Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Review: Batman/Superman #24

Batman/Superman #24 came out last week, the apparent conclusion to this title's opening arc of 'The Truth'. Much like last week's Action Comics, this one book ends with a decent cliffhanger and reveal. It has some good moments which show an understanding of the essence of the Superman character. But there are also some head-scratching moments as well. The story's conflict has something of a quick wrap-up, also similar to this week's Action Comics.

Writer Greg Pak has a grasp of the heroic nature of Superman. He has had him grow in this storyline, moving from dude on a motorcycle to someone rejecting the 'dark' tactics of Batman. He also has had Superman experience the rough conditions of life in Subterranea, an environment Clark contributed to. It is interesting to see Superman sympathize with these people who he plunged into darkness.

The art on the issue is something of a hodge podge of good artists. Adrian Syaf, Yildiray Cinar, Howard Porter, and Vicente Cifuentes all contribute here and most have a similar enough style to make this book flow fine. I do like the Kuder cover. Has a sort of anime movie poster feel to it.

The conflict is clear. WayneTech has an unstable miniature sun they are trying to somehow get rid of. Uruk, the leader of the refugee camps of Subterranea, wants to sun to power his lands. He is aided by a group of terrorists called Dawn Patrol. Aquaman has joined their side because he thinks the sun will poison the sea.

Superman just wants the conflict to end peacefully. And with this sun being unstable, Superman knows that the answer of simply giving the sun to Uruk doesn't make sense. And because of that, Superman is the enemy.

Aquaman ends up fighting Superman to try to stop Clark from foiling Uruk's plans. While I am sick of seeing heroes (especially friends) fighting each other, I was glad to see Aquaman tell Superman to stand down or take a fall. He doesn't want to truly harm his friend.

We also get a harder definition of just how depowered Superman is. Aquaman is 100x as powerful as Superman right now. Wow. Superman is really weak right now.

It doesn't stop Clark from trying to do the right thing. With the battle now on the WayneTech ocean refinery, Superman pushes Uruk out of the way of being vaporized by the blasts coming from the unstable sun.

Even Uruk has to be impressed. He was just trying to skewer Superman. And here, Superman saves him.


It turns out that Batman has a plan to get rid of the sun. He puts it on a rocket platform hoping to blast it far enough away from the planet so its inevitable explosion won't hurt anyone.

Superman jumps on board as well. He wants to pilot this thing since he figures he has a better chance of surviving this trip than Gordon.

As the sun lashes out, Superman seems to tolerate its blasts. I don't know if this means he has maintained the ability to absorb the sun's energies? Or if he is still that tough. Regardless, he doesn't seem energized.

And then the quick ending.

Dawn Patrol grabs the sun, plucking it out of the sky. The ship either is incinerated by the sun or teleports away. And the Patrol all teleport away. They got what they wanted (just like Wrath teleported away when she got what she wanted).

So this seemed a little quick to me, just like when Wrath did it. Why did they need to do all this? I hope we find out.

Lucius Fox reaches out to help the people of Subterranea.
Batman chastises Superman for being too impulsive and sentimental. Things are more dangerous with a depowered Superman around.

Perhaps the whole purpose of this story is too isolate Superman completely. He has no home in Metropolis. He can't hang out in Gotham with Batman. We see how Smallville hates him. Where can he go?

If only Superman had a family member he could lean on in these trying times. If only, let's say, he had a cousin who he could call on for support. If only ....

(Rolls eyes.)

There is a sort of tacked on ending to this issue which I don't get. I don't read the Batman books but it seems Bruce Wayne is living 'undercover' as the owner of an orphanage. He is raising kids.

Superman stops by. The scene is a throwback to one of the earliest issues of this title when Pak and Jae Lee had Bruce and Clark interact with kids. (Even the art seems to want to be like Jae Lee.)  Here we see Bruce adopting some of Clark's kinder ways.

But I don't think this added anything to this story. I don't know why Clark looks cleaner and happier. I don't know how Bruce is hiding out in his home town with only a beard as his disguise.

And then another reveal. In Action Comics we saw Wrath enter a dimension where three other villains were scheming against Superman. Here we learn who one of them is ... Vandal Savage.

That is a nice reveal. Savage is a big enough villain to be a challenge for Superman.

So I like how Clark acted in this issue. This was a more natural feel of Superman than he was in the earlier parts of this arc. And I like that the Subterranea subplot was dealt with.

But this didn't have the energy of the Action arc. This story, as a whole, hasn't really grabbed me. In my mind, I am putting this chronologically after Action. Superman leaves Metropolis and heads to Gotham. But I don't know if that is true.

Still, at least The Truth, as a whole, is moving forward.

Overall grade: B-


Jay said...

Anj, the end of Snyder's last Batman arc had Joker and Bruce basically fighting to the death underneath Gotham. There was a substance down there which had healing properties and revolved around the overall tale in ways I won't get into here, but essentially what happened is that Bruce did, in a sense, die from his wounds. But the substance began healing him, and in the process it actually healed his brain in a way in which it erased the memories of the training he ever received as Batman, not to mention the mental scarring. So he's alive, but he's essentially a clean slate. He's just a guy named Bruce Wayne who runs an orphanage now. Until something comes along of course to upload his old memories back into his brain so he can be Batman again.

Anj said...

Thanks Jay.
I was lost there.