Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Batman/Superman #16 Review

Written by: Greg Pak
Art by: Ardian Syaf
Cover Price: $2.99
Release date: November 19, 2014

A Crisis of Identity

Recently, this book has been struggling to find an identity.  It's been going back and forth to Earth 2 which I didn't really enjoy and the revolving door of artists all seem intent on mimicking Jae Lee's style which I wasn't a fan of in the first place.  Now that the Clean Slate story is over (thank God), we get what feels like a ...clean slate.  Greg Pak is joined by new regular artist, Ardian Syaf, for a story that is intriguing, exciting and just a little bit heavy handed.  Two out of three ain't bad.

The issue starts with Superman and his friends saving a pod of Orcas.  After everything that's gone wrong in Superman's life recently, it's nice to see him smiling and enjoying himself.  Unfortunately, things go South real quick.  In a wink of an eye, the ocean is bloody and Superman's friends appear to be shot.  Even good old Krypto is a target and the scariest part is that the attacks were too quick for Superman to see.

Meanwhile in Metropolis, another person is attacked and this one is just awful.  Two guys are at the Children's Hospital performing as Batman and Superman for sick children when the Superman is shot.  Like the hero he is dressed as, the guy makes sure the children don't get upset as he dies.  It's such a sad scene and makes the mysterious villain pure evil before we even get to see him.

Superman and Batman investigate the murder and that leads to one of the oddest and funniest scenes in a long time.  Batman and Superman talk to the children in the hospital and Superman gets occupied by juggling (odd) while a cute little kid mocks Batman (hilarious).  Its not in vain, though, as one of the kids gives the duo their first real clue.

Back in the Batcave, Batman gets a bit philosophical and ham fisted.  He tells Clark that these attacks are by Superman's own Joker.  To stress the point, he shows Superman a huge picture of the Joker.  Then we get some of the Joker's "greatest hits" like Jason Todd, Barbara Gordon and the Death of the Family and a pretty cool moment where Bruce confides to Clark that he doesn't enjoy being Batman.

If things weren't bad enough already, they get even worse.  Someone hacks into the Bat computer and gets the identity of those Superman cares the most for.  As the still hidden villain speaks directly to Batman and Superman, we see footage of friends (and Lex) getting attacked.

Besides the whole Joker bit, I really enjoyed this issue.  In fact, it feels more like Superman is dealing with his own Hush rather than the Joker.  I'm really excited by the cliffhanger and the fact that we are finally getting a story worthy of the World's Finest.

I liked Ardian Syaf's art and am glad he is on the book full time.  Everything looked really good and I'm so glad he did things his way and not just tried to ape Lee's style.

Bits and Pieces:

I really enjoyed the beginning of this new arc.  While I hated the Joker comparison, I liked the mystery of who the villain is and why he's targeting those Superman cares for most.  Ardian Syaf's art is great and I'm glad to have a new and consistent look to the book. Anyone on the fence with this book can jump in now with no problem and enjoy the promising start to a new story.



  1. Who was that lady in yellow dress with a swan in the background who got shot?