If you’ve been reading my reviews of this series, you’ll know I’m a fan. I like how Greg Pak handles the inner monologues. I like the interactions between Bruce and Clark and how important that relationship is. I even like Jae Lee’s artwork. This puts me in the minority with my friends and many who read these articles. That being said, I’m not a super fan of this particular issue.

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First off, the biggest complaint about the series (other than big ole delays) is the artwork. To many, Lee’s empty panels and strange shapes have been a turn off. I thought this improved in issue #13, but here we are given a new artist for this issue. The only thing about this is Diogenes Neves and Marc Deering’s art looks so freaking close to Jae Lee’s that it’s crazy. It could be that colorist June Chung (who does Jae Lee’s colors) helps maintain that similar style, but it is no doubt that Neves and Deering were trying to emulate Lee’s. If you like Lee’s artwork, then you’ll most likely enjoy this. There are more details with this new artistic team and the inks play a bigger role. When it is combined in a TPB it’ll be less distracting and I’m glad for that.

Secondly, Greg Pak’s handling of Bruce’s voice is likely to be more criticized here too. Bruce has no memory of himself and therefore is NOT himself. So the voice is going to sound way off. He’s playing it wild and crazy as both Bruce and Batman. There is some growth here towards the end for the character and we start to see Bruce act more…Bruce-like. He has some moments with Alfred that are unfortunately lost to the circumstances of his memory loss though.

Catwoman is big time conniving in this issue to Superman’s detriment. I think it’s interesting the course that Batman and Superman take through this issue. Bruce’s path of recklessness and joyriding lead to his realization that he must take responsibility, whereas Superman…

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decides to become “the law now” with his glowing red eyes looking menacing. A case could be made at this juncture that at the heart of the characters, Bruce is the better person because he has flaws (i.e. he is human and fragile) and Clark is worse because he is unhindered power with nothing to stop him. Then again the case could be made that because Clark has the freedom to do what he wants and he decides to do good with it (as a character, not in this issue) he is the more admirable person and Bruce is only good because he has no other real choice. Regardless, at the end of this issue we have a good intentioned Bruce and what seems to be an ill-willed Clark.

Nothing too major takes place in this issue. There is some revealing conversations and odd polarities of Lois and Selina as well as Clark and Bruce, but it’s not a particularly eventful chapter. I’m very curious with where this will go. The memory-loss gimmick can be laborious. Perhaps in the long run it won’t be here.

Recommended if:

  • A Clark and Selina team-up sounds good to you.
  • You’re willing to continue with this mind-wipe thing.
  • You want to see some great Jae Lee imitation artwork.

Overall:

It’s not a very strong issue. I’m not standing on my chair applauding this comic, nor am I ripping it up and throwing it in the trash. I’m along for Greg Pak’s ride. If you haven’t enjoyed things previously, I doubt you’ll enjoy it now. There is subtlety here that can be missed if one’s not careful. My gut says this series is still a go.

SCORE: 5/10

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