Batman/Superman #18 review

The previous two Batman/Superman issues are outstanding comics. On the one hand, it’s great when a creative team starts out strong. On the other hand, there lies a great challenge in this, because the team has set a high bar for themselves. Will they be able to keep up the level of quality? Let’s have a look.

As much as I enjoy this story, I honestly don’t think it’s for everyone. The reason is that this story is getting pretty wild. I’ve talked about Yang’s ability to handle multiple story threads at the same time in my previous reviews, and in this issue he doesn’t just handle multiple story threads, he’s totally writing different story arcs simultaneously and somehow manages to connect all of them. This results in a very fast-paced story in which a lot is going down. I find it easy to keep track of everything because Yang still writes with clarity and focus, but I can see why all of this might be a bit much for other readers. After all, this story is about universes within universes, with characters jumping between parallel worlds and ultimately going on a mission to face the creator of these worlds. This is anything but a grounded story. It’s cosmic and it’s crazy. But it’s also a lot of fun, fueled by Golden Age influences and enthusiastic humor.

What I find particularly impressive is that while the pacing is very fast, none of it is rushed. Yang makes sure that we understand each character’s motives and goals. Sure, sometimes a motive or goal can be simple and straight-forward, but I think that with this type of story such things don’t have to be complicated. For example, the alternate universe Martha Wayne is doing all the things that she does because she wants to keep her son safe, and an alternate universe Lex Luthor actually wants to save all the universes from destruction.

Another thing that I want to praise is the fact that the heroes are working together really well. We’ve seen this in the previous issues, but in this one it’s clear that not only is there no conflict between the heroes, they actually like working together! Too many superhero books, particularly team books, try to introduce a level of conflict between the main heroes. Perhaps that’s an attempt to make those books more interesting. But, to me, that’s no longer interesting in the slightest because it’s been done too many times. I don’t want to see Batman and Superman fighting each other or distrusting each other. I want them to join forces and take on the bad guys and save the world. Granted, stories need at least some sense of conflict, but this can be written in other ways than having it exist between heroes/friends; conflict can be external too, and I’m glad that Yang realizes this and writes his story in this way.

The artwork is really good this time around as well, although it’s not as good as last month’s. Reis’ pages are great as usual, but apparently he needed some assistance, and that’s why José Luís stepped in to draw a few pages. Luís still does a great job, of course, but I do find that his face-work is a little wonky at times (as you can see in the image above). There are moments where the eyes look off because they seem to shift ever so slightly across the face from panel to panel. The same can be said for the faces themselves, which sometimes look a little flat, and other times seem to be stretched out too much. That said, going into this issue I wasn’t aware that Luís worked on this issue as well, and I didn’t immediately notice the change in the art. Only when I was a couple pages in, I realized those weren’t drawn by Reis. So, all things considered, my critique of Luís’ art in this issue is mainly a nitpick, albeit a distracting nitpick that, now that I know it’s there, I can’t unsee. Finally, I want to praise Rich’s colors, because in large part it’s thanks to the colors that the shift in art style goes unnoticed at first. These colors are rich and detailed, and truly tie all the art together.

Recommended if…

  • You enjoy cosmic/multiverse stories about parallel worlds.
  • You want to see our heroes working together and enjoying each others’ company.
  • You are here for the wacky but awesome alternate universe versions of familiar characters, such as Alfred Pennyworth and a crazy new take on Two-Face!
  • You love this modern spin on a Golden Age-inspired narrative!

Overall: This is still an incredible series. The quality of the art dips slightly because Luís’ art just isn’t as strong as Reis’, particularly when it comes to his renditions of the characters themselves. But the action throughout is strong and the color work is great. There’s a lot going on in this story, but it doesn’t crumble under its own weight as Yang somehow manages to balance out everything. At the end of the day, this is just a super fun and unique adventure story. Recommended!

Score: 8.5/10

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