Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Review: Batman/Superman #7

Batman/Superman #7 came out this week starting a new storyline by Joshua Williamson with art by Nick Derington. It is a very story again showcasing the alliance of the world's finest heroes this time trying to stymie an ongoing war between two of villains:Batman's Ra's Al Ghul and Superman's General Zod.

Williamson again shows the inner thoughts of the heroes and why they are natural partners. It is interesting to see each dealing with the other's rogue. Ra's may be an extreme threat to Batman but to Superman he's just a guy.

It also builds on the death of the Kandorians in Brian Michael Bendis' Man of Steel. In that book, I thought for sure that Rogol Zaar literally trampled the mini-Kryptonians underfoot. But here they are intact ... just dead. And perhaps, as such, they are ready to be raised and repopulate New Krypton. That's a decent plot.

Derington's are is wonderful. It is both classic in feel but with a sense of flair. I think he is better suited for the Batman side of the proceedings than the Superman stuff but that's just me. I loved his work on Doom Patrol and it is just as spectacular here.

Thankfully, this also means infected Joker Batmen are not present. Progress!

On to the book!

We start with a monologue from General Zod as he recounts the story of Kandor from its capture to its destruction.

This panel struck me. I always like the Silver and Bronze Age stories from Kandor where there was a mini-society ongoing with people living normal lives, falling in love, having kids, etc. This simple panel conveyed that.

But Zod knows that Kandor needs to be avenged.

Meanwhile, Batman and Superman continue to team up to stop countless threats. Williamson and Derington lay them out in rapid fire one panel stories.

Instead of showcasing how different their backgrounds are, Williamson has Superman point out that both their stories begin with loss and death. It puts Krypton a bit in the forefront, that loss a point of origin rather than the Kents love.

Still, nice page with beautiful art and interesting super-micro-stories.

There is a bit of a deus ex machina to spur the plot along. A computer algorithm the two have been using to anticipate threats says that the Kryptonite man's grave is next to be attacked. Sure enough it is. I don't know ... I suppose if I can accept heat vision and predictive algorithm for supervillain attacks should be possible.

Again, Derington's art here is slick. There is an economy of lines here, akin to folks like Samnee, Shaner, and Toth.

It seems an armed villain was looking to gather any K left in the corpse but none is there. Instead, the assassin attacks with a stinging synthetic Kryptonite sword.

It turns out to be Ra's who says he was looking for Kryptonite. But with none present he decides to bid adieu.

Of course a smoke bomb can't really flummox Superman who sees through and flies through the cloud. Superman vs. Ra's isn't a fair fight.

Still, that first panel is my favorite of the book. The expression, the action, it all works.

Ra's says that he needed Kryptonite to fight General Zod who has been looking for a Lazarus Pit to raise the Kandorians.

Realizing that hundreds of resurrected Kryptonians could have dire consequences, Ra's destroyed the Pit he was at.

Now he needs to keep Zod from finding any other pit. Somehow this leads to the team up of Batman, Superman, and Ra's Al Ghul. Incredible.

En route to the next Lazarus Pit with Superman flying next to the Batplane, the Dark Knight makes it abundantly clear that he doesn't trust his foe.

He will break every bone in Ra's body should it turn out that Ra's is lying.

I like how Ra's is completely unimpressed and not scared at all by such a bold declaration, only asking Batman not to change.  In it's own way, that is hilarious.

Arriving at a Pit in Central America, the three discover Zod already there, dispatching the guards.

And Zod doesn't want to fight Superman. In fact he just wants Superman to leave.

I like how Zod and Superman have come to some sort of grudging respect for each other in recent years.

And, much like Ozymandias, he isn't there to tell the heroes what he is going to do. He's already done it. A bunch of mini-Kryptonians, mad as hell on Lazarus juice, come rising from the Pit to swarm our heroic pair.

That's a nice hook ending.

I like this mad mix of characters. Ra's, Zod, Batman, and Superman is a wild mix of personalities and vendettas, and goals. Throw in the Kandor subplot and you have a nice stew. You would think Superman wouldn't be against bringing the Kandorians back to life. But, as always, be careful what you wish for! They could be insane. They've been dead for a while!

And Derington's art is really gorgeous bringing a nice polish to the story. The panel of the dead Kandorians rising from the Pit in flight is chilling.

So not a bad opening chapter.

Overall grade: B+


Anonymous said...

Derington and Bendis teamed up for what I thought was a great Batman story in the dozen issues of the first Walmart Batman Giant - reprinted in the 6-part Batman: Universe. Somehow, Derington's style just works. I wouldn't think I would love it, but I just do.

Who wouldn't like the chance to kick back and have an espresso with Ra's Al Ghul?


Rob S. said...

Oh, wow... I might be picking up this storyline, after avoiding the previous one for obvious, cackling reasons. LOVE Nick Derrington's art!

Anonymous said...

Hello from a french fan of supergirl.

A new army of vilain!
Zombies ? yes
Overkill ? yes, kryptonizn
Numerous ? yes, 100 000 ?
Tiny ? euh ?

It's the first time i see that in a comic. And i love the comment of Batman "Ra's, you don't want to get in the middle of two kryptonians" . A good advice !

Anonymous said...

Ugh. I hate hearing the name Rogol Zaar. Can we please just retcon him already. It's a terrible character, nobody likes him, and the entire premise of him is just stupid.

As for this series, I'm digging it. I was expecting anything special, but that art �� soooo good.