Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Superman / Batman 14 - 18

A lot of people hate this title and a lot of people love it. I fall into the "love it" category, but I love it for what it is--a big, dumb, fun superhero book. If you're looking for intricate storytelling, plotting that constantly keeps you guessing, or deep character analyzations you're going to be firmly planted in the "hate this" camp.

In this arc you get the opportunity to see Batman and Superman in a couple of different alternate timelines battling fellow superheroes and villains alike. The reason for the alternate timelines is that three supervillains from the 31st century have come back in time in order to attempt to change history by setting up Superman and Batman as the only superheroes in existence and completley under their control. This works out for a time, but it slowly starts to unravel.

As things unravel, you'll get a chance to see Superman and Batman kill Green Arrow, take on Ra's al Ghul with a zombie version of the JLA, fight on a planet where humans are animals and Gorilla Grodd rules all, and travel to the future to make a deal with Darkseid and an extremely old Superman among other things. This is definitely an action oriented arc, and a very well done superhero action story.

The action is wonderfully illustrated by Carlos Pacheco, giving all of the action scenes a larger than life feel to them. What is lacking in deep plot is easliy made up for in widescreen superhero action. Pacheco's art fits perfectly with this style of story as it isn't too realistic yet it doesn't stray into the cartoony which gives everything a semi-realistic feel while still staying away from the hyper-realistic tone that some of the new school superhero stories try to take on.

There is one big drawback to this arc, however, and that is continuity. This arc is full of it. There's so many characters from the DC Universe sprinkled throughout that someone who isn't a DC fan might be confused. Heck, I read plenty of DC comics, but even I felt like asking "who the heck is this?" more than a few times.

This title is consistently read by a giant audience, comics-wise at least, and it's easy to see why. For the most part the title is easy to get in to, it's not too tough on the eyes or the brain, and it's simply a lot of fun. I hope it sticks to the formula it's been using for the first 18 issues because it's working out perfectly.

Art: 3.5
Story: 3.5
Overall: 3.5

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