Thursday, December 18, 2014

Batman/Superman #17 Review

Written by: Greg Pak
Art by: Ardian Syaf
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 17, 2014

Head Games

Greg Pak has done wonders for the Man of Steel.  His Action Comics helped usher in the Superman Renaissance we are enjoying today and while that continues, Batman/Superman has not been as strong.  The main reason has been the constantly changing art teams. I was not a huge fan of Jae Lee's art and it seemed that most of the artists that followed were just trying to mimic his style.  Hopefully, Ardian Syaf becoming the full time artist will remedy that and judging by the look of this issue, he's off to a pretty good start.  I really hope that this is the issue that kick starts Batman/Superman into the book that fans want and the World's Finest deserve.

Last issue ended with people down for the count.  Lex Luthor, Glory Miau and General Ahmad had all been shot and this issue opens with Batman and Superman trying to save them while figuring out who the mystery assailant is.  Unfortunately, they can only save one of them and they have a very vocal audience...the shooter, himself.  Greg Pak starts his "Superman's Joker" arc in a pretty cool way.  Whoever this "Joker" is, he knows exactly how to get to Superman.  As Pak explored in Action Comics, Supes wants (needs?) to save everyone, but the three victims are spaced enough apart that he can only pick one.  Plus, each one has a personal connection with Superman.  In the end, Superman picks Lex.

Good old Lex says "thanks" to Superman by coldly explaining how these attacks will affect the world economy before Superman flies off to do his best to make things right.  After blowing up tanks in Khandaq (does anything good ever happen there?) and attending a candle lit vigil in Seoul, he meets up with Batman and they head off to S.T.A.R Labs to visit an old friend, Hector Hammond.  The first panel with Hector is so good and really makes me think that Ardian Syaf is a great choice for this book.

Batman and Superman need Hector's help to find the crazy assassin and while he agrees, he asks a pretty step price in return.  It may sound cliched, but Hammond wants a memory.  Batman agrees and before you can say "that seems a bit forced", the Superman's Joker arc is officially on. Even so, I was fully invested at this point, but that excitement quickly died down a bit.

It's not a spoiler since he's on the cover, but Hector's help points to Lobo as being the killer.  Lobo?!?!  While it's a nice tie-in to the Main Man's solo book, it just didn't ring true to me here.  Superman must agree with me since he disposed of the Czarnian pretty easily right before the real villain contacts him again.  Whoever it is is really having fun messing with Superman and everyone close to him is a target.  Of course, Batman has a plan and the issue ends by showing us just what it is.  Risky, Batman, very risky.

I think Greg Pak is on to something here.  I had my reservations about the who, what and why of Superman's Joker, but after reading this issue, I like it.  This is a threat that Superman can't just punch or throw into the Sun.  This villain is playing a game with Supes and it's personal and deadly.

The funny thing is, this feels too much like a Superman book.  Sure, Batman is here, but he feels like hero support at best.  At worst, he feels like a prop to pound in the idea that this arc is about Superman's Joker.

I really liked Ardian Syaf's art.  It reminds me of a combination of Jim Lee and Kenneth Rocafort and really fits this book.  Lets hope he stays on this book for a long time because this is the best looking issue in the series so far.

What You Talking 'Bout DC?

Did anyone else think the little scene with Steel and Lana strange?  I don't know why, but the two of them covered in "organic metal" sitting at the dinner table kind of creeped me out.  I did love Hiro's composite Batman/Superman armor though.

Bits and Pieces:

I was a little worried about this Superman's Joker story going in.  It's not that I don't trust Greg Pak, because I do, I just didn't know what to expect.  Besides an unnecessary fight with Lobo and Batman being forced to the sidelines, I am really excited to see where this goes.  It's an added bonus that Ardian Syaf's art is the perfect fit for the story, which is something sorely missing for this book since the beginning.  If you were staying away from this book for any reason, this issue is a great jumping in point for anyone and everyone.  I recommend you do so.



  1. Replies
    1. I'm not against Lobo and I actually like the new Lobo...but I'm not sure why he shows up in this book. Did anyone think that Lobo would be Superman's Joker? However, I hope it ties directly into the next issue of Lobo or I;ll be a little pissed.

    2. Eh, if he didn't have his own book, maybe. Until recently, I only knew Lobo for his appearance in the animated Superman, where he was just this annoying jerk who rivaled Superman in power.

    3. I am hoping that Cullen Bunn starts kicking ass on the Lobo's my one book by him and it's his worst one (so far)

    4. Jim try out Cullen's sinestro or magneto ongoing...he is the staple writer for villain oriented books the same way tom Taylor is the guy for writing heroes gone bad books eg.earth2,injustice and superior iron man