Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Review: Batman/Superman #10

 Batman/Superman #10 came out last week, the next part in the Ultra-Humanite story where the Atomic Skull was turned into a villain again and killed.

Yes, there is a plot of the Ultra-Humanite turning humans into walking drone bombs powered by Atomic Skull radiation. But for me, the most interesting part about this is how Superman's recent reveal and his recent busy schedule is weighing on him. That seems to be the undercurrent in Superman's piece of this plot and that is intriguing to me.

Over in Superman, we see that Clark is trying to cope with all his recent problems by talking to Dr. Fate. So why not see that sort of anguish spill over into other books. Writer Joshua Williamson does a good of of showing how different Batman's approach is to this in comparison to Dr. Fate's. Fate reached out with empathy. Bruce tells Clark he shouldn't feel guilty about this problem which is on his plate.

The mystery of these drone bomb zombies progresses here quickly. Our heroes figure out who is behind this and get their first round against them. And there is a very solid cliffhanger.

The art is by Clayton Henry and it is wonderful. Henry draws things big and bold. He makes things scary when they need to be. The action flows well and is vibrant.

On to the book.

 The book opens with a flashback.

Superman is in a throwdown with the Ultra-Humanite in Metropolis. In the battle, the Humanite uses the technology he has stolen (a large cylinder called an Atomic Sequencer) like a cudgel to bash Superman.

Unfortunately, it cracks the cylinder which explodes, basically making the Humanite into Tharok.

But as this gorilla body dies, the Humanite says this is just a body. No need to grieve.

Now I didn't think the Humanite could simply jump bodies like Deadman. Didn't he have his brain put into the gorilla's body?

Nice fight scene and vivid visceral panel here by Henry.

 Last issue, the Atomic Skull, claiming he was being controlled, exploded taking out some of Gotham City.

In the Batcave, Batman does an autopsy.

Already, you can read how Superman is reeling from this. Atomic Skull had reformed. Has Superman been too distracted by his own life that he lost track of Skull?

But Batman senses what Superman is thinking and tells him that he isn't at fault.

 And the press isn't doing any favors.

Rather than blame the Atomic Skull or wait for details to come out, they basically blame Superman for bringing destruction to Gotham City.

Fake news!

But you can see how the heroes can become villains when the press decides so.

 But the autopsy does bring some interesting information. The bomb that blew up Skull is the same Waynetech Batman uses in his batarang. And more than that, there is a little bit of LexCorp, STAR, and Kord Tech.

Someone is cobbling together this tech from many other sources.

Batman assumes that no one could compromise all of those places. So he knows where the villain went shopping.

This seems a little premature. Maybe the person actually ordered the stuff from these companies through shell companies, etc.

 The site is in Gotham, a Wayne facility where contrband tech taken from crime scenes that needs to be catalogued and destroyed is kept.

Now this also seems a bit inane. Why would Batman want there to be a warehouse of dangerous tech kept in Gotham? And who guards all this? It seems a bit too convenient.

And it also seems convenient that a villain could find all he needed from the haphazard collection of stuff which finds his way there.

Turns out that something that should be there isn't ... an atomic sequencer like the one from the initial scene. Superman knows now. It is the Ultra-Humanite.

 With this information out, the Humanite shows himself. He has taken over the entire workforce which is in the factory. Somehow his powers now include him spreading his mind into multiple bodies.

I don't know, this seems more like Doctor Bedlam to me.

 On sight, Batman can tell that the humans have been killed before the Humanite zombified them with technology.

That means that our heroes treat these animated bodies like robots bashing their way through them.

With the battle going on, the Humanite decides to detonate one of the drones Atomic-Skull-style. That means Superman needs to grab it and take off, saving the city.

When Superman returns, Batman is gone.

Batman wakes up in Ultra-Humanite's lab where he discovers that he has been operated on, turned into an Atomic Skull drone bomb.

Soooo ...

If the Humanite has killed all the humans before making them bombs, why keep Batman alive? I hope there is some convoluted plot point that explains this. And, of course, even if alive, how can Batman survive all this?

Overall, I think this plot of Atomic Skull drone bomb dead humans is a little crazy. I don't know if this is ever going to make sense. But the Superman guilt part of this is fascinating and adding Batman as being this involved adds to the mix.

As I said, Henry's art is fantastic. I like the attention to detail (like creases on Batman's gloved hand in the above panel) and the horror. This does feel a bit like a Cronenberg film.

So not a bad read. The art alone elevates.

Overall grade: B


Martin Gray said...

Isn’t the art fab? I’ve been loving Henry on the 100pp giant/digital Flash, so am glad he’s being promoted to the main book.

You’re right about UH being a but different to how we remember him... I’d love to see his main personas merge - gorilla in a cocktail dress, anyone?

Steve said...

I wondered why UH went cyborg instead of moving his brain again...

Anonymous said...

I just cant get that excited for a multipart story about the Ultra-Humanite. Art is decent though, I guess.