Thursday, September 3, 2020

Review: Batman/Superman #11

Batman/Superman #11 came out this week, the conclusion of the Ultra-Humanite story that writer Josh Williamson has been crafting. For me, these quicker stories (this one just three issues) make for much needed relief in this era of mega-storylines like the ones I have seen recently in Justice League and other books. 

One thing Williamson has been doing in this title since the beginning is use the plots to examine the friendship between Superman and Batman. Sure, things like The Batman Who Laughs and The Ultra-Humanite are bringing them together on adventures. But what keeps them together. I have been liking what has been going on here as both characters at times question the camaraderie, wondering themselves why they are in it together only to have the other reaffirm the friendship.

And the Ultra-Humanite plot here is pretty silly fare, wrapped up a bit too quickly and neatly. But under that is another look at how the DC universe is reacting to Superman's reveal that he is Clark Kent. I don't think it should get under the skin (as it were) of the Ultra-Humanite as much as it does here. But whose to say. When you think your best recourse in life is to live inside the body of an albino gorilla, maybe I shouldn't expect mature emotional responses. Most interesting is that it is the exact opposite to the response of another Superman villain, The Toyman.

The art by Clayton Henry is crisp and lovely, bringing this whole story to a decent enough conclusion. 

And thankfully, my questions on the Ultra-Humanite's powers are answered here as well.

On to the book.

We start with an Atomic Skull infused, Ultra-Humanite controlled Batman is heading out to fight crime in his city.

It is something of a field test. The Ultra-Humanite wants to know if he has complete control over the Batman. And he barely does.

The Batman has a strong mind, enough to fight against the Humanite's wishes, somewhat.

He could have had Batman kill a bunch of people to discredit the Dark Knight. He could have had Batman unmask in front of the world as well.

But instead he wants to use Batman as a weapon. Hmmm ...

Back in his lair, the Ultra-Humanite and Batman are both surprised when Superman suddenly appears.

I like when Superman says Batman isn't the only detective. I grew up in the era of super-intelligence. Clark Kent is an investigative journalist. I understand that in the current world, Batman is the ultimate hero in all things.

But Superman isn't a dunce. He should know how to track radiation signatures like this. And I like how annoyed he is that the Ultra-Humanite seems surprised he could track them.

 When ordered to attack Superman, Batman resists. It is easy for the Ultra-Humanite to then go to his back-up plan, to explode Batman like an Atomic-Skullian grenade.

With little choice, Superman blasts Batman in the chest with heat vision, apparently killing his friend and ending the explosive threat.

The Humanite gets a chuckle out of it. Batman thought Superman was his friend. And now Superman has killed him.

That riles Superman up enough to initiate a brawl where the Humanite's real gripe is revealed.

Superman pretended to be a frail human. And the Humanite, an actual frail human before he brain transplanted, felt insulted by Superman doing that.

Interesting to compare that to Toyman who was so impressed with Superman getting up and working a 9-5 job on top of everything that he turned over a new leaf.

At the very least, this shows the ripples of Superman's reveal are still being felt.

And very solid art by Henry. You can feel every punch.

You didn't think Batman was really dead, did you?


Super-fine heat vision killed the detonator. 

With Batman alive, the two heroes incapacitate the Humanite with Batman cutting a power cord keeping the gorilla body moving.

And then an explanation of the Humanite's souped up confusing powers.

In this new world, he doesn't transplant his brain. He uses the power of his brain to control 'drones' from a distance. That answers a lot of my questions from last issue.

And it looks like that brain is injured from the variety of experiments it has endured.

So we get a nice little coda.

The Humanite's brain is in STAR Labs. But even they wonder how many drones are still out there.

The Atomic Skull is buried a hero.

And Batman performs surgery on himself to remove all the Humanite electronics. That seems a bit too easy. But of all the insanity in this issue I guess I shouldn't mull over this.

I do like how Superman says that the two of them can hang out more. They shouldn't just be friends over cases. I'd love to see a follow-up story of them chumming around as Clark and Bruce.

We hear more in this issue about the Skull falling in with the Humanite. We see that Superman is afraid that he should have discussed his decision to reveal his identity with Batman beforehand. But overall this is about how the two just want to be friends and shouldn't let small stuff or big albino gorillas get in the way.

And because it is that sentiment that is the foundation for a silly super-adventure, I liked this a lot.

Overall grade: B+

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

Yeah, this was bright and breezy fun. I’m impressed by how it ties into Teen Titans, which ties into Young Justice - it’s starting to feel like we have a coherent DCU again.

My favourite moment this issue was the very last page. A lovely moment for those of us who enjoyed the Superwoman book.