Plot: Superman and Batman continue their quest in earnest to gather all of the world’s Kryptonite but, the biggest piece has an Aqua-obstacle in the way.
Commentary: Michael Green continues to integrate details and themes from the various incarnations of Superman into this second chapter of the latest Superman/Batman comic, and he does so successfully. We are barely into page three when we get an amusing nod to the first Superman movie with Christopher Reeve. For long time fans it brings a smile so I won’t ruin it here. Green uses the convention of captions (first introduced by Jeph Loeb in this series onset) with Bruce and Clark commenting on one another’s motivations very well. He makes us believe these two have been long time friends with particular insights into one another. Everything they say rings true. There are a few guest stars this issue but wisely on Green’s part they do not interrupt or dominate the proceedings. They are simply brief cameos of other DC characters helping Clark and Bruce where they can. Green re-introduces the boy genius Hiro/Toyman from Loeb’s original run to great comic effect.
Shane Davis and Batt have a great handle on the locations and technology needed to get this Dynamic Duos’ scavenger hunt done. From the new orbiting Watchtower to Hiro’s robo-spiders and Batman’s deep-sea gear the tech looks impressive and plausible at the same time. In addition to their proficiency with technology this art team does an equally good job on the fantasy elements brought forth from the new Aquaman’s world. There’s a ferocious looking sea-monster, ancient ruins, King Shark and other Atlanteans on hand. I’ll admit, the new Aquaman’s origins puzzle the heck out of me. I even took a spin through Wikipedia to get some definition around this newbie but even there the explanation is convoluted. I’m glad Green doesn’t try and shoehorn everything about the new Arthur Curry into this issue. We know what we need to know, he’s still king of the seas and he’s very powerful. The fact that his pupils reflect the surrounding depths of the ocean environment whether sea green, kryptonite or stygian blackness is a nice effect too.
I really don’t have much more to say. It’s not just good comics story-telling, it’s good story-telling period. There’s drama, action and a little humor. In these days of overblown alternate versions of favorite characters (see All Star Batman and Robin here at DC and Ultimates 3 over at Marvel) it’s refreshing to see tight melding of various versions of a characters mythology along with the sound characterization of the characters themselves. Additionally Davis and Batt’s Batman is the best drawn one out there currently.
Final Word: Green, Davis and Banning give us all the good story and good art we could want from a monthly comic.
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