Like the previous issue, this offers a quick and easy read, and it’s a quite a bit of fun overall. Yang writes Batman and Superman well, and manages to put both characters in the spotlight. The way this story is structured helps to achieve that.
It’s a good choice to separate the two heroes so they both get moments where they can have a show of character. It allows us to see what the heroes are like on their own under Yang’s pen, before having them team up once more to save the day. What I like the most about this story is how it presents Batman and Superman as close friends, but the way in which they express their friendship to each other can’t be any more different. Superman is open and friendly and positive, whereas Batman can seem like a jerk at times. I tend to reject a Batman that behaves like a jerk to his allies for no good reason, but because Yang writes very concise and crisp captions, we can see Batman’s thoughts and are privy to his true intentions. We know that he wants the best for his friends, but he’s just not very good at showing that.
This issue covers a lot of ground, which is really impressive. Not once do I feel like we’re rushing through a scene, and neither do I think that we’re skipping past anything important. The pacing is steady and the issue is a page-turner. We even get to see Batman do some detective work as he’s trying to figure out where Superman has been taken. It’s nothing really in-depth and doesn’t last long, but what happens makes sense and lines up with Superman’s side of the story well. The supporting cast isn’t neglected, either: for example, Mr. Toad has his own little arc, as he ends up in a different place than where he started, and it’s all relevant as this too is tied in with the main story.
Then there’s Professor Pyg. He’s a character that in my opinion isn’t always handled well by writers other than Grant Morrison, who created him. But Yang does a good job capturing what made Morrison’s Pyg so freaky: the combination of body horror, the twisted idea that his crimes are his artworks, and the absurdist comedy. That said, though his characterization is on point and a reason is given as to why he’s working with the Magistrate, I do think the character’s place in the Future State world could’ve been explored further.
Another shortcoming is that this story doesn’t fully conclude, which seems to be a trend across these various Future State books. Still, where other books just abruptly end or turn out to be a teaser for a different, upcoming book, at least Yang writes it so there’s a feeling of closure on the last pages. It’s not how I prefer my endings, but I appreciate that the open ending is balanced with closed character arcs. It seems to be the best of both worlds.
The artwork this time around is handled by Scott McDaniel (breakdowns), Ben Oliver (pencils/inks), Stephen Segovia (pencils/inks), and Arif Prianto (colors). Whenever I see that different artists have worked on the same issue, I always get a little skeptical going into the book. Often I see comics with awkward transitions between artists with clashing styles. Fortunately, that isn’t the case here. While Oliver and Segovia do have different styles and the shift between them is noticeable, it’s not jarring and it does not take me out of the story. Perhaps it helped the issue that McDaniel focused on doing breakdowns, so that the art throughout the book has a solid foundation that Oliver and Segovia can then build on. Prianto’s colors keep it all together by providing consistency across the two styles, although I do think that the colors fit Oliver’s pencils and inks better than Segovia’s. They just gel nicer with Oliver’s inks, which are a little smoother and more subtle than Segovia’s. On the whole, I think this art team has worked together well, maintaining cohesion throughout to visualize this story in the best way they could.
- Fun and well-rounded characters are important to you.
- You are a fan of Professor Pyg.
Overall: This is a fun issue. A lot happens within its pages, but it’s all balanced out so well that everything fits nicely. The pacing is tight, the writing crisp, and the art solid. If you’re looking to relax with some light reading, then give this book a chance!
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with an advance copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.