Monday, April 13, 2020

Review: Batman/Superman #8

Batman/Superman #8 came out what feels like a lifetime ago.

This is the last 'new comic' I will be reviewing on this site until the whole global pandemic and comic book industry sorts itself out. And, I'll be honest, it isn't a bad one to go out on. It isn't great. It doesn't seem to value continuity. But it is a sharp read. It has beautiful art. And it includes one of my more favorite recent panels.

Writer Joshua Williamson gives us a different sort of look at General Zod and I appreciate that. I am usually quite content with my villains being evil because they are evil. But here Williamson gives us a little sliver of Zod back story that shows why he is so hellbent on this mission to resurrect Kandor. There is also just a whiff of Eradicator here, that need to continue the Kryptonian culture.

But the star of the book is artist Nick Derington. Derington's art is in that sweet spot where at times he invokes a Toth-ian minimalism and at other times I am impressed with his flair for detail. His facial expressions are just perfect. And I want to see him on another Ra's Al Ghul story ... like right now.

Thankfully, this is the end of this arc so we won't be left with a cliffhanger.

Here is hoping for new comics soon ...

On to the book.

We open with a shot of General Zod as a child.

His father sits him down to talk about the legacy of Kandor, specifically for the House of Zod.

This isn't just a military mission for Zod. It's personal.

But then we are back in the South American temple where Zod has brought Kandor back to life.

The now alive and definitely maddened Kandorians can't reign in their madness.

What's worse, they are like a fog of super-powered gnats! What is a sword going to do against that mist.

And the idea of them flying into your ear canal is chilling ...

It is clear that the heroes can't let this volatile group escape. But they also can't be killed by them.

I do like this exchange between Superman and Zod. Zod is exasperated that Superman didn't even try to bring the Kandorians back. That staccato 'didn't ... EVEN ... TRY!' works well. You can hear him spit out each word in your head.

But this is where I wonder. I thought Rogol Zaar stomped all over the Kandorians. Smashed the city to bits. I didn't think there were bodies to reclaim let alone an intact city.

Here is the actual coverage of that in Man of Steel:

I love so much of this comic.

I feel the 'batarang to the back of the helmet' is the equivalent of my big brother slapping me on the back of the head when I did something stupid.

Ra's saying he will red sun bomb the Kandorians to then slaughter them a second time deserves a slap to the head.

And it seems so effortless by Batman.

I honestly laughed out loud.

Luckily, the red sun bomb incapacitates the Kryptonians enough that they can be put back in the bottle.

But they are definitely dazed, confused, and still maddened.

How great to see Superman standing up to Zod and poking a finger in his chest. This crazed life can't be what Zod envisioned.

For once, Zod is as cool as the other side of the pillow. He calmly states that Kal should remove that finger. No exclamation point. No sneer. Just a statement.

These two have had an strained truce these days. It can't be easy given their history.

Alas, there is still a wild card. Ra's.

He isn't happy his pit got used.

So he puts his sword through the city.

He just seems so vindictive. He wants total control of his Lazarus pits.

And his armor seems very bat-like, no? Almost like the leather armor Dracula wore in the opening scenes of Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula.

While Superman gathers the city and flies to the Fortress to try and save his people, Zod heads out to avenge himself against Zod.

Surprisingly, Ra's think he has the upper hand with his 'fake K' sword.

He's so sure he is going to win that he co-opts Zod's famous line! He tells to kneel before Ra's Al Ghul!


Another great moment!

But it is fake Kryptonite. It just doesn't work that well.

When it looks like Zod is about to pop Ra's head off like a dandelion, he is talked down ... by Batman!

Batman leans into their shared experience of witnessed tragedy. He talks about how Zod is trying to be a better man. And this wouldn't be justice.

Because Batman can talk more about tragedy than Superman, it gets through.

Ra's takes off.

I love ... and I mean LOVE ... that second panel.

Ra's looks absolutely miffed about how all this played out. He lost the pit, he was saved by Batman, and he had to retreat.

Derington gives us all that in the expression.


There is a bit of deus ex machina at the end. But we are talking about microscopic aliens resurrected by a chemical bath. So I have to roll.

The fortress fixes the city and puts all the Kandorians into some sort of suspended animation.

Moreover, it is clear that this is about half the population of Kandor. Zod has a second bottled city with the others, perhaps to figure out another way to resurrect them.

Instead of going after him, Superman lets it be. The Kandor Compromise. Zod gets to steward this other city. We then see General Zod telling his son about Kandor and their family.

So a good story with some immensely excellent moments. But this erases the massacre at the hands of Rogol Zaar, diminishing that act ... erasing it. Second, it completely ignores the fact that Zaar smashed the city and smooshed the citizens under foot. We are basically back to baseline.

Still, I enjoyed the story. It was probably only a matter of time before Kandor came back. Just didn't think it would be so soon.

And that batarang smack to the head is perfect!

Overall grade: B+


Anonymous said...

Hello from a french fan of Supergirl,

I also laughed with the batrang in the helmet of Ra's. And i prefer a story od where Dru Zod is a good person, he takes care of hi son and his wife. Just, he does not aggre with Superman, Kandor must be sauved at any cost.

Other point, where is Lar-On ? he was also a kryptonien to save ... or Rogol Zaar kill him ?

Anj said...

Lar-On was last seen driving in a car with Cameron Chase (I think) so not part of Zaar's murder rampage.

Martin Gray said...

My ‘not a boo-boo, gimme a No Prize’ strained explanation for the survival of the Kryptonians... the second the glass smashed they gained just enough invulnerability to survive Rogol Zaar’s foot.

Whatever! I’m just glad the citizens have survived.

Anonymous said...

You definitely deserve a No Prize for the brilliant hypothesis.

I was planning to reduce my monthly books now that Year of the Villain finally ended, and this was one of the titles I designated to cut. But once saw that it was going to be drawn by Derrington, whose work on Batman Universe I really liked, and would just be a 2-issue arc, I gave the title a 2-issue reprieve and am glad I did. The story was good-humored, perfectly illustrated in Derrington's unique style, and warmly brings Kandor back.


Anonymous said...

Hello from a franch fan of Supergirl,

Thanks you for your réponse, Anj.

I wondered with who supergirl could continue her adventures. I tought of kryptonians like Lar-On and i sse your twitter.

The house of kent : Kara, Conner and John together !

Kinofreak said...

Isn't it time to review CW's Crisis episodes?