Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Batman/Superman #17 Review


Film Freaks

Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Artist: Ivan Reis
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 28, 2021

Gene Luen Yang is back with another issue of Batman/Superman, and while I liked the last issue enough, I thought it relied too much on the visual gimmick and was a bit more confusing than it had to be because of it.  It still was intriguing, though, and I am a Yang fanboy, so I expected to be more into this story as it progressed.  Is that what ended up happening?  Let's find out...

The issue opens with Batman and Superman still fighting the camera robots from the last cliffhanger.  The World's Finest does an excellent job of teaming up against them, but as they check out the satellite closer, a voice starts to narrate the scene, much to the confusion of our two heroes.

Gene Luen Yang is already winning me over here as he introduces his villain, Auteur.Io.  It's such a Silver Age style villain, and I love that right away.  It's way more concerned with the "acting" of Batman and Superman than being evil which starts making more and more sense in the overall scheme of things.

As Batman attacks Auteur.Io, we go back into the filmstrip world of the last issue, but instead of it being the two separate ones, we are taken to Batman and Robin's Earth.  If you remember, Lois is already there, and so is Superman.

Most of the issue is taken up by Batman and Robin trying to figure out what's going on with Lois and Superman and how they fit and don't fit into their world.  Yang starts tying in things from the first issue: the alien rocket, and the Spider Lady, in particular, to conclude that Lois and Superman are from another world.  That's cool enough, but Yang elevates it by having Lois and Clark figuring out stuff as well, including someone else from their world running amok.  I still need to see more in the upcoming issues to make everything gel, but I did really like seeing a world that never had a Superman and what that would do to it.

A Batman/Superman book is always going to feature the friendship and teamwork of the main heroes, and Yang already did that a bit at the beginning.  However, he uses this opportunity to show that they will always be good partners no matter what.  Even if they just met and hardly knew each other.

Robin gets some Silver Age stuff to shout throughout all of this, and Lois comes face to face with her evil doppelgänger, who is not so bad after all.  Some real bad stuff went down in this world, and while that doesn't excuse evil, you do end up feeling sorry for her since this is a Lois who never got a Superman, even though it seems she was supposed to.

There is a big twist at the end that risks making all of what we read feel worthless, and I am a bit worried about that.  I am enjoying this unique bit of storytelling, so if it devolves into a villain fetch quest, I will be upset.

Gene Luen Yang got me more on board with his story with an issue that still feels more clever and less gimmicky than the first.  I still have a ton of questions that need to be answered, but Yang gives readers a Batman/Superman almost-origin with a multiversal twist. That doesn't mean the story outshines the art, though, because it's still awesome.  While the first issue had the "Wow factor" going for it, I actually liked the art better here.

Bits and Pieces:

While I wasn't as high on Gene Luen Yang's first issue as some, this one got me a bit more.  The story and villain have a fabulous Silver Age flair to them, and it looks great.  It's fun but also feels dangerous, with real stakes for our heroes and their worlds.  I still need more answers, but for now, I am excited to see what comes next!


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