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Superman/Batman #22

Superman/Batman #22

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 28, 2005

Cover date: October 2005

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciller: Ed McGuinness
Inker: Dexter Vines

"With a Vengeance!" - Chapter 3: "Heroes and Villains!"

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Hornet and Viking watch Batman and Superman, who are imprisoned in a cube. Superman and Batman are speaking to each other in Kryptonian, which confuses their captors. After some conversation the two make their escape and split up. Batman rushes off to run his own investigation while Superman flies off into the city.

Bizarro and Batzarro fly to the Watchtower and after confronting the Martian Manhunter use the JLA's teleporters in their search to find and help Superman and Batman. Much to the Martian Manhunter's surprise they succeed, but he is unsure how they did it and where they went.

Superman once again confronts Viking, but this time he uses his heat vision on the Viking's ax, which causes him to dive into the water to cool it off. Suddenly a villain called Halloween drops a young girl off on the bridge. Superman saves her and brings her back to her boyfriend, called Bug. The rescue turns out to be a trap and Robot attacks. The two fight for a moment before Robot reveals that he doesn't think Superman and Batman killed skyscraper.

Across the bay Batman stalks a near perfect copy of Alcatraz looking for answers. Suddenly a man-beast known as Wolfen attacks. At first Batman seems to have the upper hand, but Wolfen is too strong and overcomes the Dark Knight.

Elsewhere both Batzarro and Bizarro arrive at their separate destinations. Instead of finding the heroes they were looking for Batzarro finds the Superman of a world where instead of his rocket landing in Kansas it landed in Russia shortly before the Cold War began. Bizarro finds Batman, but this is a Batman of the future, who mistakes Bizarro for something to do with the Joker.

Lex Luthor confers with the ghost of the Bowman. Lex asks if Bowman has completed his end of the bargain. The Bowman is rather flippant, but his answer is yes. Lex reminds the ghost that he has very important work and needs to know that he will not be disturbed. The Bowman assures him that if Lex says the word Superman and Batman will never get back home alive.

Back at the Maximum's headquarters Hornet tries to reason with the Bowman and tells him that she could get kicked out of the Maximums for what they were about to do. The Bowman dismisses her concerns and asks if she wants vengeance. Her answer is yes, but she is curious as to how he knows that whatever is in the briefcase he brought will bring down Superman. Though weakened Batman tries to appeal to the Bowman and convince him to not open the case. The Bowman does anyway and a green gas escapes. Batman breathes it in and suddenly is overtaken by an urge to gain vengeance on Superman by killing him.

4Story - 4: As neat as it looks I am getting slightly annoyed at the non-translated Kryptonese that Jeph keeps throwing into this book. Yeah it looks cool and adds to the confusion that the non-Kryptonese characters are feeling, but at the same time I do want to know what is going on. So, for your edification I translated it for those who didn't want to take the time to do so. Enjoy.

Page One


BATMAN: Are you ready to do this?

SUPERMAN: I still think we should stay together.

BATMAN: We need better intel. My way is more effective.



Page Four

SUPERMAN: One hour, Bruce.

BATMAN: Just do your job.

SUPERMAN: One hour or I swear I will tear this building down around them.

I hope that cleared up everything for those of you who were confused.

About a month ago I attended DragonCon here in Atlanta. Dexter Vines was one of the guests and I took the opportunity to get a copy of my Public Enemies hardcover signed and ask when the next issue was coming out. He told me soon and that Jeph, in addition to being crazy, had thrown in a character that would surprise everybody.

The man was right. I got to the scene with the Red Son Superman and the Batman Beyond Batman and thought that if Jeph was going for shock value he succeeded. I don't know where he is going to take this aspect of the story, but the moment certainly worked for this issue. Maybe the two imperfect doubles will encounter other versions of their counterparts, maybe not.

The plot is progressing nicely. There were more Marvel moments that were a lot of fun. The "Death of Gwen Stacey" moment was particularly amusing and played out great. The action continues to be layered in with the story, making those scenes feel more organic. The tension between Bruce and Clark in the beginning was nice and gave some of that great Loeb insight that makes his stories interesting to read.

The Lex Luthor scene began to shed more light on what is really going on, but since this is only part three of the story not a whole lot of information is given. If things go as they have in the past Loeb will play his cards close to the vest until the end. The final scene made for one of those great Loeb endings that gets you pumped up for the next issue. Sure it may seem a little silly, but ending his run on this series with a fight between the two stars makes perfect sense to me.

4Art - 4: This issue continued the quality of art from the beginning of the arc. I still remain a little cold towards the length of Superman's cape, but that is such a minor quibble that I don't even know if I should have mentioned it. The page layouts, especially at the beginning of the issue, were very dynamic and the action scenes had a lot of power to them. The scene where Superman catches the Gwen Stacey counterpart looked really good.

There were some neat little character moments as well. The scene on the Watchtower was a lot of fun, especially J'onn's reactions to what just happened. I also liked the panel where Bug and his girlfriend are reunited. Superman looks so calm and satisfied, which set up the next panel where he is struck from behind. This was a great example of Ed and Dexter's storytelling ability.

The highlight of this issue had to be the two pages where Batzarro and Bizarro confront the Red Son Superman and the Terry McGuinness Batman. Their interpretations of the characters looked great and really played up the atmosphere Jeph seemed to be going for.

3Cover Art - 3: This was a decent cover. It wasn't the best of the series, but the composition was fun. Just about everything was backwards, which suggested that this issue was going to focus on the imperfect versions of the World's Finest. It didn't, but this in no way hurt the story. It would certainly grab a buyer's attention, but you have to kind of look at it for a second.

This cover receives a seven out of ten on the 2005 Edition of the Grab Me Meter.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2005

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