My father sometimes uses a phrase to express his excitement over something he enjoys. It’s common enough (even though I’ve always thought it somewhat strange) but it’s exactly how I felt after reading this month’s issue of Batman/Superman. To use his words, I’m tickled over this issue. It employs an often-used “whodunnit” theme with the help of some absolutely terrific artwork. The story moves along with great pacing and it keeps the reader engaged. There are a few side roads for exposition, but it’s fine for me. At $3.99 I feel I got my money’s worth.

Superman’s got himself a Joker. This being a Batman/Superman comic, both Bruce and Clark are on the mission to find out who this person is that’s threatening (and killing) people close to Superman. This issue opens up with Superman flying to save Luthor who has just been hit by one of these mystery bullets that are too fast for Superman to track. Of course, Luthor survives, but Superman is suspicious that Luthor could actually be his “Joker”. Lex makes his characteristically condescending comments about how valuable his life is to the world and denies being the villain of this arc.

I have to say, Greg Pak writes a very well-rounded issue. After the exposition from Luthor, there are several scenes that show Superman’s fury as well as control in dealing with his reaction to this unknown villain. There is also the contrast of the candlelight vigil scene that shows another side of the Man of Steel. In the search for the identity of Superman’s Joker, Bruce and Clark visit Hector Hammond who is imprisoned by S.T.A.R. labs. It’s an interesting scene that shows Bruce’s physical vulnerability and mental strength. And dog gone, “I’m Batman” makes a hilarious appearance as well. Humor, as it turns out, is something not missing in this new arc.

After their visit to Hector, a run-in with Lobo takes place which is fun to read. At one point in a funny/sarcastic moment, Lobo responds to Superman, “You punched me three miles,” and I cracked up. Is Lobo Superman’s Joker? What’s the final reveal consist of?

Spoiler
No, he’s not. Bruce tells Lois Lane that she needs to be the bait so they can trap this villain. Next up: Farewell, Lois Lane!

So, what are we left with? A freaking solid issue of Batman/Superman. It really does have it all. It has great art. Really, applause is in order for the art crew. Sandra Archer’s and Jonathan Glapion’s inks look awesome. They capture the grit and intensity of Ardian Syaf’s pencils, who really does an astounding job. Ulises Arreola’s colors really make this issue stand out. It’s bold without being overbearing. The art is so good. But this issue also has humor, action, suspense, intrigue, heart, a variety of characters, and a plot that, as standard as it is, is effective. I really could not ask for much more in a single issue.

Recommended if:

  • You’re a stickler for good artwork.
  • A whodunnit involving Batman, Superman, and essentially the Joker sounds interesting to you.
  • You gave up on this series a long time ago because it’s looking really good now.

Overall:

This is one of the single best issues of Batman/Superman I’ve read. I can’t speak for the future, but if what we read (and see) here is any indication of what’s to come, then this will wind up being a superb arc for this series. I’m tickled to be reading it.

SCORE: 9/10