Monday, June 8, 2020

Review: Batman/Superman #9

Batman/Superman #9 came out this week, starting a new storyline. Like many opening chapters, it starts the plot and gives us just enough crumbs to grab us.

The first couple of arcs have been pretty tightly linked to the histories of either Batman or Superman as well. The Batman Who Laughs, the Infected, General Zod, Ra's Al Ghul all have been involved in the first 8 issues. So I am actually a little thrilled to see this storyline involving the Ultra-Humanite. Show me an old school adventure where the World's Finest teams up to fight a threat which isn't tied too tightly to event comics.

Writer Josh Williamson has done a good job so far in this book giving us the inner thoughts of our two heroes and specifically denoting how they think of each other. I am a little weary of the text box inner narrative approach to story telling which is so common place these days. But here, given the friendship of such two very different main characters, I have been pretty pleased.

The art is by Clayton Henry, an artist whose style I like. Bodies seem big and wide, a sort of modern style Wayne Boring. And there is a polish here that I like. And colors by Alejandro Sanchez are vibrant, especially given the colors and energy of the Atomic Skull who is featured here.

On to the book.

We start out with two Gotham cops who stumble upon a rotting corpse on the beach near the harbor. But this one has been manipulated. All we see are wires and other mechanics embedded in the arm.

I am a believer in 'show don't tell'. But sometimes I like being shown just a little. My imagination of what the rest of this guy looks like is always going to be more terrifying.

Nice art here with us seeing the cops from the corpse's view.

In Gotham, Batman is taking on the Atomic Skull.

It is an odd interaction as Skull seems not be in control of his actions. He is saying that he isn't trying to hurt anyone. But he is blasting police and seems unhinged.

We get a nice brief recap that Skull has actually reformed recently. So this seems off. It also could be that the GCPD are attacking him for being the Skull and therefore exacerbating things.

I did like Batman's inner thoughts as this unfolds that folks who live in Gotham are stubborn. They want to live in the chaos. Interesting thoughts.

As the battle continues, some GCPD show up ... or people we thing are GCPD.

Turns out they are wearing out of date gear.

Nice action here by Batman. You can feel that punch!

And they are all wired up similar to the arm we saw earlier. And they were acting like drones. (In fact, they were of such hive mind at the beginning of the scene I thought it might be Multiplex!)

Still seething with energy and really out of control, Skull says there is a plot to hurt Superman by using Batman. Skull then apologizes and explodes ...

I am never a fan of scenes like this where the Skull has something to say but never says it. Why not just start the sentence off with who is responsible? I can only hope we get some explanation why Skull is so rattled and seemingly out of control of his own body.

Meanwhile Superman is on the other side of the world hoping for a quiet evening with Lois at the Eiffel Tower. (As quiet as it can be with the press following Lois around.)

But the explosion of the Skull is massive. So big Superman hears it and has to fly off.

I do like how Clark and Lois are having a date night!

We see Superman helping out in the devastated Gotham, lifting trucks, flying people, and general clean up. Then, at the epicenter, he frees Batman who is stuck under some overturned cars.

I love how Superman believes in the Skull and doesn't think that he has gone bad. So the mystery is more about who he is running from.

Meanwhile back at the harbor, the two cops realize the corpse didn't wash up from the harbor but instead may have come out of a nearby cave.

This investigation leads one to be killed and the other to be captured by the Ultra-Humanite who is concocting a revenge scheme against Superman by utilizing an Atomic Army!

Decent opening chapter even if it did result in the death of Atomic Skull. The art is slick. And, as I said, I like that this is simply an adventure the two title characters are having. It isn't (or doesn't seem to be) tied to ongoing longform plots in their titles.

So I am in for more.

Overall grade: B

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

I enjoyed this a lot, bar the underwhelming two-page explosion - what a waste of expensive real estate, in both senses. Still, what a treat to see at least some of the Superwoman series survives, with the reformation of the Atomic Skull.