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Review: Superman/Batman #1

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LOLtron

Rain Partier

Postby LOLtron » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:39 am

Review: Superman/Batman #1

A review of the debut issue of Greg Pak and Jae Lee's DC series.




Over the last two years, DC has flung over 60 "number one" issues at readers, each of which were designed to hook readers into reading wave after wave of revamped series and superheroes.  Unfortunately, most of these books were bland and uninspired, setting the tone for DC's catalog of mediocre superhero fare.  Even DC's best comics, Batman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman, seemed to lack a spark in their debut issues, leaving readers satisfied but not exactly clamoring for more.  That's not the case with Superman/Batman, Greg Pak and Jae Lee's new DC title.  Superman/Batman #1 is a clinic on what a debut issue should be, fresh, exciting and fast-paced without losing focus on the characters or plot.

Superman/Batman #1 focuses on the two title characters' first meeting, which involves the murder of Wayne Enterprises employees in Metropolis. Pak opens the issue with Kent searching for Wayne in Gotham City, a fish out of water in the dark and grim city.  After a brief but poignant meeting between Kent and Wayne, the book shifts to Metropolis for an extended fight scene before ending in a different world all together.  Pak's writing is near perfect this issue, mixing fantastic fighting with concise and telling dialogue together for an enjoyable read. 

The best part of the issue is how wonderfully the creative team comes together to show the contrast between the two title characters.  Pak's dialogue, Jae Lee's brilliant layouts and Jane Chung's gorgeous coloring showcase how the two title characters differ from one another in a variety of ways, especially in the opening pages of the book. My favorite scene involves how Kent and Wayne choose to handle a fight between two children.  Whereas Wayne is content with waiting to see how the fight unfolds, Kent rushes in and breaks the fight up, mirroring his actions later in the book.

Another major draw to the series is Jae Lee's fantastic artwork, which graces the first 18 pages of the book.  It's easily the best artwork to appear in any DC comic over the last two years, and matches David Aja or Chris Samnee's work on Hawkeye and Daredevil in bringing a dynamic and unique look to the series.  Ben Oliver's more grounded artwork fills in for the final six pages, providing a competent compliment to Lee's pages without decreasing the overall quality of the book.

With Superman/Batman, DC may finally have a series to match Marvel's Hawkeye and Daredevil in terms of quality and Eisner Award winning caliber.  This is the type of bold, fun and exciting book that DC should have been publishing all along, one that capitalizes on DC's thinned out continuity and pushes a modern style of storytelling.  Even those disenchanted with DC's output should give Superman/Batman a try.  It's that good of a read.



Written or Contributed by ThanosCopter


READ THIS ARTICLE ON THE FRONT PAGE, HUMANS!
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IvCNuB4

Staff Writer

Postby IvCNuB4 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:16 pm

Looking forward to issue #2 when they wind up on Earth 2. Wonder how that will be explained since it's a flashback. 8)
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guitarsmashley

Regular-Sized Poster

Postby guitarsmashley » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:46 pm

Did the kents die in Superman? But yeah enough a first issue to make me come back next month.
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IvCNuB4

Staff Writer

Postby IvCNuB4 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:01 pm

In "Action Comics" Ma and Pa Kent died just before he graduated high school.
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Patrick Starnes

FACEBOOKTron

Postby Patrick Starnes » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:10 pm

Best artwork at dc in two years? Yeah Jae's art is fantastic but there are a couple of good artists at dc like uh...Jh Williams on Batwoman, Lee Bemejo on before watchmen wasn't too bad either.

The Old Doctor

Postby The Old Doctor » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:43 pm

FBtron wrote:Best artwork at dc in two years? Yeah Jae's art is fantastic but there are a couple of good artists at dc like uh...Jh Williams on Batwoman, Lee Bemejo on before watchmen wasn't too bad either.


Gary Frank on Shazam! too.
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Punchy

Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:41 am

After complaining about the state of the Superman titles for what seems like eons, with the release of both Superman Unchained and now this new Batman/Superman title, it looks like things are coming up Milhouse for Big Blue. Greg Pak is a writer who always does solid work, although I must admit I prefer his more comedic work that he does alongside Fred Van Lente on the likes of Incredible Hercules. Here, he’s in serious ‘Hulk’ mode and delivering an interesting retelling of the first meeting between, well, Batman and Superman.

Pak does a very good job of showing how the two title characters are similar, and also how they are different, and it’s these contrasts that make the ‘World’s Finest’ team so interesting to me. That Pak has a good handle on them both bodes well for the future of both this book and his upcoming run on Action Comics. I really like that this series is set in the nebulous past, it means that any antagonism between Superman and Batman makes sense, and isn’t forced, and it also means we get to see Superman in his awesome jeans and t-shirt costume from Morrison’s run. I also thought it was very cool how Pak had our two heroes meet as Clark and Bruce first, and how Clark instantly made Bruce, he’s no slouch as a reporter!

The actual plot here is a little muddy, it looks like they’re dealing with some sort of body-possessing creature who can travel between dimensions. Is the world Superman ends up in at the end Earth-2? I’m not familiar with the new take on that particular universe, but I thought that Batman and Superman were dead there? Oh well, I guess it will all be explained.

The real star of this book though is Jae Lee, who provides some absolutely breathtaking artwork. His dark style is just perfect for Batman, his depiction of Gotham City is truly Gothic, and his panel layouts are something else, almost JH Williams levels! Even though he’s very dark, he does draw a good Superman too, and the colours from June Chung do an awesome job at making him stand out from the murk around him. It’s a shame he didn’t draw the whole issue, but I like Ben Oliver a lot too, and the change in artists does make sense, they are on another world after all.

This was a good start to this series, it clearly established what makes Superman and Batman an interesting combination, has great art, and an intriguing villain, what more could you want? Other than the title of the book being World’s Finest, of course. Stupid Huntress and Power Girl! Stealing the good book-titles.
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GOSD

Everybody lies!

Postby GOSD » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:07 am

Agreed, Punchy.

This was a fantastic book that I initially thought was going to be ...meh.

Nice to see Lee get back in the saddle and produce a visually stunning book like he's done in years past.

I'll be back next month.
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IvCNuB4

Staff Writer

Postby IvCNuB4 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:19 pm

Punchy wrote:The actual plot here is a little muddy, it looks like they’re dealing with some sort of body-possessing creature who can travel between dimensions. Is the world Superman ends up in at the end Earth-2? I’m not familiar with the new take on that particular universe, but I thought that Batman and Superman were dead there? Oh well, I guess it will all be explained.


The first group of Earth 2 heroes died about the same time that heroes became publicly active on the main Earth.
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Punchy

Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:28 am

IvCNuB4 wrote:
The first group of Earth 2 heroes died about the same time that heroes became publicly active on the main Earth.


So since this is set before that... this is just before E-2 Supes and Bats die?
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The Shadow

Motherfucker from Hell

Postby The Shadow » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:06 pm

LOLtron wrote:With Superman/Batman, DC may finally have a series to match Marvel's Hawkeye and Daredevil in terms of quality and Eisner Award winning caliber

While I agree it was a good book and solid start to the series, I think this might be jumping the gun just a bit. Can Jae keep up a monthly schedule? (Smart money is on no). What happens when the novelty of the first meeting wears off?

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