When Batman falls into a coma after repairing a satellite, Superman uses his X-ray vision to find the source of the problem and discover a microscopic spaceship lodged in The Dark Knight’s brain. Unable to save Batman on his own, Superman turns to the organization known as S.H.A.D.E. and scientist Ray Palmer for help.
Greg Pak & Jae Lee take a break for this installment, allowing Jeff Lemire and a pair of interchanging artists to step in for a quick single issue adventure, which obviously makes this a filler episode. Is that a bad thing? Those are often not worth your time. In fact, this issue can barely even be called a “Batman & Superman” comic because Batman’s barely in it at all and Superman takes a backseat to Palmer AKA The Atom. It’s an Atom issue first and foremost and it feels as if he’s here to take the New 52 for a test drive. The comic gave me the sense that DC was throwing a character they’re not 100% confident about into a big-name comic so hey can watch how fans react. It’s not a terrible strategy and I think it works out well here. Mind-blowing? Not quite, but it should successfully spark interest in the hero and I’m definitely giving Batman/Superman #10 my recommendation because it’s good, lighthearted fun!
Immediately, you might think that this is going to be like “Fantastic Voyage” and we’ll spend the issue watching Atom and Superman traverse Batman’s over-trained muscles and superior immune system, but that’s not the case. There’s no time for that! Which, is a pity, but nevertheless the comic jumps right into the big battle for Batman’s brain as soon as the introductions are over. Those intros take up most of the first half of the book, which does all the heavy lifting of detailing the bizarre premise and explaining what S.H.A.D.E. is and who Palmer is. Writer Jeff Lemire also takes the opportunity to nod to his other comics like Justice League United and Green Arrow, which should make his fans happy. They’ll also recall, that it was Lemire who dealt the most with S.H.A.D.E. when The New 52 began and he has prior experience with Palmer as well and it shows. The Atom rocks in this issue and I’d love to see more from him. It’s an issue that will sell many readers on the possibilities of the character.
The story itself is as ridiculous as it sounds and even moreso when you finally meet our microscopic villains, but it’s a throwaway adventure that you don’t need to take too seriously and I think if you go into it with an open mind you’ll have a good time even if Batman’s role is minor. The major drawbacks of the book are that with it being an inventory issue there’s that sense that what you’re seeing doesn’t matter and, an even bigger problem, the artwork is really hit or miss. With two artists (Karl Kerschl & Scott Hepburn) taking turns on which pages they draw, the comic has an inconsistent look and no visuals that are at all memorable.
A final criticism can be found in the spoiler tags below:
- Ray Palmer is a character you adore
- You’ve been looking for a wild done-in-one comic
- The more outrageous the storyline, the better
- You’re familiar with Jeff Lemire’s other work. He doesn’t hesitate to reference the greater DC Universe
It’s a fun filler-issue, especially if you’re a fan of Ray Palmer as The Atom, but on the downside Batman and Superman don’t do a whole lot, the artwork is inconsistent, and, well, it’s a filler-issue. NOTE: Its ending does potentially set up a future storyline, but who knows for sure?