I’m really starting to get into this series. Yes, I’ve critiqued previous issues and didn’t always think that everything worked, but I’ll say up front that this is my favorite issue from this series yet. It feels like the creative team’s finding its footing, and the result is a solid and super entertaining conclusion to this series’ first arc. What am I talking about, you ask? Well, my fellow comic fans, let’s have a look!
First of all, I think this is the sharpest and most focused issue so far. In the past, this series has relied a bit too heavily on exposition for my liking, but in this issue the exposition is used very effectively. There’s some at the start that very concisely and quickly brings readers up to speed, allowing even new readers to jump on here, at the conclusion! Sure, new readers will have missed some of the finer details, but all that’s really required at this stage is that you know that there’s a devil called Nezha on the loose and that our heroes need to find a way to seal him inside his tomb. The exposition fills in some of the most important gaps, and if you’re a new reader you should be good to go.
This speaks to the strength of this series; despite it being too exposition-heavy for me sometimes, the series has an episodic structure, making it as easy as possible for readers to tune in at any given moment. Batman/Superman #5 is a good example of how to pull that off without having dialogue sound unnatural and manufactured, and this is what I would love to see more of. For example, the issue starts out with only a few lines that state the main obstacle, thereby creating a focus, for both the writer and the reader, that this entire conclusion is going to revolve around. Doing this on the first page allows for smooth sailing throughout the rest of the book.
The problem that the heroes are faced with is that they need someone to lock themselves inside the tomb along with Nezha, because the tomb needs to be sealed from within. Our heroes are each willing to sacrifice themselves without any second thoughts, and their motivations all feel authentic to who they are as characters. What I like the most about this scenario is that it really has me wondering how our heroes are going to pull this off, and the solution that they come up with at the end is as straightforward as it is badass. The only criticism that I have here—without spoiling what the outcome is exactly—is that I don’t understand how the heroes didn’t come up with this solution much quicker. When it happens, it just seems so obvious that it should almost be a no-brainer. Don’t get me wrong, though, I think it’s the perfect solution—my critique here really is just how they come up with it.
However, the best thing about the writing is the character work itself. As has been true for the entire series so far, these heroes want to help each other out. They are super friends. They care about each other. Almost every scene emphasizes this. Hero versus hero battles have been done to death, but the ones that do occur here make sense in context, due to Nezha’s mind control powers. My favorite scene is the one in which Supergirl and Batman discuss what happened to Robin. Both characters show genuine emotion: sadness and worry and, in Supergirl’s case, the feeling that she failed to protect her friend. It’s subtle and realistic, both in terms of dialogue and art.
Speaking of which, the artwork by Mora and Bonvillain continues to be incredible. I think the best panel in the issue is the one where Supergirl and Superman clash with heat vision. It’s a powerful and impactful moment. Seeing as this issue is almost entirely an extended fight scene, the script allows for Mora to let loose and give us fantastic sequential fight choreography as well as striking splash pages and dynamic character poses. Bonvillain’s coloring really is the icing on the cake: for art to be dynamic, there has to be a clear sense of depth and perspective. While Mora is responsible for a lot of that, it’s the coloring that enhances this and truly makes the art pop.
- Supergirl is a favorite character—she gets a lot of panel time here!
- You want to see Superman do something incredibly super.
- With all the drama in the world, you can really use some superhero optimism.
Overall: This is the strongest issue in the run so far. It accomplishes what it sets out to do very well; it’s entertaining from cover to cover; the heroes all have mutual respect and care about each other; and all the good guys are truly heroic. This issue put a smile on my face and I can’t wait to reread this in the near future. If this series stays this good, this is a book that you’re going to want to pay some attention to. Recommended!
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.