Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Batman/Superman #32 Review

Chinese Democracy

Written by: Peter J. Tomasi
Art by: Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza, Christian Alamy, Livesay, Tom Nguyen, Wil Quintana and
Rob Leigh
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 4, 2016

I had such high hopes for this big crossover and after a great opening two issues, it seemed that finally, we were going to get the Superman story that we have been waiting for since the New 52 started or even before.  Peter J. Tomasi seemed to have found the secret that had alluded so many writers recently...people like a nice Superman.  I know that sounds like a crazy concept, but hey, sometimes you have to mix things up a bit and coming out of The Truth, it was so desperately needed.  I'd love to say that's why I loved the first two issues of this crossover, but there was more.  Tomasi nailed the character interaction between Clark and Bruce and the story seemed bigger than life (and death), with a real purpose...make things right before Rebirth starts.  Well, the last two issue kind of put things on a downswing and while I love that Supergirl is back in the game, the overall story seems to have lost its way a bit.  This issue begins the second part of the arc (are we now at the Super League part?  I'm so confused) and I'm really hoping that things get back on track so I can start loving it all again.  Well, does it?  Let's find out...

I usually don't start my reviews by mentioning the cover, but I have to say that I loved the cover for this week's issue.  It reminded me of a bunch of the old Super powers action figured battling it out and just looks like fun!  I sat for a minute looking at it, just wondering who all the characters were and hoping we would find out in the issue.  As you will see, that kind of lead to a bit of my disappointment later.

The actual issue begins with Superman and Wonder Woman flying through the air while on comm link with Batman.  They somehow can't pick up any traces of the fake Superman that broke out of Argus at the end of last issue, but Waynetech satellites picked up the solar flare energy signature which they think must be him.  Okay, I have to stop right there.  They can't track the fake Superman, but they found the signature?  Is it just me or was it completely obvious that this was just a forced way to put one fake Superman on the shelf to head off to China to find the other?

Before they go anywhere, though, Batman tells Superman and Wonder Woman he is glad they are back together and while that poo poos on my theory that he is secretly trying to break them up, it all leads to one of the corniest lines in recent memory.  Maybe this will be the last straw that makes Wonder Woman run into Batman's arms so I can stop relying on Internet fan fiction for my fix.

The fun continues as the Trinity head off in the Batwing to China and immediately after Batman switches to stealth mode, they are detected and brought down.  That's when we get a full page spread that seems to follow up on the promise of the cover...I don't know if this is official, but we get to see the Chinese Justice League and they look awesome!!!

So, why was I disappointed?  Because instead of learning about these characters, we get a fight with the worst kind of sing-song dialogue you could ask for:

"We don't like ultimatums!" "And we don't like intruders!"

"We have questions!"  "Don't expect answers!"

"Melts in Your Mouth!" "Not in Your Hands!"

That last one was weird!  To be fair, we do get a tiny hint at some of the characters' abilities, but it's just enough to get me angry that we didn't get more.  Then there is the whole reason they are fighting. While it's odd to me that the Trinity (especially Batman) don't know anything about the Ten, the Ten do know who they are fighting and it all seems outdated and narrow minded to be fighting just because they are in China.

Oh well, it all goes on until Hu Wei loses his necklace and goes berserk.  Just read that sentence again.  I wrote it like that so you could be as confused as I was reading the comic.  I had no idea who Hu Wei was (except that he looks like a yeti) or that his necklace was of any importance.  Luckily, Superman seemed to know what to do and saves everyone by giving it back.  That's all it took, just another cliched "why did you save me" moment to push the story forward.

After all that, The Ten finally ask our heroes why they are in China and it's off to pay Dr. Omen a visit.  After a bit of lying, Dr. Omen reveals her plan and it's both evil and confusing.  The issue ends with two new Supermen out in the wild with one paying an old (new?) friend a visit.  By the way, I'd like to go both out on a limb and on the record in saying that this is not the introduction of Kenan Kong, but is just here to show what will eventually happen to make Kenan Kong the New Super-Man.  If I was a betting man, I'd say this "Super-Man" will eventually become a villain in the new book if he survives this story.  Either way, if you think this is Kenan Kong, I expect you to tell me that I rule and you drool when the truth is revealed.  Just remember that I am always right and your life will be a whole lot easier!

I didn't hate this issue, but I came real close. Everything is so forced and underdeveloped and while I guess it moves the story forward, I'm not sure I want to be around when it gets to the destination anymore.  I really had high hopes and praise for what Tomasi started with, but as of now, I can no longer recommend this story as a whole.

I usually love Doug Mahnke's art and while some of the panels are excellent in this issue, it is very inconsistent.  I'd like to say that is a result of having four inkers (four?!?!), but I'm not that smart a guy when it comes to art.  The hell with's because there are four inkers!  I will now go into hiding from the comic book inkers goon squad!

Bits and Pieces:

It really does pain me to see this promising crossover go down the tubes like it has.  This issue continues the slide downwards with barely a hint of a story, little to no characterization and hokey dialogue.  We do get another Superman into the mix, but even that was confusing and forced.  I really hope Tomasi can rebound next week with Action Comics because right now, this story is on life support.  Now excuse me while I stare some more at the cover and dream of what might have been.



  1. me: HEY! ITS MY MAN KENAN HOW'S IT-*suddenly is released* o-oh okay... Seeya...

    1. I may be the only one, but I'm still convinced that is Kenan yet

    2. in the tube? yeah that's totally kenan

    3. That just feels different than all the descriptions for the book...

      “In our story this young 17-year-old boy named Kenan Kong gets some of Superman’s powers,” said Yang. “For why that happens, you have to read the book, but he comes into Superman’s powers, and that changes him physically, and it also changes who he is inside.”

      weird that he starts off as an experiment and if that's the case, I hate the whole idea 100% more than I did when it first was announced.

    4. I will keep on holding out hope that this superman is defeated and the solar flare energy is transferred into a 17 year old guy with a normal life so we get a spider-man situation (hence the super-man title)

    5. oh jim... they tried that... and doomed failed XD

  2. Anyone else have trouble finding this one? My local brick and mortar said people were buying this issue 6 copies at a time this morning. It's a shame, I've not been terribly keen on the New 52 Superman but this story piqued my interest. I would have really like to snag this one.

    1. It's because everyone is treating it as an Origin issue for Super Woman and Super-Man...I really hope that isn't the full truth and everyone has a worthless issue on their hands.

    2. Yeah I figured. Bleeding Cool has really been hyping the holy shit out of this issue from what I've been told. I refuse to pay what people are asking for it on eBay. I remember Wizard magazine; eff the hype machines right in the a.

    3. just get it digital and wait it out. I hated it, obviously so I wouldn;t overpay for it.

    4. It's probably going to come to that; though I won't lie, I've called in a favor to a friend to track one down for me. It's a lot a trouble for an issue that more than likely isn't great, but I'm both a glutton for punishment and a fan of irony and it's a beautiful metaphor for what it's like to be a DC fan anymore...