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The journey to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has been a long one, but the wait is finally over.  Now that the film’s release is just a little over a month away, the promotional game has kicked into high gear to sate everyone’s appetite while we wait for the film to premiere.  From surprisingly good tie-in comics (sponsored by Dr Pepper, King of Beverages), to clever commercial spots, there’s been no shortage of material being put out to up the level of anticipation and make this cinematic world feel more real.

To go along with their contest to win a signed copy of the film’s script, a chance to attend the film’s premiere or… fly in a jet-pack, amongst other things, Doritos has released a prequel comic that proves that there’s bound to be a lemon here and there.

Centered around the unveiling of the new Superman statue that has been featured in a large portion of the film’s marketing, this one-shot focuses largely on Batman’s distrust of Superman while also juxtaposing the two heroes’ acts and methods to show that heroism comes in many forms. image

If all of this sounds familiar, that’s because it is: we’ve seen everything here before, not just in years of comics in general but specifically in the ads and other prequel material that’s out there for this one film.  That wouldn’t be a bad thing if it had something new to say or if it was told well, but Christos Gage’s script is surprisingly bare and lazy.  There’s a good line or two here and there, but most of the issue is just a retread of well-worn ideas and lines.

This is actually one of the good lines.
This is actually one of the good lines.

I understand that this is a short freebie, but so were the aforementioned Dr Pepper installments and those were refreshingly well-written with distinct points of view.  Here, it’s just Batman being broody and cynical about Superman, which we’ve seen in just about every tv spot and trailer so far.  If there was any depth to the dialogue, say with a counterpoint from Alfred, it may have fared better, but as it is Bruce’s dialogue comes off as remarkably one-dimensional.

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There’s some additional input from citizens of Metropolis, all of whom are interviewed before the statue is unveiled.  The different points of view bring a bit more depth to the proceedings and the main theme of Superman’s alien nature, but it frankly isn’t enough and was handled much better in the Senator Finch and Superman stories.

And speaking of Superman… well, plenty of people do that for him, which is good because he doesn’t say a word. I get what Gage was going for, having Bruce question Clark’s motives and devotion while having Clark demonstrate his true selflessness, but it just felt uneven.  As a fan, I know we’re supposed to root for both of them because they’re both good guys, but it really felt like on some pages we were supposed to view Superman as a bad guy and on others as a hero.  The idea was there, but the execution was sloppy.

Visually, things are just… there.  Joe Bennett’s pencils are fine, if unremarkable.  The likenesses of the title characters don’t really match the respective actors, but I can live with that.  It’s his action scenes that are dull and uninspired, with Clark looking stiff and lifeless while he stops disasters.  There’s one fight between Bruce and some thugs that fares a little better, though it’s ultimately too short to be memorable.  Hi-Fi’s colors are the saving grace of the imagery, but even they often lack definition and depth.

This was sadly about what I’d expect from this kind of tie-in, but hey, at least we found out Batman and Superman’s corn chip counterparts: Cool Ranch for Bats, and Nacho Cheese for Supes.

Remember that on March 25th.

Recommended if:

  • You’re looking forward to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
  • You like free stuff.
  • You want to ingest every bit of information and backstory about the movie that you can.

Overall: Precisely what you’d expect from this type of comic, and that’s a shame.  With a marketing campaign that had clever airline commercials, magazine interviews, and free Wi-Fi that kind of worked, this was a disappointing misstep.  Had this been the only prequel to lead up to the main narrative it may have read better, but having to follow everything else this late in the game it just felt like a retread of other, better ideas and stories.  Doritos are still tasty, though.

SCORE: 4.5/10


Download codes for Upstairs/Downstairs will be available exclusively in Doritos Family Fun Mix multipacks at Walmart beginning Monday, February 29th.

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