Buy Now!

Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Superman/Batman #30

Superman/Batman #30

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 29, 2006

Cover date: November 2006

Writer: Mark Verheiden
Penciller: Ethan Van Sciver
Inker: Marlo Alquiza

"The Enemies Among Us" - Part 3

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Superman comes under the sway of the force that is controlling the aliens on Earth to the point where his memories start to become altered. After attacking Batman the Man of Steel comes to his senses enough to take the battle with Kilowog into space.

After getting back to the Batcave the Dark Knight finds a message from Lex Luthor. Despite his feelings towards the villain Batman chooses to attend the meeting where Lex explains that a new threat is approaching and it is that threat that is causing the mood swings among the alien inhabitants and visitors on Earth. He sends Batman and Plastic Man to the Fortress of Solitude to retrieve an item that Luthor believes is a precursor to this threat.

Once they reach Superman's Fortress Batman and Plastic Man are attacked by the entity that has been plaguing Batman, this time assuming the form of Starfire. As Batman battles the creature Plastic Man enters the Fortress and becomes connected to the item that Luthor had sent them to retrieve; the Blackrock.

In space Superman finally becomes convinced that Kilowog is right; he isn't human and never was and from that moment forward the Earth belongs to anyone who has the strength to take it.

4Story - 4: My biggest problem as a reader (or viewer if we're talking about movies and television) is that I will make a knee jerk reaction to something I've read (or seen) and dislike or find fault with it. I can't really explain it. It's just one of those things, you know? I only see the faults. And then I read (or watch) the thing again and I start to see bits and pieces that I didn't notice before. After that my opinion changes and because of this I never write a review immediately after reading the book I was assigned to that week. I like to let it sit a day or so and then go back and read it again because I know, consciously or subconsciously (depending on the week) I'll change my mind one way or the other.

This issue of SUPERMAN/BATMAN is a good example of this.

I'll admit that much of my first impression was colored by how late this book was. The cover date and the month in which a book are released are not supposed to match and while I gave Jeph Loeb's run on this book a lot of slack my patience is starting to thin. I'm flat out sick of it by this point. If DC Comics can get their act together enough to have an editor, four writers and a host of artists kick out a weekly book on schedule than a monthly book shouldn't be that freaking complicated. Don't solicit the book if you can't get it out on time. I realize that producing a monthly comic book is a very involved and complicated process, but if you have, I don't know, sixty some years of experience doing so than your problem solving skills should be pretty honed.

Ok, I got that off my chest. I feel better now. Moving on.

If I'm reading this story right then Mark Verheiden has set up an alien invasion of some sort that is connected to the Blackrock and is somehow affecting the minds of other aliens to put them at odds with humanity. If this is the case I am rather impressed. That's kind of clever. If an alien race is coming to Earth to cause something of a ruckus Superman, the Martian Manhunter and assorted Green Lanterns may throw a wrench into those plans. So what do you do? You make them hate humanity. It's really simple but it works so well. Superman's line at the end of the issue illustrates this. Suddenly that connection to humanity that he always felt is gone and he believes that the strongest, not the meek, should inherit the Earth.

I kind of like that.

Actually I really like that and makes the story not only entertaining but also about something more than heroes and villains fighting each other.

There was one hiccup along the way. I'm a bit confused as to why Batman is working with Lex Luthor at all. I know that there is a bigger threat but after everything that has happened why would Batman even meet with him? It seemed a bit off and if this story took place some time before the first issue of this title I may have bought into it, but Lex has done too much to be trusted.

Other than that this issue was aces. Verheiden brought in the Blackrock, something he did neat things with during his run on SUPERMAN and the story is actually escalating at a nice pace. The stakes become higher issue after issue and the only thing I can really hope for is that the ending lives up to the excitement the story is creating in me.

4Art - 4: If the wait on this issue was Van Sciver working on the art then it might have been worth it. I'm still not entirely sold on his version of Superman (yeah, I say that every month but it's true) but the storytelling is so strong, particularly in this issue. The page layouts and the expressions that the characters have on their faces sell everything that Verheiden has written. The shock Superman feels on "discovering" the "truth" of his origins, the anger and resentment he feels towards Batman and the sheer rage he feels at the end of the issue all come through so clearly that you almost don't need the dialogue.

Van Sciver also did some fun things with Plastic Man, a character I normally don't care a lick for. I don't really feel anything for him based on Van Sciver's version of the character but the artist made good use of him and making him goofy but not stand out against the darkness of the rest of the book.

And there are very few people who draw Green Lanterns better than Van Sciver, so there's that.

The art was fantastic, despite the lateness. It doesn't make up for that but it does make it go down a little smoother.

4Cover Art - 4: Well that is just an odd cover, isn't it? Creepy too, which makes it engaging and revolting at the same time. More than that it makes a potential reader curious about what the heck is going on inside the book and then once they read it the cover becomes clear. It's an emotional cover, in a very weird way, and the horrified look on Jonathan and Martha's faces play against everything that we've come to know about the discovery of the infant Superman. Combine all of that and you have a mighty fine cover.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2006

February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006

Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2006.