Batman/Superman #22 review

This is truly the final issue. No more one-shots or annuals after this. The series, from issue #16 to the annual, has been absolutely incredible. It’s been fun, comedic, heartwarming, thrilling and, above all, very creative and inspired! So what about this final issue? Is it still good? Let’s have a look.

Okay. Yes. Of course it’s good! Yang’s whole run has used metafictional plot devices, such as the film rolls that we saw in the “Archives of Worlds” story, and the same principle is used here. However, while “Archives of Worlds” was mainly concerned with the Batman, Robin and Superman from different worlds that had to travel through space and time to save the universe, this final issue is set in regular continuity. It starts in Arkham Asylum, just as A-Day is happening, and we follow Calendar Man as he meets Mxyzptlk, who gives him a magical hat and teaches him to see the framework of the reality that all comic book characters live in. Calendar Man learns to see each panel, how the panels line up sequentially to form a narrative, and is even able to look into the past and the future and manipulate events that way.

Even if metafictional stories aren’t your cup of tea, you should give this one a try. Rather than attempting to make this story philosophical and deep—as many metafictional stories attempt—Yang leans heavily into comedy. Most of the jokes are visual jokes, though, which Pelletier renders expertly. It’s great fun to see Calendar Man reaching across the page and punching someone in a different panel, or reaching into a panel below him where Superman uses his freeze breath, pushing Superman’s head down so Superman freezes himself in yet another panel. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen any creative team use the medium of comics in this way before—certainly not in Big Two comics, that is.

Yang writes a great Calendar Man, too. While the character is still definitely a villain, I find myself rooting for him as he goes about his business, which is a first for me. I’ve never particularly cared about Calendar Man before, so this is instantly my favorite Calendar Man story to date.

The only thing that I’m wondering about as I’m reading this, is what Calendar Man must look like to other characters when he reaches outside the panels that he’s in. The comic does touch on this, but it doesn’t quite answer what other characters see. Does Calendar Man partially disappear when he leans halfway across the page to reach into another panel? This isn’t a deal-breaker in any way, however, because the idea and the execution of said idea is so much fun that I’m getting all the entertainment value out of this that I need.

It’s a colorful book, too, thanks to Hi-Fi’s extensive palette. Even when Pelletier doesn’t draw backgrounds, Hi-Fi saves those panels from looking bland by adding a splash of color that still makes the panel in question pop. The colors blend well with Champagne’s inks, too. The inks are very clean and neat, allowing Pelletier’s pencils to breathe while still enhancing the structure and the character renditions. Because of this, Hi-Fi has plenty of room to apply his various colors, making the overall art very appealing and fun to look at.

Now, I have to say that while I’m happy with this final issue, I am also feeling a little bit sad. I want more from this series. I want Yang to continue to write these characters to his best ability, like he has since the start of his run, and I want Reis and Pelletier to continue to draw them. This has been, without a doubt, the best recent Batman comic and one that I will remember fondly years from now. Honestly, if you’re tuning in only now, you should do yourself a favor and pick up the hardcover collection of Yang’s entire run as soon as it comes out. This has been a story that has always made me smile, one that’s always made my day. I love what Yang and his band of artists have created and, even though the series has been canceled, I’m glad that they’re ending on a high note!

Recommended if…

  • You’ve been reading Batman/Superman since Yang’s first issue (#16); you better get this final issue too!
  • You want to read something that’s not needlessly grimdark like most other Batman comics at the moment.
  • You want to see a truly creative approach to sequential art.
  • You’re a fan of Calendar Man and/or Mxyzptlk.

Overall: Listen, this has been my favorite book to review, and it’s been a real pleasure singing this book’s praises. If you’ve been reading the book since the start of Yang’s run, then grab this issue. If you haven’t been reading the book but are looking for a fun one-and-done story, then definitely grab this issue! If you want to read, or revisit, this wonderful story in one place, then absolutely grab the hardcover! Trust me. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Score: 9/10

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