If you’re not aware of Jae Lee’s viscerally stimulating style you’re in for a shock when you read Batman/Superman #2. Backgrounds turn Gotham into despotic wastelands or Kansas into dreamlike fairy tales and there’s supposed to be anything but. Skin tone looks hyper-realistic in contrast to the cartoonish looking sound effects. It’s all an experience that can change people’s conceptions about superheroes. Last issue left my jaw on the floor and my hand scratching my head, but how does the second issue read? Is it good?
Batman/Superman (2013-) #2 (DC Comics)
Click here to read our review of Batman/Superman (2013-) #1.
Those of you looking for a teamup book taking place in the current timeline should be aware this series deals with a pre-friendly Batman and Superman. In fact, last issue showcased the first time they met and it came complete with a fight sequence of dazzling beauty. That issue very effectively got inside each of their heads to show how the iconic heroes think so differently, yet fight for the same cause. By issue’s end they were both sent to Earth 2 and confusion erupted not just for them, but for me as well.
These panels go from idyllic, to haunting to insane!
Last issue I was left completely confused. Writer Greg Pak nailed the characterization of each hero, but I had no idea who the villain was or where they were sent to. This issue doesn’t necessarily say they are in Earth 2, but the summary does, so that’s a relief. At one point Batman asks if there was time travel afoot and the characters weren’t even sure. A confusing thing, but thankfully the summary puts everything right.
If Pak’s goal was to deliver a fanboy’s dream in every issue, so far he’s succeeded. The first issue gave us some great Batman vs. Superman action, and this issue follows with Batman vs. Batman and Superman vs. Superman. It’s probably no coincidence I was reminded of the DC video game Injustice while reading this issue.
Anyone wanting to learn more about Earth 2 is in for a treat. Anyone who couldn’t care less about it is in for a mediocre ride. Essentially this issue is two fight scenes and then a bunch of details about Earth 2 Gotham and Earth 2 Metropolis. Who knows what DC has in store for their Earth 2 storyline, but it’s a bit of a shock that the very first New 52 Superman/Batman series goes there. I suppose it’s neat to see their first time meeting also involved meeting alternate versions of themselves—who are best friends no less—but it’s a bit convoluted for my tastes.
Be sure to play the YouTube clip below while reading this.
So why read this issue when you know you’re getting the usual fight sequence and, if you’re like me, some essentially pointless Earth 2 details? The art, stupid! Jae Lee continues to dazzle, and while his Kansas is a little too dream/nightmare/Dark Tower for my tastes, everything looks sharp and interesting. There are panels in this book—that’s right, panels—that are worthy of being framed and put on walls.
Kid Superman sucks.
- Pretty pretty.
- Batman versus Batman is exciting
- Earth 2…why!?
- Superman vs. Superman is lame
The problem is, this series hasn’t explained who the villain is, or why he’s up to no good. On top of that, the Earth 2 plot has taken the focus off our heroes and onto the plot itself further diluting a potentially powerful first contact story. That’s not to say it won’t become a powerful rewriting of their first interaction, but I can’t help but be a little bored and strung out on this story. The art is great, but where is this going? Why do I care?
Is It Good?
Just okay. Without the stellar art this would be passable, but the art is keeping things interesting.
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