Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Batman/Superman #5 Review

Highway to Hell Arisen

Writer: Joshua Williamson

Artist: David Marquez, Alejandro Sanchez, and John J. Hill
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 18, 2019

While I haven't been fully invested in the Infected story and am a bit ticked off that it has hijacked a couple books that aren't the better for it, the main story going on in Batman/Superman has been getting better.  After the crazy cliffhanger of the last issue, I have been wondering what in the hell Batman and Superman are going to do to stop the Batman Who Laughs, but also when is he going to actual break free and join the party.  Well, we find out both of those things this month, but is it done in a good way?  Let's find out...

We open with some Superman and Batman narration that felt pretty generic and overly defeatist, but I guess when a Dark Multiverse Watchtower is coming through an open rift with intents to infect the world, you might tend to go a little dark.  I said above that I haven't been that invested in the whole Infected story and I get that feeling again when Batman reminds me that the Batman Who Laughs plan is to bring the Dark Multiverse to our world.  Haven't we fought this fight before?  The answer is a big yes and while the Batman Who Laughs was a breakout star, I wouldn't mind if he and the whole Dark Multiverse took a vacation to, I don't know, Earth-Anywhere-But-Here!

We get a lot of shouting and fighting in this issue and while Superman pleads to deaf ears about the Infected resisting the BWL, Batman goes back to the well of using Superman's Zoo to fight his battles for him.  As Supergirl and Shazam go off to power up the Watchtower, the Batman Who Laughs looks on and suddenly we are told that the Nth Metal in the Infected allows the BWL to talk to them.  Alright.  So, after four issues of this series and a bunch of one-shots, we are getting that now?

The issue continues with Gordon and Batman facing off and Superman facing a nightmare in the Watchtower which makes him pause his pursuit of Supergirl and Shazam for a moment.  I understand it is a pretty bad thing, but at this part of the game (and I mean going all the way back to Metal and Superman being infected himself recently), I would think Superman would have been ready for the worst.  Of course, the Batman Who Laughs added an extra bonus for Supes just in case one day he would need to bring the Tower through a multiversal rift to infect a planet while he was locked in the basement of the Hall of Justice and Superman was going to stop it all.  I know that Batman prepares for everything, but the Batman Who Laughs prepares for EVERYTHING!!!

Kara does step out of her Infected character for a moment and that gives Superman enough time to go ham on her and Shazam.  I do like how Williamson shows that while the Infected are powered-up, a pissed off Superman is way better in a fight.

Things continue to pick up as we get more of an understanding of the who and the what of the Scarab's infection.  We also get a bit of an answer as to what the Scarab is after saying it was both alien tech and magic throughout Rebirth.  Where is that cute little girl from the Old El Paso commercials when we need her?

After figuring things out, Batman "borrows" the scarab from Jamie and after ordering Superman to let Supergirl and Shazam go, the two make like BTO and take care of business!  I especially like the classic touch from Superman here.

The issue ends with a cliffhanger that I was waiting for since this book started and while I was glad for that, it also ends this story without a real ending since it just gets pushed over to the Year of the Villain Hell Arisen book.

Well, I had some problems with what was going on at the beginning of this issue, but by the end, Williamson was getting me fired up...until the story really didn't end.  It wouldn't be such a problem if the main bits going forward were in this book, but it looks like that's not the case.  So, this new series was just a set up for a mini-series.  Great.  I get it, DC thinks if they keep stringing us along from book to book that will help their bottom line, but we aren't stupid and it only takes a couple instances of this crap to make people bail completely.  Hey DC, you are playing the Devil's Hand here!

Even if I was pretty bummed by the ending here, I still loved the art in this issue.  David Marquez kicks all sorts of ass throughout making this one of the better-looking issues on the shelf.

Bits and Pieces:

There are some things to get excited about in this issue and while I was enjoying myself, Joshua Williamson didn't stick the ending.  It wasn't his fault, though, because instead of an ending, the Infected story packed it's things and went over to more Hell Arisen pastures.  The cliffhanger promises some Trinity action which I always love, but right now, I am a bit bummed out.


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