Man, this is a weird story, and I still can’t work out if this is supposed to be the ‘real’ Mongul or not. It certainly seems like a plot to take over the world through videogames would be beneath him, but then, this is a guy whose chief weapon is a fucking plant-pot, so who knows.
The interesting thing about this story is that Batman actually died at the end of last issue, no foolin’, and he spends about half of this issue dead on the floor. Luckily, Superman is here to fight off Mongul, and the video-game testers who think they are in control are able to select his body as their new avatar and bring him back to life, albeit slightly robotified. Superman notices that even though he’s alive again, his heart still isn’t beating, so this resurrection is only temporary, so it’s going to be interesting to see how Greg Pak actually does bring Batman back to life, because they obviously aren’t going to kill him off in this title. To complicate matters further, those game testers still think this is all just a game, and so they try and control Batman to take out Superman, and, given that they can control the game, he is able to actually hurt him.
This issue continues the best thing about this title, and it’s that most of the narration from both characters is about how each of them views the other. Thanks to Pak, I now feel that the relationship between ‘the world’s finest’ is much more well-defined and realistic. I see why they are friends, and, at times, friendly rivals.
Luckily for Superman, one of these game testers is Jimmy Olsen, and he’s able to convince his pal that this is actually real, and they get to work making the newly powered-up Batman fight for good, saving people from Mongul and actually flying, which is cool to see. But, this doesn’t last long, as the mysterious, crystal-boned Agnes removes the ‘game’ from beta-testing and opens it up to the whole world. So now, Batman is not being controlled by 4 nerds who know that it’s real, but by millions of other gamers who still think it’s just a game. And that’s not all! Remember that weird meteor shower from last issue? That was sent by Mongul to seed the areas of the world with the most gamers with an even larger lust for violence than they normally do.
So, now we’ve got a souped-up robo-Batman controlled by every asshole who ever called your mother bad things on Xbox Live, hopped up on space-coke. Oh dear, and he’s gunning right for Superman. I guess this is the real Mongul after all, as his plan is working to perfection. As I said, this is a weird story, but it is enjoyable, although, if I was a gamer, it would probably be pissing me off.
Brett Booth’s art is what you expect from Brett Booth, but I really don’t understand why this issue was landscape, unlike #5, it didn’t really make an effort to do something with being landscape, it just was for the sake of it, and it was a bit annoying. If you do a gimmick, do it for a reason.