You want the Truth? YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!! No seriously, I can’t get a handle on it. It’s entertaining to say the least, but it is everywhere. Not to mention that Superman is everywhere, but so is his new pal The BatBot, er…the Batman. I’m making a list and checking it twice, but let’s just assume that there’s some sort of general timeline for TRUTH, but these are all individual stories that Clark (and Jim Gordon) could possibly go through in their current states.

Batman/Superman #23 takes the action underground as Superman heads to Subterranea to investigate and make amends with the leader of the kingdom, Ukur. At least that what I assume Supes was attempting to do. Clark tends to jump head first into any problem he faces with little to no thought. Maybe this is an issue that Superman has always had, but it’s highlighted more now that his powers have declined. It’s actually kind of frustrating sometimes watching Clark fumble his way through these fights. He went from being one of the most powerful beings around to having only 1/100 of that strength and all of a sudden he starts acting like the bad boy of the 52 worlds. It’d be alright if I wasn’t seeing Superman get smacked around in various issues in this storyline, but that’s not the case. I remember watching Justice League or Superman the Animated series and getting mad whenever Superman would leave himself vulnerable to attacks by being careless. What’s the point of having all those powers if you’re not going to use them, Clark? Also, now that they have diminished greatly, shouldn’t a great deal of precaution be taken? On the other hand, Greg Pak uses this reckless behavior in his story to convey that Clark’s heart is always in the right place. Even he questions what he’s doing or how he will do it. Still, nonetheless, Superman will always put others before self. He’ll gladly jump head first into a subterranean kingdom where he’s not welcomed if it means making things right. I’m guessing that therein lies the beauty of it all. For this upstanding Kryptonian, the human experiences of fear, pain, and vulnerability are somewhat alien to him. It makes total sense, but it’s as endearing as it is frustrating.

Despite Bat-Gordon’s account of the events on the surface, Clark knew that Ukur was just looking for a power source for his underground kingdom. Their old power source (an orb taken by Lana Lang) was cracked in the process, becoming useless to the society. The artificial sun developed by Waynetech seems to be the perfect replacement. Having taken part in the removal of the Subterranea’s previous power supply is what initially drives Superman to make amends, especially after Ukur’s recent introduction to the current Batman (let’s just say they won’t be sending each other any Christmas letters). What really piques Clark’s interest are the people that he finds dwell there. A group of convicts from Gotham all reside there in Subterranea. A place where they can start anew under the leadership of Ukur. These people have been given another chance after their society took one away. Down-trodden humans who need a helping hand are a sure way to reel Superman into getting involved. Donning the uniform of a fallen Dawn Command soldier, Superman converses with one of the female convicts who has made Subterranea her place of residence. Her sob story really tugs on the heart strings of the big blue Boy Scout as he lends a hand helping out with their daily duties (which entailed hauling “doodies” the size of a Rottweiler).

As usual, I enjoy Ardian Syaf’s pencils very much. Colorist Vincente Cifuentes assisted Syaf on the pages. I’m not too sure about how much Cifuentes completed himself because the panels look pretty consistent throughout the issue. Some of the faces vary between pages (namely the female convict), that could be due to different facial expressions and angles. The dark scenes of the underground Subterranea have the dim fiery glow of a dying sun about them. This visually aids the story as Ukur is trying to find a new source of power to supply his kingdom. Beth Sotelo sets the tone smoothly with her colors used in the settings of the story. Even during a scene in Metropolis, which is usually shown as a bright, bustling city, there appears to be a feeling of gloom in the air.

Waiting in the wings, Gotham City’s recently crowned Batman makes a few stops in his civilian clothing to get some more information on his new “partner”. Commissioner Gordon visits Clark’s old boss, Perry White to get his take on his former employee. Superman’s identity reveal really rubbed a few folks the wrong way because Perry, one of Clark’s biggest supporters did not have too many nice things to say about Kent. Gordon also met quickly with Lois Lane l, although unplanned. This brief Metropolis scene was placed there to give Batman some more outsider information about Superman’s character. Not to mention more camera time for Batman in what feels like a Superman centric issue.

Recommended if:

  • You enjoy a cocky, but reckless Superman
  • You want to see Superman & Batman get along…they don’t
  • You want the TRUTH, and nothing but the TRUTH, so help you God.

Overall:

As I mentioned before, it appeared to me to be a more Superman centric issue, and actually an arc for that matter. Maybe because we still have Clark as Superman, but Bruce is no longer Batman. Either way, even the Superman portions played out more like a story of Hercules, complete with large monsters, labors, and a Poseidon type character. TRUTH has been fun, but this was probably my least favorite out of all the issues so far. I really wish Bruce were here to help Superman navigate his way through this hard time for him. Or at least that Batman and Superman’s dynamic wasn’t so boring. I’m sure things will pick up as more players enter the fray and Gordon finally decides to make a move. Be sure to be on the lookout for the TRUTH recap as well to keep up and discuss what’s going on in Superman’s world.

SCORE: 7 / 10