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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Superman/Batman #14

Superman/Batman #14

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 17, 2004

Cover date: January 2005

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciller: Carlos Pacheco
Inker: Jesus Merino

"Absolute Power" - Part One: "I Pledge Allegiance..."

Michael (George) O'Connor Reviewed by: Michael O'Connor

It's the same scenes we've witnessed a thousand times: Kal-El's rocket lands in Smallville, Kansas and Ma and Pa Kent are there to receive the Kryptonian baby into a new world. Young Bruce Wayne watches in horror as his parents are gunned down before him.

But something has changed.

The infant Kal-El is "rescued" by Saturn Girl (now Saturn Queen) and Lightning Lad (Lightning Lord), who electrocutes the Kents; Bruce watches as the bullets that killed his parents are sent back into the Waynes' murderer courtesy of Cosmic Boy (Cosmic King).

And with the three Legion "heroes" as Superman and Batman's foster parents, a new world is created in which the two are tyrannical rulers of America. In New York harbor, a giant statue of the two heroes stands, and across the nation, their enforcers terrorize any and all that would challenge their will.

But where are the other heroes? They have been exterminated. Barry Allen was electrocuted by Lightning Lord before his powers could be granted; Hal Jordan was downed in his jet by Cosmic King's abilities; and Martian Manhunter was destroyed by Saturn Queen's telepathic assault.

As for the others, they have mostly all been wiped out by Batman and Superman.

It is Superman's birthday, however, when word of Green Arrow brings the two rulers to counter the Emerald Archer. Arrow has prepared for Superman with a kryptonite arrow, but he is vulnerable to Batman's superior fighting ability. Arrow gets a few kicks back in before he's eradicated by Superman's heat vision.

Aboard the Watchtower on the moon, Batman and the Legion trio celebrate Superman's birthday, while on Earth, in the ruins of the Congress building, Wonder Woman sneaks in to find Uncle Sam. The old man does not remember who he is until Diana's lasso encircles him. Then, the two of them suit up and prepare to form the Freedom Fighters to battle the tyrant rulers of the country.

4Story - 4: Fun, cool stuff here. I'm so glad to be done with the Supergirl story and on to a new storyline... and this one looks exciting. While the premise of Supes and Bats as tyrants is nowhere near as terrifying as the current reality in America, and it's not even the first time we've seen this kind of plot (in fact, last season's Justice League cartoon had a particularly good episode about the entire League ruling as tyrants), the added ingredients of the Legion of Superheroes and the US Freedom Fighters with Uncle Sam and Wonder Woman promises to keep things interesting. However, there are a few plot holes bothering me. First, how did the Legion members overlook Wonder Woman as a potential threat? They killed off Green Lantern, Flash, and J'onn J'onnz but not Wonder Woman? Second, wouldn't Green Lantern's ring have fallen to someone else if not Jordan? Third, if the Legion wanted to control the world, why use Superman and Batman as their tyrants? Why not themselves instead? Fourth and finally, are Superman and Batman ruling America or are they ruling the world? I hope that these questions will be resolved as the story continues. I still had a number of unanswered questions after the Supergirl storyline. I hope that won't be the case this time around.

4Art - 4: Really gorgeous, cool stuff. The Statue of Oppression with Supes and Bats was particularly cool, and the fight with Green Arrow was nothing short of awesome. I really like Pacheco's more realistic, fully rendered approach after Turner's highly stylized work in the last arc. And Merino's inking is consistently solid. The two definitely make a good team.

5Cover Art - 5: Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Alright, so maybe I would have liked that Statue of Oppression in the background instead, but the colors, the layout, and the contrast in textures really makes this a vivid, powerful image.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2005

February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005

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