This video game themed storyline may serve as mindless fun after a rather serious opening arc, but I think it has gone on for long enough. In fact, I had a moment midway through this comic when I paused for a moment and said a little prayer hoping that it would all wrap-up nicely within the next few pages but unfortunately this is only the 2nd part of a 3 part story.
Last month’s issue ended with The Dark Knight murdered by Mongul after fighting video game avatars controlled by the likes of Jimmy Olsen and other beta testers. It’s the first example of a Batman death in the New 52 and one of the most easily shrugged-off superhero deaths of all time. It’s also one of the quickest turn-arounds from death to resurrection. Look, we all knew that Batman either A) Wasn’t really dead or B) Would be revived effortlessly, it was just too wacky of a comic to take the action seriously. (And just in case you’re keeping count, Batman has been “killed” by two Superman villains in a row!)
So in this issue we open with a brief moment of mourning followed by a rage-fueled Superman pummeling Mongul. There’s really no emotional weight at all behind this scene and I was just ready for Superman to knock Mongul out, realize Batman wasn’t dead, and after seeing how Superman reacted to the apparent death of Batman, the two characters would realize how strong their bond really is. A happy, but corny ending, right? Well, that wasn’t the case. Batman really was dead and Superman, rather than knocking Mongul out, procrastinates by swatting the villain out to sea. This means that we go with option #2: Batman gets resurrected and you better believe he’s back in action and more powerful than ever before. That can happen when your entire body is reconstructed by a nanotech cloud (that’s what the video game avatars are made from). A nasty side-effect of this process is that Batman is now being driven by a few nerds as if he was a cape and cowled Voltron. Oh, and these “gamers” still don’t seem to understand that they are playing with actual lives in the balance so of course they want to see if Super-Batman can defeat Superman. Will our heroes be able to convince the gamers that they are playing in the real world before Mongul reemerges?
It all sounds like more fun than it really is, but I suppose if you want something big and ridiculous then this could be pretty enjoyable. I personally find the plot to be too silly and the depiction of the gamers to be incredibly annoying (floating bubbles with chibi caricatures over exaggerating within). And while I like what writer Greg Pak has done so far in Action Comics, the Superman of Batman/Superman just doesn’t sound right in this issue to me at all. It could be argued that we are still dealing with these characters in their younger days, but isn’t Jimmy Olsen’s wealth–an important factor in him being involved in this story at all– a relatively recent plot development? The almost blinding colors by Andrew Dalhouse really make this issue’s action pop, especially when the super-powered Batman goes to show off his new abilities. As always, artist Brett Booth shows off his knack for dynamic fight sequences (a real must for this issue), but character faces all look a bit too similar and the landscape format that this arc has is never utilized in any impressive way and instead just feels uncomfortable to hold in your hands.
- You’d like to see Batman and Superman engage in the heat-vision equivalent of Priori Incantatem
- The horizontal format isn’t uncomfortable for you
- You’re looking for big popcorn action, something silly but explosive. It’s a very Michael Bay comic
I found it to be thoroughly mediocre. If you enjoyed issue #5 and are looking for over-the-top action then you’ll probably like it, but otherwise I’d say skip it and wait for a better storyline.