After a somewhat long Batman Who Laughs story arc, the Batman/Superman series is onto a new story arc with issue #9. This time the heroes must face off against the Atomic Skull, but wait, isn’t he a good guy now? Find out in the ninth issue which features a Batman: The Animated Series Batmobile, artist Clayton Henry, and a new kind of purple threat.
This issue opens with Batman facing off against the Atomic Skull while Superman does his own thing in Metropolis. It’s a nice reminder the characters aren’t teaming up every day and they keep to their respective cities. That is until things get a bit too serious for one or the other and a team-up is in order. Josh Williamson sets up the Atomic Skull well and reminds us why this villain-turned-hero can tug at your heartstrings. Poor guy just wants to do good, but keeps stepping into trouble.
This book looks gorgeous. Henry draws a great Batman and Superman, and color artist Alejandro Sanchez will blow you away with the purples of Atomic Skull that drench the issue. The magical nature of the character’s powers look great on the page and up the ante when it comes to Gotham battles. There’s a glorious Superman shot as he flies over Metropolis with a nice warm sunset glow on Superman that’s touchingly atmospheric. To contrast this, a moment where Batman is pulling himself out of rubble has a coloring that’s subdued that reminds us the dust is still settling. Little details like that lift the art to another level.
The cliffhanger is quite cool too. Williamson is clearly a master when it comes to the bench of DC villains and throwing a twist on things. You saw it with the Ra’s Al Ghul story earlier in the series, and this cliffhanger is more of that superhero comic book fun.
I liked this issue thanks to it feeling natural in Batman and Superman’s worlds while not forcing the team-up. The book is also gorgeous to look at and is of the triple-A title tier in quality.