Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Batman/Superman #19 Review


Super Film Freak

Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Artist: Kyle Hotz, Steve Lieber, Emanuela Lupacchino, Darick Robertson
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 22, 2021

It's a shame that this book is ending in September.  Sure, I haven't been a huge fan of this story arc, but I love Gene Luen Yang and wanted to see what he would do as we advance.  Whatever Yang is on next, I will be right there reading it, but we are here to talk Batman/Superman so let's get to it...

The issue opens in the film-infested satellite with Auteur.IO and all our heroes facing off against each other.  After giving the big bad a damn good idea on how to make his perfect world, Dr. Atom, Lex Luthor, goes nuclear to stop Auteur, and while it wounds him, he zips off into the Alanna of the Planet Rann" film.

All of this is very quick-paced and looks great, but the idea of filmstrip worlds and how that would affect the actual Earth of our Batman and Superman is never really established. Yang seems to play with the idea that the reader cares about these made-up film worlds, but I don't.  Sure, I think they are cool, but if they get erased, I will not lose any sleep.

The heroes give chase into the Rann filmstrip and meet up with Alanna, but it feels incomplete like we are only here to get Alanna and show how Auteur.IO can be defeated.

Eventually, Auteur.IO escapes again and jumps through an ill-explained burn into the "El Diablo in the Desert of Doom" filmstrip.  This world is a little more fleshed out, but it did get a little silly when we got Auteur the Tank Engine.  However, we do get an explanation of why Auteur is doing what he's doing, and it almost makes him a sympathetic villain.  Almost.

It doesn't last long, though, as this issue seems stuck in a loop of saving and not saving Auteur.  The ending is cool looking, but this series is so wacky that it would be hard to wow someone reading it with an appearance of Etrigan.

I am sure that some reviewers will rate this higher than usual, thinking they are proving something to DC for canceling this book.  I don't think it's being canceled due to quality, and I believe there was a planned amount of issues when Yang jumped on it after Future State.  Maybe that's what allowed such an off-the-wall story to happen.  That said, I think this book might be confusing people more than it should.  We are dealing with a new, open timeline and a new Omniverse, and this book throws filmstrip worlds and wacky Elseworlds-like characters and settings without spelling out how they fit into the new scheme of things.  I love the art, but this issue felt forced along and wasn't even as fun or clever as the ones before.  In my opinion, this book is running out of steam.

Bits and Pieces:

Gene Luen Yang gives readers some explanation and even tries to make his villain sympathetic, but the weight of the story and all of its silliness and convolutions smother most of it.  It looks great and can be a bit of goofy fun at times, but overall, it feels like the gimmick is wearing off, and the story is losing steam.


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