Monday, October 11, 2021

Review: Batman/Superman #22

Batman/Superman #22 came out earlier this month, the last issue of this title. It's a shame to see another version of a World's Finest title fade away. Yes, this one started as basically a side series for the Batman Who Laughs mega-arc. But throughout the book, the heroes have been partners and friends. I am always glad to see Batman and Superman working together.

Writer Gene Luen Yang has been on the book for a while and as is his fashion, he gives us a quirky story with a meta-textual peek at comic books in general. His Auteur.IO story riffed on comics and fandom. This issue is even crazier.

Yang is almost a gimmick writer at times. You couldn't do something like this as a title long term. But Yang can inject some fresh air and some humor into books. Think about his 'choose your own adventure' Terrifics book or his 'flip book' Annual on this title. 

This issue has a Mxyzptlk-powered Calendar Man learning he is in a comic and taking advantage of the panels and gutters. And it is funny and cute. Why not do something like this in a final issue?

Artist Paul Pelletier brings solid story telling to the insanity. I like how he breaks the rules here. 

The only thing missing is an Ambush Bug cameo!

On to the book.

The book starts with Calendar Man dying at Arkham Asylum in something called A-Day. I guess that is what I get for not keeping up with the Batman titles.

He is resurrected by Mr. Mxyzptlk who turns out to be a fan. 

And he gives Calendar Man a Magic Hat and some knowledge. Just like calendars month pages are broken up into little boxes, so to is their lives. He's talking about the panels. And now Calendar Man has control over them, down to the very number.

And all Calendar Man wants is revenge against Batman.

Using his newfound powers, he gets to Gotham.

And when threatened, he reaches over the panels and dispatches his attackers. I liked this page as one Calendar Man is shocked to see the other one bash the heads in of the thugs. 

That's fun.

And then later, as Batman investigates a blip of 5th Dimensional energy in the Batcave with Superman, Calendar Man leaps right into the scene, across the page fold and gutter!

Again, this is silly and innovative.

Later in the fight, Mxy gives Calendar Man a red editing pen. 

But a well placed batarang forces him to drop it in one panel and have his arm cut off by it in another. 

I have barely touched on the impish action in the book. But despite the mayhem Calendar Man has wrought, even learning Batman's secret identity, the heroes step up to save him.

Of course, they also destroy the magic hat so he no longer can move about the medium so swiftly.

And then the best piece of metatextual fun in the book.

Mxy cures Calendar Man of his arm injury and even strips the memory of the Batman's secret identity from his mind.

And then he calls us out as readers. We come back month after month, reading these adventures, and never grow tired of the stories. I love the exasperation on his half face.

He knows we love our heroes.

Okay, this would have been a great issue to release in April as an April Fool's Day gag. But why not have a single issue wrap-up to a title be the humor issue.

And Pelletier is able to showcase the insanity with reality-bending pages. I like the craziness of it all.

This is the sort of book you should give a new reader or a grizzled, jaded old reader. Pure fun.

Overall grade: B

1 comment:

William Ashley Vaughan said...

Loved this. Gene Luen Yang is one of DC's most resourceful and imaginative writers. He has some of the Silver Age spirit of "try anything no matter how wild if it might entertain the readers.