The biggest flaw in Batman/Superman’s first arc is that we all new from the very first page that everything that would happen over the next four issues would inevitably get swept under the rug. Justice League #1 made it clear that that particular meeting of Batman and Superman was their first so obviously there would be some sort of mind-wipe to make our heroes forget everything that happened in Greg Pak’s Earth-2 based storyline.
Something that would have actually made such a plot device redeeming for me would be if this tale had featured our heroes in a situation that really pushed them to their limits and had them commit an act that was better left forgotten, but besides the somewhat confusing issue #1 reveal of Earth 2 and the charming childhood story of Bruce and Clark in the previous issue this arc hasn’t offered anything all too memorable. In fact, most of the pages of issue #4 feature the Batman and Superman of Earths 1 & 2 arguing about a giant crystal… hardly the most captivating scenario for the world’s mightiest heroes. Yes, the crystal is supposed to be a powerful weapon of some sort but its abilities aren’t really put into any context. We just know that it’s big and it’s bad and it’s a crystal. Even Kaiyo’s fight with Wonder Woman felt uneventful. After all, we know how Wonder Woman really dies in Earth 2 so she’s going to come out of this just fine and Kaiyo is the narrator of our story so she’s going to be just fine, plus we really don’t know Kaiyo’s weaknesses or if she can be destroyed at all. It all feels rather pointless. The interactions between Earth 1 & 2 Batman and Superman in the previous issues were the real highlight of this arc, but the central plot left a lot to be desired.
As for Jae Lee’s artwork, I continue to be in the minority about this. I find his lack of backgrounds, static imagery, and expressionless faces make for ineffective storytelling. However, when all that needs to be shown is the characters standing or flying in iconic poses I can definitely see the allure and it can’t be denied that Lee gives this series a distinct look unlike anything else on the shelf. June Chung, who deserves a great deal of the credit, is a big part of making these pages glow and most of the time the colors are the only thing that give us any clue as to what the setting may be.
I’m looking forward to whatever the next arc may be since there won’t be an inevitable mind-wipe and it will feature a modern setting and an artist who has more of a knack for energetic panels.
- Jae Lee is one of your favorite artists (this will be his last issue for a while)
- You need to see the end of this 4-part story no matter how predictable it may be
- You want to see Earth-2 Batman and Superman one last time
It’s not bad but it felt like we were just going through the motions since everyone knew there would be a mind-wipe scenario from the get-go. Once the Earth 2 Batmen and Supermen met and had their fun character moments the story really seemed to run out of steam. Fans of Jae Lee’s art will find this issue the most rewarding, but I found it to be the weakest chapter in the 4-part opener. The build-up was enjoyable, but the pay-off left me rather disappointed.