Last month we got a very fun one-shot, and this month the new arc begins. Mora is back on art duties, and I’m really looking forward to this story as it will involve Metamorpho and a murder. This has easily been my favorite DC title for months now, so let’s not waste any time and have a look!
Once again the main draw for me is the excellent character work—both in terms of writing and art. Waid knows what makes these characters tick, what they sound like, and how they behave and interact with each other. For example, he writes Clark’s civilian identity as a somewhat more aloof and quiet guy, while Superman is heroic and brave. Long-time fans of the character will of course be very familiar with these different aspects of Kal-El, but it’s good to see that kind of stuff reiterated here. The writing needs to be on point to make this work, and it is, but for me the real magic lies in Mora’s art. I love the subtle details in Clark’s body language, compared to how Mora draws Superman. As Clark, he holds his arms in front of him and has a bit of an awkward step, almost as if he’s shuffling across the floor, and his suit isn’t a perfect fit: it makes him look kind of clumsy. But as Superman his posture is much more open, his arms wide, his chest forward, ready to leap into action. It’s great to see both the writing and the art blend together so well.
But I also have a couple nitpicks. These are by no means major criticisms and I want to emphasize that I still really enjoy this comic in spite of these things. First of all, when Clark explains Metamorpho’s origin story to Jimmy Olsen, it’s essentially a five-page info dump. The writing is okay, if a little too factual at times for my liking. This information is certainly helpful for those who have never heard of Metamorpho or don’t know as much about the character, but I wouldn’t blame those who do for getting somewhat impatient during this section. However, Mora’s art makes it absolutely worth it. He takes us through an ancient Egyptian tomb, shows us Rex’s horrible transformation into Metamorpho, and imbues these pages with adventure and excitement.
Another nitpick has to do with Batman. In order to solve a murder, he tracks down Metamorpho with the intent to interrogate him. I like that Batman doesn’t approach Metamorpho in a hostile manner and just gets to the point while still acknowledging the fact that he and Metamorpho have been friends. However, he only asks Metamorpho a single question and then walks away. Yes, Superman’s listening to Metamorpho’s heartbeat from a distance to see if he’s speaking the truth, but surely this brief interaction is not enough to get to the bottom of this, is it? And getting to the bottom of this case is what Batman intends to do. Now, I fully expect Waid and Mora to follow up on this scene in the upcoming issues, but the scene itself, as it stands, just seems rather lackluster to me.
Other than that, this is a fantastic setup for the new arc. A central murder mystery is introduced; we have a suspect; there’s great character work; and the cliffhanger makes me really curious about the next issue, as I think there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.
- Metamorpho is one of your favorite characters.
- You love murder mysteries that the World’s Greatest Detective needs to solve.
- You’ve been looking for a jumping-on point: this is it!
Overall: The writing is concise and on-point, even with the somewhat lengthy explanation of Metamorpho’s origin, and the art is top-notch. It’s clear to me that this comic is crafted with care and precision, and if you’re going to get one comic this week, I highly recommend that you pick this one. If you love upbeat adventures with good comedy and intrigue, look no further!
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.