It’s time for a Batman and Superman adventure. Typically these stories are all rather awesome and you’d expect an easy 9/10 or at least an 8 at the very lowest right? Well, for some reason the stories weren’t as great as I thought they’d be. The characters are all a little out of character at times, the writing can be rather bad and the art is really bonkers for some of the stories. It’s still getting a solid seven at least, but I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed at the result. Perhaps it will grow on me if I read it at some point in the future. Still, with a bunch of plots here, there are comics that are better than others so let’s look at each arc.
The first story involves the first time that Batman and Superman met each other in one of the timelines. This timeline is particularly wonky though as both characters seem a little off. It starts out pretty well with Batman and Superman having some of their usual banter. They are seeing who can find out the other’s identity the quickest. Back to the human plot, both of them are using the same cruiser. Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent have been assigned the same room due to a technical malfunction and Clark refuses to be bullied by the Wayne name. Both of them refuse to budge so they’re forced to share the room for the entirety of the cruise. This helps them learn each other’s identity, which is sure to be interesting since they were both being over the top annoying to each other. Granted, I was on Team Superman from the get go. Can’t let the money win!
Things take another odd twist as Owlman and another Superman show up along with Deathstroke and Deadpool. It was all a cosmic game and one that certainly did get on everyone’s nerves. It could have been crazy in a good way I guess, but it just didn’t work out for me and made for a very weak start to this collection. The art was also pretty bad, but this was possibly intentional to show how crazy things were. I do like the big and bold style of this era as it can make for great visuals, but this was not one of those times. At the very least, we did get some action here though.
Next up was a quick story in the far future about Power Girl and Huntress. Batman and Superman were both quickly cursed and trapped in their bodies. If they don’t escape soon, they will be mentally destroyed and unable to ever return. Power Girl and Huntress have a similar skill set so the two heroes get used to this easily enough, but it will still be difficult to find their bodies in time. They aren’t as young as they used to be after all. This was an okay story. There wasn’t a whole lot of action though and while the whole concept of body swapping is classic, it wasn’t really long enough for it to make much of a difference. Also, it should be Batman and Superman swapping bodies as that would make for a great story.
The next story was the first serious one. Batman was minding his own business when Martian Manhunter breaks into the Batcave and beats him up. Batman just barely manages to fend him off. Things get a little stranger as Superman is attacked by a bunch of people, the justice league shows up except they’ve all been mind controlled. Supergirl also arrives, but she’s mind controlled and then Superman is turned evil. Batman manages to fend him off and Lois Lane reminds Superman why he’s a hero. It was a little late for that though as Batman is now evil so we get a nice rematch. Then Superman takes on the Justice League and we find out that Despero and a race of ultra powerful aliens are behind this. The aliens can mind control anyone and they have these rocks that also help take people over. I think they’re confirmed planet busters as well by the way. Luckily, they’re nice guys in the end so they just leave thanks to Superman’s belief in the good that resides in everyone.
That story may have sounded awesome on paper, but it was super convoluted. Instead of being hype and awesome, it was just super confusing and the whole time you were just waiting for more action and fight scenes. Granted, this is another comic that I think would be a lot more enjoyable the second time around. It should have been better the first time, but some things do take time. I didn’t care for vinegar in my tea at first, but now it’s one of the best things to add. Fudge is still the coolest along with sugar though. Seeing more Batman vs Superman fights is always classic though. Not to mention that the art was quite good here as well. It was a huge improvement over the first two.
The collection ends with a final arc involving the Metal Men. They show up to attack a Gotham facility so Batman quickly calls Superman and the two manage to stop them. That being said, it turns out that they were just testing the security of the location. After the misunderstanding is over, this may as well have not been the case. The Metal Men are taken over by Omac and decide to destroy everyone that they can. Batman and Superman are called back into action, but Superman isn’t thrilled about Batman keeping more and more secrets. Not to mention that he also lied to Superman’s face the whole time as well. They’ll get over it though. This was easily the best adventure in the collection. This is a story that I could easily picture happening, not to mention that the art was also very sharp as well. It may not have been great for facial expressions, but the action scenes benefited from it and the characters showed a lot of emotion.
It’s also the little things that can help with a comic like this. I was glad to see Superman show up right away to deal with the Metal Men. Batman may not have done all that well on his own, but with Superman the battle was decided in an instant. The writing was also the best from the adventures and everyone was in character. If all the stories were like this one, I’d say that it really could have reached the elusive 9. There weren’t even any real guest stars here, Batman and Superman were able to hold their own comic with ease.
I’d say that the main problem with this collection was that it relied too much on gimmicks. Super powerful beings from other universes who were just messing with the heroes. I like having a villain that the heroes can punch. The writing was also an issue as good writing can make everything a lot more exciting. I’m just going to assume that this is an outlier and the rest of the comics will likely be a lot more fun. Batman and Superman still are the two best comic book characters in all of media and I don’t see that changing for me anytime soon. As the last story showed, they’ve still got it. As Bruce Wayne, Batman was annoying in the first saga, but aside from that both characters were great in the rest of the book. Superman being mind controlled has been done to death though and I still believe that he should be immune to it. Likewise for Batman. I wasn’t surprised about the Martian Manhunter being taken over though. He had a really poor showing the entire time although I did love his big twist. It helped to up the stakes.
Overall, This volume may not have been as good as expected, but it was still a solid comic in the end. I’d still easily recommend this to any Batman and Superman fans out there. There is a lot of action to be found and the banter between Batman and Superman is always classic. I do think that this collection is more fun the second time around so just enter this collection with that frame of mind. Once you know how it’s going to end, the stories should make a little more sense and not feel so random. It doesn’t completely excuse them, but at least it can possibly make them more entertaining. The stories can be fun, but the big alien takeover just felt like a huge missed opportunity considering how grand and large scale it was. It’s rare that a story is better the second time around, but just look at the Megaman NT Warrior manga series. I’ve read it dozens of times and it was only during my second last reading that I truly got to appreciate just how amazing the series was. Sometimes, things just get better with age and time. Another comic review with Batman and Superman is on its way so prepare yourself for that!