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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Superman/Batman #51

Superman/Batman #51

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 20, 2008

Cover date: October 2008

"Lil' Leaguers" - Part 1 of 2

Writer: Michael Green and Mike Johnson
Penciller: Rafael Albuquerque
Inker: Rafael Albuquerque

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Tiny versions of Superman and Batman find themselves on New Earth and are just as confused as the people they have been helping. Their battle with the Floronic Man draws out the real (or at least taller) Superman and Batman and while Lil' Superman seems excited to see his counterpart Lil' Batman is just plain annoyed. A fight breaks out, which causes the Lil' Justice League to arrive, only compounding the problem. Finally the fight is broken up and Lil' Zatanna uses her magic to transport them to the Batcave.

In the Batcave Lil' Batman reveals his origin, as does the shorter Superman and it becomes apparent that they come from another Earth. Suddenly Mr. Mxyzptlk shows up on Batman's monitors and explains he transported the smaller heroes to Batman and Superman's world to lighten things up a little and to spice it up further he transports the villains from the Lil' Justice League's world right into the Batcave.

5Story - 5: I...

I really...

Well, there's no other way to say it.

I liked this issue.

I know, I know. "Mike," you say (or at least that's how it plays out in my head) "You have been slamming this book up one side and down the other. You've accused the writers of bad storytelling. How could you possibly like this issue after all of that?"

The answer is simple.

It made me laugh.

As in out loud, which made me grateful that I was at home because a man bursting into laughter in a public place tends to raise eyebrows and cause people to get security, if there is security. If there isn't some manager comes up and asks me to leave, but that's beside the point.

Believe me I was set to hate this arc. I really was. Little kid versions of the League? That's silly. Can't be good. No sir, no way, no how. It just wasn't going to happen.

And yet it did.

Not at first. No, it took a few pages to get me into the story. I thought the little version of Superman and Batman were okay, just nothing to get all excited about. The story built nicely, though and the scene with Bruce and Lucius reminded me of the better Batman stories from the seventies and eighties where Bruce was more involved in the day to day operations of his family's company. I don't know if it is the take I like most, but it's valid and brought character to Batman beyond little thought panels where Bruce and Clark say the same thing over and over and over again. I even dug the Floronic Man coming back for some odd reason. God knows I never cared one way or the other for the character before, but for the purposes of a throw away villain he worked just fine.

The moment that won me over came with the splash page of Superman and Batman meeting their shorter counterparts. Lil' Superman seemed like he mainlined a few dozen straws of Pixie Sticks right before this scene and could have been annoying if it wasn't for the dialogue between Batman and Lil's Batman.

Holy crud that was funny.

"I'm the goshdarn Batman!"

And my, "Ha!" filled the room, waking my wife and disturbing the dog no end.

But I reminded myself that I am a jaded comic book fan and can't like something just because it brought out one laugh. I kept reading, still giggling slightly over the goshdarn Batman and I thought my initial reaction might have been right when the Lil' League showed up. In all honesty it wasn't a bad scene and the sight gags worked well. I was impressed with the comic timing because comedy is hard to pull off in sequential art.

The key to this story came when the League went to the Batcave. When Lil' Batman and Superman revealed their origins I freaking lost it. The Superman one was amusing, but Batman's origin? It was fantastic to see something that is usually presented as high drama to the point where it is now a cliché played for laughs. I just plain dug the fact that the Lil' League's world is just a cotton candy version of New Earth. It really sold the concept and made it more than just a silly story that is played for laughs.

Mr. Mxyzptlk's involvement was nice but I have to say that I suspected his involvement from the third page or so. Actually, I originally thought that the Lil' Superman and Batman were going to turn out to be Bat-Mite and Mxy, but the ultimate reveal worked just as well.

So yeah, I liked this issue. I really liked this issue. I thought it was a lot of fun and a step up from this writing team's previous efforts. I'm also glad that it is only a two part storyline since that is all the plot would support.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I am really looking forward to the next issue.

Goshdarn Batman.


5Art - 5: The writing on this issue was great.

The art is what sold it.

All of the little touches that Albuquerque threw in were great. The eyes on Lil' Batman's chest symbol, the little bats that followed him around, the hearts, everything. It all went to make the story as great as it was.

Wow. I liked the writing and the art. Wonders will never cease.

4Cover Art - 4: Ryan Sook seemed to be having fun with this cover but I preferred the interior art. Cool cover, though. I love the expressions on Superman and Batman's faces.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2008

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