Friday, July 26, 2013

365 Comics. ..206: Batman/Superman #2 (2013)

This second issue was a kind of last-minute decision on my part.  The first issue was good, but not so good that I was immediately ready to welcome the series into my already quite stacked regular monthly pull.  I need to trim some of the fat (last week's $70+ budget breaker still quite fresh in my mind), but at the same time, I don't feel like there's much fat in my comics steak, and even if there is, it's more the juicy, flavourful fat than the tough-chewin' gristle.  I just wasn't certain after only that one issue which one Batman/Superman was. 

Turns out, it's most definitely the former.  Greg Pak' script is an absolute joy, as a young Bats and Supes, upon their first (ish) meeting are transported by some sort of demon or imp to Earth 2, where they cross their aged, still alive, counterparts. I'm not reading Earth 2 (I fell off the James Robinson train 15 years ago) but in 20 pages Greg Pak has shown why he should be his replacement (put him on that book and I will follow).   He has a clear understanding of what the differences in the two worlds are, and is able to make full use of those differences to wildly entertaining effect. 

I also love the way Pak explores these characters at points in time in each of their lives that hasn't been broadly touched on yet (Earth 2 began in the wake of the sacrifices of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman).  Pak gets both the wary eyes that young Bruce and Clark view each other with, as well as the genuine affection of the aged friends on the alternate Earth.   Not only that, the family dynamic that Lois snd Selina bringvinto the picture is sheer fan-baiting pleasure.

It's unfutunate in some ways then tha Jae Lee, an artist I've liked immensely for nearly 2 decades just isn't the perfect fit as artist on this story.  Oh, don't get me wrong, the book looks fabulous, but lee's darke, scratchier, almost haunted style is completely in keeping with the lighter tone of this story.  Visually it seems so dark at fist, so serious, but upon further reading, and laughing and clapping, one realizes the wrong tone is set by tha art, really through no fault of Lee's, that's just his style.  This should be Amanda Connor territory.

Regardless, it's still a heck of a book.  It's wonderful to see alongside Superman Unchained that Big Blue is getting turned around, and that writers that get the character and what he represents are getting a crack at him.  See DC, hire some well established talent with a well formed style snd let them do what they do, instead of editorially pushing them around... wonderful things will happen.

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