Batman and Superman’s working relationship is shaky at best. The only reason there is any sort of communication between the two is because Gordon wants to bring Superman down, but he also needs to work with him because, well…he’s still Superman. Who else is going to ride the backs of sea creatures, face off against the God of Atlantis, and help stop the impending doom of an exploding artificial sun? A number of heroes, but Superman is the closest one available.

As time has gone on, it’s become customary for Superman to get his teeth kicked in issue after issue. Whether it’s in this title, or any of his numerous titles dealing with his current condition, Superman is taking more lumps than an occasional coffee drinker. I guess one can say that he’s paying his dues. One thing that hasn’t changed about Superman is that he still has a lot of heart. Many people would have already backed down to tend to their wounds. He’s not an ordinary person though, is he? Outnumbered and way out of his league, Clark Kent literally dives head first into the action. I feel like we’re just seeing Superman’s transformation into an adrenaline junkie with a penchant for pain.

A solid sucker punch from Aquaman. Looks pretty painful
A solid sucker punch from Aquaman. Looks pretty painful to me

Watching Kent and Gordon work grudgingly work together is sort of painful. They’re on the same side of the law, but their trust of each other is almost nil. It’s understandable seeing how Gordon’s getting use to his new role, and this version of Superman is a little rough around the edges. As much of an annoying pest that BatGordo may be to some of the heroes who have interacted with him, it has to be extremely frustrating to watch Superman fumble his way to solving a crime in your city.

I still feel like this title has become an extra solo Superman adventure that just features Batman. Mind you, the changes that occurred have changed their dynamic quite a bit, but for the most part it’s just Superman doing his thing and Batman reacting to it. I guess this allows for them to show how there relationship will play out organically, but it really is the Superman show. It’s funny because neither hero is especially great at the moment. Most of the time it’s painful to watch, but it also leads to great moments from time to time. Superman getting a little flight “assistance” from Aquaman was particularly a favorite scene of mine.

"How do you feel playing second fiddle to Superman?"
“How do you feel playing second fiddle to Superman?”

Three artists worked together to complete the issue. I really enjoy Syaf’s work on this title. There aren’t any jarring differences between the artists’ panels. I can tell which ones are Syaf’s pencils for the most part, but Yildiray Cinar and Howard Porter do an excellent job at keeping the book visually consistent. There are some really great looking pages in this issue. I’d like to see some more great shots of BatGordo, but the reaction pics of Clark taking heavy hits from Arthur sufficed just as well.

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Spoiler
The presence of Dawn Command still has me interested. I need to know more about the shadowy group, and their obsession with Superman. Someone is really gunning for him, and I need answers! I’m glad Superman mentioned something about possibly recharging his powers because I figured he’d want to know how temporary or permanent his power loss may be. I thought the ending was really neat. It allowed Bruce and Clark to see each other again, and thanks to Bruce’s amnesiac state, were introduced to Superman’s new alias, Jon Clark. Not sure how often he’ll go by it, but it was a nice touch to show that a connection could still be made between them.

Recommended if:

  • You want to see Superman go up against Aquaman
  • You don’t mind a Superman featuring Batman title

Overall:

Gordon and Kent both prove that without a doubt, they’re willing to put everything on the line to do what’s right and protect everyone. They still have their differences, but they’re starting to realize that they need one another to get to the bottom of the situation. Watching Superman hold his own against King Arthur of Atlantis was a treat although holding his own meant being able to take a few punches. I think the Subterranea plot helped to establish some heart and soul into the overall story, and I would like to see some more emotion and higher stakes that really challenge the world’s finest Batman and Superman to their core.

 

SCORE: 7.5  / 10