Batman/Superman #13 review

In the previous issue, Batwoman and Steel found out that Batman and Superman had been captured by a hostile computer program. Despite Batman’s warnings and orders to stay put and not follow him and Superman, Batwoman and Steel hopped into a spaceship and began to track down the World’s Finest duo. Even though I didn’t think the previous chapter was great, I did think it was entertaining. Fingers crossed that #13 will raise the bar for this arc. Let’s have a look.

I’m still not a fan of this book, and I’m only mildly entertained by this issue. This is a fight comic first and foremost, and while those kinds of comics can be fun every once in a while, I find that I only really enjoy them when the art is outstanding. In this issue, the art gets the job done, but I think it’s missing the mark when most of the fighting isn’t sequential, as it’s supposed to be, but rather a montage that just provides us with snapshots from the fight scenes. To be fair, there are some passages where the fighting is sequential—as in, where every panel sets up the next to create a flowing sequence—but those are few and far between, and they don’t really stand out, either. They kind of get buried in the chaotic action that fills the pages of this comic. Of course there is nothing wrong with the montage approach when it’s used to emphasize certain key moments, but when it makes up the majority of the fighting (and, by extension, the majority of the comic), then that just looks kind of lackluster and dull to me. It’s one thing to draw standalone images of characters in cool poses, but to me the real art lies in creating a flowing sequence that takes us through the fight panel by panel. That’s why I read comics—for the sequential aspect. Not just for pretty pictures.

In addition, I have also seen continuity errors. For example, there’s a moment where Steel and Batwoman show up and destroy two robots. When we see Steel and Batwoman again in the next panel, the robots have vanished in thin air. Another continuity error is when Batman uses a staff to defeat a robot, but this staff mysteriously disappears right after. It’s little inconsistencies like these that only help to lower the overall quality of the book.

Furthermore, the idea of a rogue computer program that takes over Batman’s database to learn how to help Batman put an end to his enemies is intriguing. I think there is a lot of story potential here but, unfortunately, the creative team doesn’t quite manage to get this off the ground. The reason for this is that the information isn’t framed and presented in a way that makes me excited to see what comes next.

We see all four heroes—Batman, Superman, Steel and Batwoman—engaged in combat throughout nearly the entire comic. During their fights, Batman and Superman also engage in lengthy conversations with the rogue computer program. I don’t like this. In general, I don’t think fights and conversations should be mixed up like this, because now the dialogue distracts from the fighting, and the fighting distracts from the dialogue. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind if certain characters quip during fights (take Nightwing, for example; that’s just part of his characterization). I also think it’s possible to have a conversation run concurrent with a fight scene, but when this happens, I think that the dialogue should be much more economical. Those who have been in an actual fight—whether that’s in a gym, dojo, or even in the streets—know that there isn’t a lot of room for talking while you’re trading punches. Superhero comics don’t always have to be strictly realistic, but when a writer crafts lengthy exchanges between our heroes and villains and an artist, simultaneously, shows these same characters screaming in pain, that takes me out of the scene, and I’m no longer buying it.

Recommended if…

  • You like fight comics.
  • You don’t mind lengthy dialogue in the middle of fight scenes.

Overall: Comics don’t always have to be deep or meaningful. Sometimes it’s okay to just go for straight-up action and just have fun with that. Had this issue leaned more heavily into the fighting with way less dialogue, or focused on fleshing out the ideas and dialogue instead of the fighting, then this could have been more than just “mildly entertaining” to me. As such, I can’t really recommend this book, as I’m just not feeling this one, unfortunately.

Score: 5/10

Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with an advance copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.