Monday, May 10, 2021

Review: Batman/Superman #17

Batman/Superman #17 came out last week, the second part in a very entertaining story pitting our heroes and other versions of our heroes against Auteur.10, a seemingly extremely powerful being trying to rewrite the DC Universe through film.

Now as someone who has lived through #ReleaseTheSnyderCut hysteria and actually watched the 4 hour Snyder Justice League movie, I have to wonder if this is writer Gene Luen Yang's metacommentary on that whole thing. 

I mean, Auteur.10 thinks the current DCU is a rough cut and his vision is much much better. He has an army of archivists who want his films to be completed. It all could fit.

But the films the Auteur is making feel more like 1940's movie serials. They are fun and silly in some places. And the villain himself looks and feels more like Otto Preminger. Maybe Yang is poking fun at old stodgy folks like me who want to go back to the old ways? And as an old movie fan, I ate this up.

Doesn't matter. It is very entertaining.

Ivan Reis is again on art and Reis continues to dazzle. He is bringing us three worlds each with different environments. And it is gorgeous. Plus, I'm a complete sucker for the tagline 'Together again! For the first time!'

On to the book.


Our Earth Prime heroes have discovered a WayneTech satellite covered in filmstrips. As they smash their way through robot troops and work their way into the satellite, they here someone narrating their actions.

It's like a voiceover in a film noir. How crazy is that? Even Superman is flummoxed.

But I loved it!

The projector on his head mixed with inset eyes that look like he is wearing a monocle really gives it that old time director feel.

This is Auteur.10!

I love how he feels that Superman and Batman don't emote enough for his movies. He is making worlds on film here in the Archive and our heroes don't have the chops. 

But this feels like someone who is looking for an overabundance of emotion. His own dialogue shows that he is a ham. He wants heroes who'll chew the scenery.

Last issue, a different Superman jumped into a world, a world where that universe's Superman never survived his trip. He was going after his Lois who jumped through a portal. He joined the Batman of that world in the Antarctica who was investigating the unscrupulous warden of Arkham.

When a brawl with bad guys breaks out, Batman scoops up Lois, who he thinks is in danger, and flies off in the Batplane.

Of course Superman doesn't know Batman. His world doesn't have one. So he thinks Batman is kidnapping Lois and so flies off in pursuit.

I love Yang playing with the 'it's a bird, it's a plane' line. And Reis art is perfect. The sternness of Batman The coy smile on Lois who knows Superman is there to rescue her. Perfect. 

Luckily, Superman is eavesdropping and hears Lois tell him that she is fine. Batman is the good guy. So the Man of Steel instead smashes all the villain planes in pursuit.

There is something very Silver Age about this story. Batman wants to talk this out with Superman and so the Dark Knight blindfolds Superman for a flight to the cave. Delightfully old school.

But here we see a Superman denying his feelings for Lois, suppressing the desire to hold her hands. He loves her. But he is fearful that he will put her in more danger if he tells her his secret. Also wonderfully classic.

The heroes realize that Superman and Lois have breached a new universe. And it seems that the Lois of this world, presumed dead when the Daily Planet was blown up, has become the gangster figure The Spider Lady.

Off to Metropolis they go. Superman and Lois fly up to the top of this new Planet, Spider Lady's den of crime. Lois can't wait to meet her doppelganger.

This leaves Batman to fight some of the Warden's goons before joining the real interaction.

Batman and Robin have to get to Superman in the penthouse so out comes the rocket seats of the Batmobile.

As I said, there is a lot of Silver Age fun in these film worlds. Seeing a gleeful Robin screaming crime-fighting is the best is just fantastic. Earlier, we saw his Trigonometry text in the Batcave. It is all so very precious.

Inside the Planet, The Spider Lady slowly remembers that she was Lois. She has dreamed of a Superman. And she has traced all the ill that happened to Metropolis to a cross-dimensional secret society led by someone named Mr. Atom.

Even Jimmy had some ideas. Any where there is a difference between universes is a weak point. When Superman sees that Clark's desk is missing. He blasts the area with heat vision opening up another portal.

That's a pretty cool idea. 

And I love the action here. 

The Warden makes his way up as well. It turns out he is that world's Lex Luthor. And even though there is no live Superman on this world he is armed with a Kryptonite bracelet. 

It is up to Spider Lady to put up a fight so Superman can escape.

I loved this whole sequence. It was like a 40's movie serial. 

Back on the prime world, the Auteur says that this universe isn't up to his standards. He is going to burn it down with all the other inferior versions until his vision is the only one left.

And luckily, he can reach into these film universes and pluck out any prop he needs. The K-bracelet becomes a K-ring. And now Auteur.10 is ready to destroy the world.

Look. I'm a classic comic fan. I'm an old movie buff. And I love fun, entertaining stories. I cut my teeth on a multiverse with annual crossovers. How could I not love this issue?

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

Wasn’t this fun!? I want to know more about why Lois went bad, or are they saying that’s a result of the guy spreading chaos and discord?

Anonymous said...

I am enjoying this storyline (as a fan of the olde Columbia Batman/Superman serials) but I suspect sooner or later it won't get out of it's way in time and the whole thing will end in a smash up.
Oh well sometimes thats fun to watch.