Batman/Superman “The Nemesis Objective” has mind wiped itself of all the mind wipe hullabaloo that came before. We have a brand new arc that is a good jumping on spot for new readers, much like Justice League this month. Also, like Justice League, there is a new artist on board and I’m very excited about it. For all the newness in the title, Greg Pak is still at the helm and guiding this ship. While I don’t think this issue exemplified his finest writing moments, I’m certainly willing to follow especially if we can keep our new artist Ardian Syaf along.

The issue opens up with a set-up for something I found very momentous. What I’m talking about is the guys who dressed up as Batman and Superman to entertain those little kids in the hospital. I won’t ruin it, but it’s sad and that’s an emotion I rarely honestly have while reading comics. (Certainly most of us have been desensitized to the death of Martha and Thomas Wayne. Even though I know it’s sad, I don’t always feel it.) Superman, Supergirl, Steel and Krypto are saving some orca whales when suddenly something terrible happens.

Spoiler
What I thought were bullets shred through the whales and hit Superman’s friends. They are too fast even for Supes to see, so that’s saying something.

Of course, Superman dons his glasses to do some investigative reporting. But as we all know, this is Batman/Superman and Clark just isn’t smart enough to figure things out on his own, so he goes to see the world’s greatest detective, Benedict Cumberbatch… I mean, Batman. After some moments at the hospital, they return to the Batcave where I believe some of the worst dialogue takes place.

Up until the cave I felt very strongly about this issue. It had heart, looked great, and was interesting. We get to the Batcave and Bruce just starts talking very strange. I’m not opposed to the root of what is said, but it’s presented to us -the readers- as it might have been presented to the editors at DC. “Here’s an idea guys, what if Superman had to face a villain similar to one of Batman’s? What if, somehow, Bruce could use his intimate psychoanalysis of a certain nemesis that would come in handy when Superman has to deal with the same type of threat?” I felt like it was another case of telling us what was going on than showing us. The set-up with the volunteers was great to show a particular point: the villain is cruel and that guy was truly a hero. But there should have been hints at this too that would help the reader accept it and feel those tiny pieces of information fall into place. Instead, we get an opening transcript from Lois Lane about people feeling better. I’m all about what is revealed, but the process and way it was presented was lacking. That disappoints because I felt it had/has potential.

For more, see this:

Spoiler
“You’ve got yourself a Joker.” I understand what he’s saying, but really?  Listen to Batman say that. Here Kevin Conroy say that. Is it natural? How about Christian Bale? Nope. Adam West? Well, yes, actually. And that’s the problem. That whole page of exposition, while accurate and cool, is just that: slightly boring exposition with a balloon losing air at the end. “But it gets worse.” I know it gets worse. You don’t have to tease me like a scientist in a sci-fi horror movie explaining how the virus will turn the world into three-headed nematodes who can only speak pig-latin, you’re Batman. Be cold and calculating. Give the facts. Let Superman understand stuff on his own, he’s not an idiot. Ahh, well it may be minor and it may be my subjective opinion, but I felt the technical aspects toward the end of this issue messed it up for me. Especially knowing how good this could have been.

But not all the dialogue and flow of the story is off. There are sincere moments between Bruce and Clark that are written well. There is an element of danger that feels honest and not contrived. One page in particular really shows the potential for danger that is headed Superman’s way. I really want to see the next issue, so that is a plus for sure.

Recommended if:

  • You want to see a Batman/Superman issue with good artwork again.
  • You think there’s nothing better than the dualities between Batman and Superman.
  • You’re looking to start this series. It’s a great place to pick it up.

Overall:

I am thrilled to see Syaf’s artwork. I like the overall direction this arc looks like it’s taking us. I feel like the last quarter of the book had more potential than was recognized, at least in the writing department, though the rest of the book made up for it. It’s a good first chapter in a new story arc. I’d recommend it.

SCORE: 6.5/10