Monday, November 25, 2019

Review: Batman/Superman #4

Batman/Superman #4 came out this week continuing the story of the Batman Who Laughs infecting heroes close to the titular pair in some major evil plot. I have been following along because Supergirl is (unfortunately) heavily involved in this arc.

An interesting wrinkle about this issue is that it gives us a bit of a repeat of events from Supergirl #36. We see Kara again infected, this time with art by David Marquez.I like seeing scenes from different perspectives.

Writer Joshua Williamson brings a good pace to the proceedings here, especially the battle scenes. But he makes one slight gaffe in my mind when it comes to the Secret Six. We'll get there in the review, promise.

The art by Davis Marquez continues to shine. His work is clean, even when dealing with the Goth-like villains. And the action is smooth and palpable.

But seeing once again Kara succumb? Well, I have seen it enough to last a lifetime.

On to the book.

We start out with Batman and Superman fighting infected Donna Troy and Hawkman.

Both have specific things they don't like about our heroes.

Among those complaints? Well Donna is unhappy that so many kid sidekicks have died. And Hawkman is very upset about Batman preparing so much. As someone who is a bit sick of Batman being ultra-prepped and unstoppable lately, I echo Hawkman. But the Donna gripe is legitimate. She rattles of the names of a number of fallen Titans.

Then we get a bit of a monologue.

We learn that the Batman Who Laughs is trying to drag his League's satellite to Earth-0. There the satellite will infect everyone. To bring it into the main universe, the Batman needed 6 specific energy frequencies, especially Kal- El's! He'll have to lure a Kryptonian to the Fortress to infect them, completing the energies.

Okay, so the Dark Satellite will act like a transmitter infecting everyone? That's weird.

Meanwhile, Superman and Batman have been able fend off the attacks of their opponents and sneak away. Superman has a failsafe plan he can activate to put the Fortress in lockdown. But it also means our heroes will be locked in. To get there, he needs Batman to run interference.

I thought this panel was interesting. The toxin brings out the underlying worst in people. In someway these heroes feel all the evil they have been suppressing. That means Kara has feelings and motivations like her dark self, just buried.

That's pretty awful. I guess all heroes have feet of clay in this modern world.

With Superman off trying to lock down the Fortress. Batman pushes the attack.

Using a member of Superman's zoo, he brings the fight to Hawkman and Donna.

To lure a Kryptonian to the fray, the villains set off an alarm.

Nice panel here with Batman rodeo riding a dire worm.

And then we get scenes from Supergirl #36 reexamined.

This one is straight out of Supergirl.

I do like how Marquez draws Kara.

Very iconic pose.

And then the infection with Kara grabbing the thrown batarang. She quickly succumbs.

Again, Marquez draws a very nice Supergirl.

And that's that.

Initially we see Jaime Reyes try to fight off the control. (I guess Kara has less control?) But soon all six are ready.

I would have been thrilled if it was Kara was trying to fight the infection given how strong her convictions have become over and over in her comic. So to see it be Jaime struggling and almost shaking off the infection was pretty rough. It should have been Supergirl. This is the issue I have with Williamson and the Secret Six. Supergirl has gone through this so many times, she should be the one struggling against the influence of this infection. Instead,  once again, we end up seeing a Dark Verson of her, one happy to be evil. It  is ... well ... tiresome.

Am I being too pig-headed about this whole arc?

Overall grade: C+


Martin Gray said...

Nope, you're being scrupulously fair. Just make it stop, someone.

Ben said...

Maybe Krypto will act as some kind of counterbalance to the newly corrupted Supergirl; sort of the Max to her Grinch.

Unless they turn him into a bad guy too, in which case I hope he tears out the throat of The Batman Who Laughs, Kryptonite Man-style.

Anonymous said...

"Am I being too pig-headed about this whole arc?"

I don't think so. I'm so sick of "Evil/Angsty Supergirl" storylines...

This The Supergirl Who Laughs plotline makes me wish for the good, old days when Cary Bates was writing her book, and "bad romance" was his go-to plot.

Good grief, it makes me wish for the good, old days when Jeph Loeb was writing her. At the very least she didn't wear ridiculous make-up and "Look to me! Am I edgy enough?" spikes.

... Oh, God, DC is rehashing with Supergirl what they did to Mary Marvel in Countdown.

Anyway... Yes, I'm sick of it, and I suspect most of Supergirl fans are sick, too. I'm afraid sales will drop.

"But the Donna gripe is legitimate. She rattles of the names of a number of fallen Titans."

Yes, I'll give the writer that. DC has always treated sidekicks and legacies awfully. Mainly female ones.

Professor Feetlebaum said...

I have heard that The Batman Who Laughs has become so popular that DC is already planning some spin-off characters. So look out for...

The Batman Who Cries
The Batman Who Hiccups
The Batman Who Burps
The Batman Who Sneezes
Coming soon to a comic book near you!!!

I'm so tired of big event crossovers. All they do is spoil the rhythm of the books they "infect". If DC wants to do a multi-issue event every year, fine. But I wish they would leave the individual titles out of it.

You're right that Supergirl should have fought against the infection. Are there any characters who have managed to fight it off?
It's depressing to think we have another 3-4 months of this stuff.

Anonymous said...

What about The Batman Who Coughs and The Batman Who Chortles? Oh, wait, they're being reserved for the second phase of the event, Crisis on Infinite Sound-Making Batmen, right?

In more positive news, CBR has published an article ranking every... well, most of Supergirls (What about Lucy of Borgonia, Andromeda and Kara of Odiline, CBR?). Now, I think "Top Whatever" online lists are typically clickbait garbage, but I like seeing Pre-Crisis Supergirl and Power Girl on the top.

Anonymous said...

i mean she just got back from a Mad Rage-ahol tear across the galaxy with a super dog and a doomsday axe...nearly killed some beings...only to comeback to YET ANOTHER dark Supergirl storyline!! I guess this means her supporting cast and setting have been set aside, is this yet another soft reboot who knows??
I wish "Character Abuse" was a crime I'd dime out DC Comics in a New York Minute.

Love the characters hate the company.