Last month, DC Comics published chapter 4 of a crossover called “First Contact.” Today, DC Comics published chapter 3 of “First Contact.” Now, who here can tell me where they went wrong?

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Batman/Superman is no stranger to delays, Jae Lee’s artwork takes a great deal of time after all. But having the conclusion go out before the penultimate chapter? That’s just not very wise, especially since the 4th and final part, Worlds’ Finest #21, was so bad. What reason do you have to buy part 3 when parts 2 and 4 of this 4-part series were a train wreck– and not a cool train wreck like in Batman Eternal #1— the bad kind! Well, I was able to come up with three possibilities in the “Recommended If…” section at the bottom of the review, but even that was a struggle.

I let you readers vote last month on whether I should review Worlds’ Finest #21 or wait until after Batman/Superman #9 was released. Well, you voted for me to jump-the-gun like DC and as a result I definitely went into this book with some prejudice and I think it ultimately made this a worse review. I read the ending of “First Contact” ahead of time, I had a bad time, and so today’s Batman/Superman experience felt like a complete waste of time. It honestly seemed like a chore getting through it since I knew there was no hope for the future of this arc.

Batman/Superman #9 does the bare minimum to connect chapters 2 and 4 together. Everyone is traveling to the same place and having a few flashbacks along the way, that’s pretty much it. And it’s not that fun watching these characters move from point A to point B when every setting looks exactly the same. There’s the purple cloud place, the red steam place, the brown dust place, the green smoke place, and every once in a while we have Toy Master chime in from a solid blue place. Toy Master is one of the only new things that chapter 3 adds to the story that isn’t summed up by chapter 4’s exposition, but if you hated the almost equally abysmal video game storyline that came before “First Contact,” it’s highly unlikely that you’ll care about his cameo. Truthfully, Toy Master’s screentime would have been better spent developing our villain, Kaizan Gamorra, who does next to nothing.

On the plus side there is a visually interesting moment in which Superman dons bizarre-looking armor to keep the nanobots inside of him at bay and that was a cool reveal. I think fans of Jae Lee’s work should overall be satisfied by what they see from this issue since it’s more of the same kind of panels we’ve seen in the past. I recognize that his approach is unique, beautifully colored, and it definitely sets the look of this comic apart from the crowd, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s not good for showing action or emotion or giving a sense of time and place. I like it better for covers and covers only.

Spoiler

There does appear to be a discrepancy between this and chapter four. At the end of Worlds’ Finest it seemed like Superman was still dealing with nanobots in his body, but at the conclusion of Batman/Superman #9 we see that Superman found a way to blast the bots out of his system.

Also, Jae Lee drew our Wonder Woman on the Darkseid page when I think it was supposed to be the Earth 2 Wonder Woman, who has a skirt.

I suggest skipping this and all other “First Contact” chapters. Batman/Superman #8 was okay, but 1/4 of a good story isn’t really worth your attention when there are so many other Batman and Superman books available.

Recommended If…

  • You didn’t read Worlds’ Finest #21 yet and you actually liked Worlds’ Finest #20
  • You dig Greg Pak’s narration
  • Jae Lee’s unique style is pleasing to the eye

Overall

I didn’t enjoy myself at all while reading this, but a big part of that is likely because I already knew the ending and knew that whatever I read here was only going to lead to something terrible so all of issue #9’s potential was soured by the early release of chapter 4 a month ago. So I’m tossing a few extra points in its direction because I know many of you love Jae Lee’s art and I’m acknowledging I went into this issue with a negative attitude. Still, it’s not a good score (anything I give under a 5 should probably be ignored) and I absolutely do not recommend Chapter Three or the four-part First Contact arc as a whole.

SCORE: 3.5/10

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