Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Review: Batman/Superman #21

Batman/Superman #21 came out a while ago, just reaching the top of my review pile today. Pardon for the delay. 

This is the conclusion of the Auteur.IO arc and while I have enjoyed it, I do wonder if this has been padded a bit to fit the trade. I have enjoyed seeing the 'film' versions of Batman and Superman here. This is a classic Batman, actually caring and mentoring Robin. I have liked the this Fleischer-esque Superman. And I have even liked the sort of metatextual look at comics, fandom, and an auteur director trying to force his view of the DCU on everyone. 

But we sort of meandered a bit these last couple of issues. And despite that, the ending in this issue just sort of happens. I don't know if I exactly know who this being is or why what happened happened, despite the expositional origin earlier. 

No complaints about the art. Ivan Reis has crushed it this whole arc. I have loved his rendition of different worlds. The whole film borders and burning panels has been sharp. I'll never complain about Reis' work.

On to the book.

We start the issue with our heroes heading to the Fortress of Solitude to try and stop Auteur.IO from razing Superman's world. 

But remember that part of this storyline has been Batman and Superman not only seeing new worlds but seeing Auteur.IO and even their Earth-0 primary forms.

It is enough to shake Batman. Is he some derivative of the pure form, a shadow on the cave wall? Has he seen God? It is rare to see Batman with such existential angst.

But more interesting, I sort of like this Batman. He isn't some diminished version.

And I do love this corrupted Auteur.IO, cackling away and in love with his own genius.

Such pathos!!

Remember, Auteur.IO has sent his agent Etrigan to Superman's Earth to destroy it. And the Demon's weapon of choice? Superman's army of Super-robots.

There is nothing I like more than the World's Finest fighting robots because they can let loose. No loss of life.

But the thing I love here is the Batman and Robin interchange. Robin has sussed out that the robot's weak point is its belt buckle. Still not good enough to get him out of doing homework.

I truly have loved this chummy relationship between the Dark Knight and the Boy Wonder.

But there is more to it than fatherly training.

This Batman isn't afraid to show he cares.

When Robin is frightened by the sight of the Demon, Batman is there to calm him. 

That is pretty cool. 

When the robots don't work, Etrigan activates the Eradicator to be a bomb to destroy the place.

Luckily Batman is able to grab it and fling it to Superman to deactivate.

This has to be a reference to the famous 'some days you just can't get rid of a bomb' scene in the Batman '66 movie.

Superman and Batman convince Etrigan to give up working for Auteur.IO and join them, perhaps to become a star in his own story.

It is time to try to get to the bottom of this, take the fight to Auteur.IO directly. Best way to do that is to once again open up a burn hole.

Again, I love the innate friendship between Batman and Superman even though they have only just met. Even here, Superman knows that in what should be reality he would have a statue of Batman in the Fortress. Since the statue isn't there, it is the site of the portal.

Once in the Nexus, Etrigan releases our Earth-0 heroes out of the Phantom Zone crystal they were trapped in. 

Suddenly all 4 of our heroes are in action, the normal sized Earth-0 heroes and their diminutive film stars. 

The Supermen untangle all the filmstrips that Auteur.IO has fused. And the Batmen upload they code the created to undo the mess satellites had done to this purer form.

Just like that it's over. Maybe too quick? 

Suddenly, the Auteur.IO, the petulant director trying to wrangle a perfect vision, becomes the Observer.IO, someone intent on just watching and enjoying the stories as they play out.

Heck, I am a sucker for Elseworlds. And the truth is these film versions of Superman and Batman were pretty close to versions I have in my heart. So it was fun to see them interact in more classic, almost Golden Age worlds. As I said before, the art is astounding.

I still don't know if I understand who the Auteur is, why he was corrupted, or how he got saved. Maybe I need to reread. But in the end, I can roll with that given the story we got.

Overall grade: B


Steve said...

I don't think it's intentionally padded. Terrifics proved Yang has no clue when he should endn a story.

Anonymous said...

Its also the sort of storyline that is hard to end on a satisfying note, sometimes thats just built into the premise...it does make me want a "Superman '48" miniseries with full likeness rights from Kirk Alyn's estate.


Professor Feetlebaum said...

I would definitely buy a "Superman '48" mini series, or even a one-shot. In addition to Kirk Alyn, they would also need likeness rights from the estates of Noel Neill, Tommy "Butch" Bond, and Pierre Watkin. And Lyle Talbot if they decide to use Luthor. But would a "Superman '48" be in color, or more authentic black and white? And when Kirk Alyn Superman is flying, would he become an animated cartoon?

Would also like to see a "Superman '51" with George Reeves and Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane.

Anonymous said...

Oh Superman '51 most definitely...maybe revisit the Mole-men? I just think "Superman '48" is an especially cool idea since it gives some exposure to the oft overlooked Kirk Alyn.