Monday, December 7, 2020

Review: Batman/Superman #14

I'm a little late in my Batman/Superman #14 review as this came out a couple of weeks ago. 

I have been pretty pleased with this title overall. Each arc has had a unique feel. And we have moved far beyond the Batman Who Laughs nonsense. We actually have what feels like a World's Finest book, adventures of two heroes who are friends. 

This arc has been a treat with Batwoman and Steel being the back-up World's Finest as our main team try to outwit their own AI. 

While this arc has an understated ending, it does have a nice peek into our two heroes' thoughts. Each tries to talk down the villain in their own way. 

But, to be honest, the big win here is the art by Max Raynor. Nicely stylized. Dynamic. And the pages within the electronic universe are pretty dang cool. As I said last month, I wouldn't mind seeing Raynor on a Batwoman monthly.

On to the book.

We start out with the flashback of the first time Batman and Superman turned on the program they have been using to predict where villains will strike and adapt how to defeat them when it happens.

I do like how Superman brings up that Batman has created similar programs before. Whether OMAC or Tower of Babel, the hyper-paranoid Batman isn't a good one. 

If anything, I love that Batman talks about wanting to do something to make the world proud of him. We have moved away from the uber-Bat who doesn't trust anyone to someone actually working with Superman.

Unforunately, the program last issue went rogue. It has decided the best way to predict a villain is to become one. Now the Composite Superman, the program heads to Earth with Superman not far behind.

On the moon, Batman, Batwoman, and Steel have to contend with this Composite Superman's robot army. 

In a nice move, Steel releases an EMP. I just liked the art here. Pretty slick.

On Earth, the Composite Superman starts tearing up Metropolis.

I like that it is trying to figure out the supervillain's mind. 

Should he be a villain of order? Or chaos? 

Luthor? Or Joker?

Brainiac? Or Croc?

Once more the Composite Superman gives his thoughts to Superman. To defeat a villain he must understand them. The best way to understand them is to become one.

But even Superman knows that destroying Metropolis isn't part of the programming they made.

What does intelligence really want?

Back on the moon, Steel has rigged up a VR unit so Batman can talk to the essence of the programming. The pages inside the VR look like Batman Beyond meets Tron. Brilliant.

While Superman asks the robot shell what it wants, Batman reminds the program that the first two personalities downloaded into it were Superman and Batman. Can hope and vengeance blend into something more heroic?

What does this thing really wants.

It wants to be so successful that it makes its creators to be proud.

With that, it powers down.

They basically talked down a supervillain. 

Okay, a little clever.

But while all that hugging and learning was happening, someone had to keep the robots off of Batman and Steel. 

Thank goodness, Batwoman was there.

Seriously, look at this panel and tell me a Raynor penciled Batwoman book wouldn't fly off the shelves.

I want that as a t-shirt.

Last month, I said that I hoped we would get another World's Finest on Earth to fight the Composite Superman. Wouldn't it have been fantastic to see Robin and Supergirl work together.

I did like this moment when Batman says that Superman and Batman called on Steel and Batwoman at the beginning of this because they felt Steel and Batwoman could handle their caseload.

Does that mean they think they are the heirs apparent? Or just the most seasoned?

This was a fine issue. I read comics to be entertained and I was. Interesting that my favorite parts were the Batwoman stuff. But Williamson continues to bring solid characterization to our title characters and how they interact with each other.

Overall grade: B


Anonymous said...

Max Raynor also pencilled and inked two fill-ins this year for Wonder Woman (752 and 752), where Wonder Woman had to deal with the threats from warrior-from-the-past Valda, and from the Four Horsewomen, at the same time. (Paula, Devastation, and Armageddon - not sure they ever reached quite reached Four, but that was their stretch goal.)

He also drew an excellent Diana just hanging around at home, and even brought in Maxima by the end.

I see he's drawn the last 3 issues of Batman/Superman. He does general work just fine and a cool Batwoman - but I think he's especially good if you need to feature 6 distinctive and interesting-looking women-warriors.

He's not going to be carrying on with Batman/Superman in March, but Ivan Reiss will be instead - which is by no means a downgrade. But I'd like to see Raynor get more regular opportunities. That will be tough, with DC cutting back on titles.


Martin Gray said...

Max Raynor is British. Just saying’!

I liked this issue too. Especially the feisty little girl. She could grow up into a Batwoman.

Speaking of whom, I really like Kate here, whereas I generally find her unbearable in her own strip. I liked the compliment to Kate and John Henry, that Supermen noted that all the heroes of Gotham and Metropolis are capable. I think he chose Steel rather than Supergirl because Steel set himself up as a hero especially to keep Superman’s legacy going... Kara is still finding out what she wants to do with her super-strong heart.

Steel’s big blast reminded me of Supergirl and Superman’s solar blast, but less stupid.

Great cover, too!

Thanks for a top review, Anj. Did you tweet it to Max Raynor?