Friday, November 6, 2020

Review: Batman/Superman #13

Batman/Superman #13 came out last week, the next part in the Planet Brainiac arc. I liked the first part in this story as it gave us a sideways World's Finest pairing of Batwoman and Steel. And the art by Max Raynor was very polished.

The overall plot is intriguing. Batman has written a program to predict where super-villains will strike so he and Superman can be more pro-active rather than reactive. But then a Brainiac program worms its way into the program and decides that to be the best prediction tool it needs to understand both the villains and the heroes. On the dark side of the moon, Brainiac pits Batman and Superman against a never ending parade of robot versions of the villains, all while learning.

But the intriguing bit is hearing Brainiac trying to figure out our heroes. He must know that robot dupes won't be a real threat. Instead, he uses them to engage our title characters in a conversation about their motivations and histories. Brainiac wants to know they whys ... why do heroes become heroes and why do villains become villains. And those conversations are pretty well done. Kudos to Joshua Williamson.

Sure there are things about this issue that are wonky. But the action is fast and furious and the dialogue is crackling and the art is slick. I buy comics to be entertained. And I was very entertained. 

Steel and Batwoman have made their way to the moon, following Batman's misinterpreted  message. The Dark Knight didn't want any heroes to come and rescue them. This pair misconstrued.

Brainiac sends out some robot rogues. But they are just fodder. Nice panel of Batwoman using Steel's hammer to dole out some justice.

Now I could ask how Batwoman so quickly adapts to fighting on the moon in a moon-suit. But why quibble.

Meanwhile Batman is trussed up by a robot Riddler and forced to answer idiotic brain teasers.

I love the Riddler.

Our hero solves them all and quickly breaks free.

And then the probing.

First Brainiac asks Batman some hard questions. Why does he do what he does? It's a code, so no one else needs to feel that pain.

But Brainiac quickly points out that many of Batman's villains are born from similar tragedies. Why is the Dark Knight different?

Sick of the questions, Batman asks for the ultimate challenge, a Joker-bot.

But this is also a trap. Batman knows a Joker-bot will act chaotic, like the real thing, actually undermining the Brainiac program like a virus.


Elsewhere, Superman is also fielding questions.

Why did he become a hero? Why isn't Lex a hero even though they speak similarly?

Superman talks about the way he was raised, the values he has. That isn't Lex, who acts selfishly. 

Inside the Brainiac dome, Batwoman and Steel finally 'rescue' the heroes.

I do love Steel's answer here. Why try and make your way through a maze when you can bust through the walls? 

I honestly love that. Why play by Brainiac's rules?

In what seems like an inevitable turn, this Brainiac ... who is doing all this to be able to help Batman better anticipate villain attacks ... turns evil. Using logic, he figures out the easiest way to learn about villains is to become one. And after learning so much about Superman and Batman, he decides the best form is that of Composite Superman.  With all four of our heroes on the moon, this new robot Brainiac heads to Earth.

We start out with Doomsday getting bashed by Batwoman. We head into some cerebral look at our heroes. And we end with more baddies being pummeled. 

Not bad ... not bad at all.

Now if I had my druthers, next issue another World's Finest ... let's say Supergirl and Nightwing ... end up thwarting this thing. But I doubt that'll happen. 

Regardless, this was fun.

Overall grade: B+


Steve said...

The book was fun but I'm glad this warped Composite Superman appear sin a throwaway story in a throwaway book. He's my favorite Silver Age villain and if he appears again (which I doubt honestly) I want the wackadoodle with the Legion powers!

Martin Gray said...

This was loads of fun, I love the machine trying to understand heroes and a nod to the Composite-Superman (no, no, Bring back that MUCH better name, Amalgamax!). I love your idea for a third WF team-up, Anj!