Greg Pak wraps up the second arc of this book, and man, this was kind of a weird story. I’m no Mongul expert, but this plan of his, to take over the world using videogames, doesn’t really sound like his usual modus operandi. Maybe Pak should have tied this game in with the ‘Black Mercy’ somehow.
Anyways, yeah, I don’t think this story really worked, but there were some cool character moments and Pak continues to absolutely nail the relationship between his two title characters. The issue starts with a focus on a young woman in Gotham who is desperate to send a letter off in time in order to secure some kind of special loan from a Wayne charity. If she doesn’t send this letter, her life is fucked basically. And fucked it is, as the fight between Superman and the video-gamed-up Batman smashes right through the post office, giving her no chance to send it. She is distraught, and driven to anger by Mongul’s weird pollens, picks up gaming device, and joins the fight, out to get Superman.
The fight is not that simple, as Superman doesn’t want to hurt his friend, and he knows that if he tries to shut down the console powering Batman… it could end up killing him. In the end, Superman’s solution is… to lose. If he goes down, the videogame will resurrect him too, and make him part of the game, more powerful and able to take down Mongul. He is able to convince the poor woman who had her life crushed to control him, and, in a pretty clever moment, the other gamers’ knowledge of superhero tropes means that they know that at this point Batman and Superman have to team-up, means that it’s game over for Mongul. Superman and Batman take him out, throw him in the Phantom Zone, and everything is wrapped up very nicely indeed. Batman’s life is saved, the effect of the crazy pollen wears off, and Clark Kent is able to pull some strings with Bruce, and get the woman onto that loan system anyway, meaning her life isn’t fucked. Hooray!
The issue ends with another interesting conversation between Supes and Bats, and the tease of Mongul’s son for the future, which could be good. The art from Brett Booth was once again solid, but I still don’t get why this arc was in landscape, it was for no reason at all. Yeah, this was an odd story, let’s hope the next one is an improvement, and isn’t randomly sideways.