

First off, it turns out Superman never freed the Batman Who Laughs, it was all holographic gimmickry. Second, Batman injects Superman with Kryptonite to weaken him so he can regain control of the Joker venom mania.

As for the villain, he didn't reveal his Secret Six. But our heroes will learn soon enough.

Okay, the hologram feint was a good one.

But then we meet the first of the fallen ... James Gordon. The good man in Gotham, of course.

And Gordon goes right for the jugular, cursing Batman for bringing villains to the city and for killing Robins.

This kind of makes me sad.

Gordon unleashes that bunny-eared Batman armor suit. Superman shows up. And Batman knocks out Gordon.

Look a Pieta reference!

Reminded me of this ... also not a good thing.

But then it gets worse. At the Fortress, the two meet the next of the fallen. Blue Beetle.

I hope we see how these folks got infected. And I hope that they get cured and aren't scarred by this experience.

But I am really a bit tired of these sorts of stories.

Poor Jaime.

It really is beautifully drawn.

Overall grade: C


Martin Gray said...

And again, thank you for reading this so I don't have to.

I've complained about that eye-hurting Batman Who Bores font since it first appeared, though it's a delight compared to some of the others in the original Metal minis. I think Batman/Flash was the worst.

Is that really a Pieta reference? Do we not need a bit of a lift?

The art is lovely, but DC aren't getting my cash for this, it only encourages them.

arw1985 said...

"The Batman Who Bores." Nice. That fits that character perfectly.

Rob S. said...

I'm with Mart. Per your reading of this, I think Styx said it best:

Thank you very much, Mr. Roboto/For doing the job nobody wants to!

I'm fine with The Batman Who Laughs as a character that's clearly targeting younger readers. Not "young readers" the way we usually think of them, but adolescent readers who in earlier decades had little to entertain them but Iron Maiden album covers. Even the BWL red-on-black font says: If you're over 40, this dialogue is not worth squinting to read.

I just hope I can enjoy the next year of DC comics while only experiencing the are minimum of this clown.

Anonymous said...

YES, thank you. That font! THAT FONT. Red on black. Insane.

I don't know if it started before The Batman Who Laughs mini-series, since he was around during Metal, but it was used throughout for that character in that mini-series.

At first I was happy to see that it wasn't used for Infected Shazam and hoped it meant, after MANY complaints about it in reviews of BWL, that they weren't going to use it anymore. No such luck.

It's unreadable on paper. For a while I was using a magnifying glass, but now after buying the issue, I end up actually reading it online. Then I can magnify as much as I need.

Sean Murphy's Curse of the White Knight has a fair amount of unreadable lettering too, btw. Because of size, not color. And because some of it is small and cursive. Or tiny letters on computer monitors.

Some of this may be due to work being lettered on computer. Letterers can blow up any section to any size they want.

Gordon was infected by the end of The Batman Who Laughs mini-series, so there was never any surprise about him being part of the Six.

I was encouraged that Infected Supergirl appears to be missing on the solicited cover of Batman/Superman #5 on sale 12/18, but then discouraged that she's present on the cover of Year of the Villain Hell Arisen #1, also on sale 12/18. So now I'm discouraged she was left off the Batman/Superman cover! I don't know how I feel, as it turns out.

On an amusing note, Rachael Stott, the upcoming artist for Supergirl, has changed her twitter "real name" to Racha-El Stott. (Her handle remains @RachaelAtWork.)


William Ashley Vaughan said...

I can read the Batman Who Laughs font just fine. However, my job as an historical and genealogical researcher involves reading lots of cramped handwriting in faded ink, so I may have a bit of an advantage when it comes to difficult-to-read writing.

Anj said...

Thanks for comments and sharing my hate of the font! I sometimes have to take pics with my ipad and blow up the panel. Ridiculous.

And yes, I will bear this burden for you all out there!

Ben said...

I'm not particularly interested in seeing what the corrupted heroes will do. That sort of "evil corruption" trope has been beaten to the point where even the horse carcass looks healthier in comparison. But after they're cured? THAT could make for an engaging story. The full realization of all the horrific things you've done would hit you like an atom bomb. In fact, that could offer an even more intriguing angle as to why the infected heroes don't want to return to normal. It wouldn't be dissimilar to the climactic scene from THE KILLING JOKE when the Joker momentarily considers Batman's offer to be rehabilitated. The thought of gaining back a conscience after all the misery and devastation they've already unleashed would be too terrifying for them to contemplate.

But the writers won't do it, because they don't care. About anything.