Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Batman/Superman #20 Review

Written by: Greg Pak
Art by: Ardian Syaf
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 18, 2015

Knee to Face Style...How You Like It?

I have to admit, of all the books coming out this week, this is the one I've been most looking forward to.  While it seems that the "Superman's Joker" story isn't getting as much play as I believe it should, I've  really enjoyed it.  Xa-Du, Kandor, Batman, Supergirl, Superman...Greg Pak has done a great job giving the readers a story that's been part mystery, part action adventure and just really good.  Does this issue continue the trend?  Let's see...

The issue opens with a good recap of why the Kandorians hate the House of El and Superman in particular.  It's all thanks to Xa-Du and because of it, Superman and Supergirl are getting the worst reunions in recent memory.

While Superman fights his Grandmother and Aunt and Supergirl battles her best friend, Batman shows why he's the smartest guy in the bottle.  He sets a plan in motion that involves Ray Palmer that is so cool that it's close to being ridiculous.  What isn't ridiculous is what Batman does to Superman's Grandma.  It's a huge action star moment complete with a great one-liner and awesome art and is so politically incorrect that I laughed out loud.  It was also part of the plan.

While I did have a problem with the lack of Xa-Du in this issue, what we get is really good.  He has set up Superman and Supergirl to hurt the ones they love and then unleashes all of Kandor against them.  It takes a huge powerplay by Superman and Batman's plan to stop the Kandorians and send Xa-Du back to the Phantom Zone.  While I thought it was a little rushed, everything is tied up with a nice little bow...almost.  Xa-Du may be in the Phantom Zone, but it certainly feels like this was always part of his plan.  I guess we'll find out in a few weeks when the Annual finishes the story.

Sitting here thinking about this issue, I'm running a bit hot and cold.  I loved Batman, but was upset that there wasn't more Xa-Du.  Plus, I thought the way the Kandorians were left at the end was a bit too convenient and neat.  They felt like a toy that Greg Pak was allowed to play with, but had to put back in the toy box when he was done.

I have said it before and I'll say it here, I love Ardian Syaf's art in this book.  I guess it goes without saying, but this book should have a kickass Batman and Superman and now it does.  It also has an awesome Xa-Du and a great Supergirl to boot.

Bits and Pieces:

This is another good chapter in the Superman's Joker arc.  While I could have gone for a bit more Xa-Du and some loose ends were wrapped up too conveniently, Batman kicking ass with his knee and brain makes up for it.  The story and art are really good and I can't wait to see how it all wraps up in the Batman/Superman Annual #2.


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