Batman/Superman #21 review

Here we are. The conclusion to Yang and Reis’ story. Yes, there will be one more issue after this as well as an annual, so this series isn’t quite over yet, but this is indeed the conclusion to the story that started in issue #16. I don’t want this series to end. I don’t want this creative team to leave. This has been my favorite comic to review every month. But all good things must come to an end, so let’s just enjoy this wild ride while it lasts!

Reis, Miki and Rich’s art, as always, is very strong! Characters are leaping across the pages, the panel borders are still burning to give us a sense of danger and urgency, and this book is very colorful and brimming with upbeat energy. At a glance, you can tell that these artists care about their craft and that this is a story that they love to tell. They devote equal amounts of time to Batman and Superman, showing off their fighting styles and skills and how they, along with Robin, work together like the true World’s Finest team. It’s fantastic stuff, and if you are a fan of both Batman and Superman, I’m sure you’re going to want to add this excellent artwork to your collection.

However, I do have some criticisms about the art. While most of the art is dynamic and kinetic, there are moments during the fight scenes where everything looks a little stiff. This is because the artists focus more on making the heroes strike cool poses than crafting a sequential battle scene. I see why: it’s because this issue only has so many pages and Yang has to make sure that all his character and plot beats fit within those pages. Therefore, the script doesn’t call for elaborate fight scenes. Does the stiffness of some of these fights take away from my enjoyment of the comic? Not at all! And yet I can’t help but think how much cooler this comic would’ve looked had the artists had more room to really let the art breathe and the battles flow.

This same criticism applies to the writing as well. For example, the final battle lasts about one panel. It’s a great panel because the artists make our heroes look really good, but the fight being over before it can even begin properly does diminish the excitement of witnessing that final fight. It goes by too quickly. The threat is dealt with too easily.

Other things that feel slightly rushed and too convenient are Etrigan’s sudden change of heart, when he decides to take a certain action that helps our heroes in their struggles. I don’t feel there’s enough buildup to this moment, although I do like that he has a little bit of character development where he breaks away from the big bad’s influence. Then there’s the very easy and convenient way in which our heroes manage to redeem the main villain. All of these things flash by, which lessens the impact and the payoff that these moments might have had if the creative team just had more time and more pages.

That said, this is still a very strong comic that I love very much. We see Batman asking questions about his reality—this isn’t just a story where Multiverse counterparts meet and have a jolly good time and that’s it, no! Meeting a giant version of himself actually impacts Batman, prompting him to ask if he and his friends are even real.

I also appreciate that Batman really is Robin’s mentor. He teaches Robin on the field; he watches out for Robin when things get tough; he comforts Robin when Robin gets scared; and the two of them work together so well at the same time. This is a true dynamic duo. This is what I want out of a Batman and Robin story. Every time I see these two together in this book, I’m grinning from ear to ear. After all the grimdark, edgy comics of the past several years, this positive presentation of the dynamic duo is just what the doctor ordered!

Looking back on this story, from start to finish, I also really dig how Batman, Robin and Superman went from distrusting each other to becoming fast friends that come to rely on each other and also care about each other. This is a comic book with heart and soul that anyone can pick up and enjoy. It offers a full character journey as well as a solid plot with a beginning, middle and end. None of it is decompressed like lots of other recent publications in which hardly anything happens; this book is jampacked with action and twists and turns and it really is bang for your buck!

Recommended if…

  • You just want to read a damn good story told in comic book format.
  • You want to see the coolest and most fun comic starring Batman and Robin that’s on stands right now.

Overall: I’m really not sure what more I can say. Just stop reading this review and go pick up this issue! Although, if you haven’t been picking up the monthlies, I recommend that you just wait on the trade. It’s been great fun reading this story from month to month, but I think it will be even better when read in one book and perhaps even in one sitting. Seriously, though, this is it—enthusiastically recommended!

Score: 8.5/10

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