Monday, August 23, 2021

Batman/Superman #21 Review


And Cut!

Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Artist: Ivan Reis, Danny Miki, Sabine Rich and Saida Temofonte
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 24, 2021

I have the utmost respect for both Gene Luen Yang and Ivan Reis and applaud them for the creativity that they have put into this story.  It's a cool twist on the Multiverse and Elseworlds stories with some fantastic art.  That said, I haven't enjoyed the story as much as most so far.  It's got a focus and pacing problem, and I think a bit of the cleverness got lost in the shuffle.  So, does this ending (Note: the Archive of Worlds gets an annual next week) change my mind at all?  Let's find out...

This issue is probably the most straightforward, and while that made it easy to follow, it also made it feel rushed.  Superman, Batman, and Robin battle Etrigan (Yang does well with the Rhymin' and Stealin') while Alanna of Rann and El Diablo fight off demons together.  The dialogue is good all around, and of course, the art is excellent.  It's nice to see Superman and Batman become the World's Finest, even when they are from separate Worlds, and Robin gives everything classic silver-age feels.

Meanwhile, Yang introduces a religious/creator aspect that doesn't have any time to gestate, and everything comes down to getting back to Auteur-IO and doing some combined science stuff to make everything alright.

Yang had already tipped his hand earlier that Auteur-IO was more of a sympathetic character than a villain, so I wasn't surprised when they helped him at the end.  However, I was surprised that Yang didn't put more work into giving us the character's inner conflict to make this feel more earned.  I love Gene Luen Yang's writing, and he usually is a lot better than this.  I would love to chalk it up to the book getting the ax prematurely, but there was plenty of issues to set this up better.

I always would have liked a bit more time in the end to see the resolution to the worlds that our characters were fighting so hard to save, but we go back to the separate film strips for each, and while that was cool still, it gave no space to finish things nicely.  Now, we get an ominous and cool cliffhanger to set up the upcoming Annual, so I'm excited to see what is going on with that.

Bits and Pieces:

While Gene Luen Yang and Ivan Reis deserve all the praise, they get for creativity and art, this final issue, and the whole story arc was a bit of a downer to me.  It felt like the story played second fiddle to the aspects I mentioned above, and it just didn't gel at the end for me.  I am not upset that I read it, but I doubt it will be more than a remembered curiosity in the future.


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