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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman/Batman

Superman/Batman #72

Superman/Batman #72

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 19, 2010

Cover date: July 2010


Writer: Paul Levitz
Penciller: Jerry Ordway
Inker: Jerry Ordway

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Superman deals with a rogue comet in space and reflects on how Jonathan Kent didn't have much use for hearing about his intergalactic adventures. On Earth Lois Lane leaves a funeral for a Daily Planet staffer and is kidnapped by a religious cult. Before being knocked out she activates the signal device in her ring.

In Gotham City Batman is watching over a church due to a recent rash of muggings involving priests when he gets a signal that Lois Lane is in danger. Leaving the priests to a more divine protection he rushes off to help Lois.

Back in space Superman smashes a comet fragment that would have done severe damage to the planet below. Unfortunately the comet contains Kryptonite and a weakened Superman plummets to the surface causing a good bit of damage to one of the structures below. He immediately fixes the damage and rushes home to try to keep his date with Lois. After the Man of Steel leaves the people that had watched him fix the building immediately begin drawing his symbol on the ground.

Back on Earth Lex Luthor watches Superman's action thanks to an experimental quantum spy-satellite with super-scope that Luthor had supplied the materials for. Lex is pleased with the results and informs the group that if Professor Anderson wants the endowment for a Humanities Chair at Metropolis U than his best anthropologists had better study the alien race they have observed. He also wants an astronomer or two to work on rocket trajectories and payloads to send the aliens a little present. Next Lex is briefed on Batman's presence in Metropolis. Luthor orders all street level crime controlled by him to stop until Batman leaves town.

Meanwhile Batman tracks the signal to a parking garage and chases after the thugs when they try to escape. He catches up with them after the car crashes and asks where Lois Lane is. At that very moment Lois is tied to a tree and surrounded by cultists in ceremonial robes. One of the cultists informs her that she is to be burned at the stake for refusing Superman in favor of a mortal. She was supposed to be the vessel for a Kryptonian child and now that she has turned that chance down she must die. They light the wood under Lois and start chanting, "Superman!" over and over again as the Man of Steel rushes back to Earth thinking that Lois is going be burning because he is so late.

4Story - 4: I really liked this issue and the reason I liked this issue so much is very simple.

This is the type of story I want to read.

For the first time I am very glad that this series is out of continuity because this is the Superman I want to read about. I know that Batman is just as important to the series but at the same time I have pretty much stopped reading the monthly Superman books because it does not have the Superman dynamic that I prefer. It isn't that Levitz sets the clock back fifteen or so years to an earlier time when Lex Luthor was an evil businessman and Superman and Lois were happily married because that Superman didn't spend a whole lot of time in space. To me Levitz is picking and choosing what elements he wants to play with and for once that sort of thing doesn't bug me because again this series is not in any particular continuity. So because of that and because of the artwork this story makes me feel very comfortable as a reader like I am visiting with old friends I haven't seen in awhile.

Beyond that the story itself is very solid and character driven. Most of this issue was spent with Superman in space musing on how it feels to physcially be in outer space and then about how Pa reacted to hearing about such exploits. The actual plot was compelling as well and I look forward to seeing where Levitz takes this idea of how a cult on Earth and an alien race react to Superman as a figure of worship. Roger Stern played with this in ACTION COMICS WEEKLY, but this feels different. I was taken aback somewhat at the fact that the cult kidnapped Lois because to their mind she spurnned Superman to marry Clark Kent and was supposed to be the vessel for a child of the Man of Steel. I "liked" this on two levels the first being that it brings back the idea that the people of Metropolis and probably the world saw Lois as Superman's girlfriend for years. The second is that it's just a good idea. That is something you can hang a plot around and it made for a fantastic cliffhanger ending.

I dug Lex's end of this story too. I don't read the solicits anymore so I don't know if this has been mentioned elsewhere but something about him influencing an alien world smacks of the Pre-Crisis concept of Lexor, the planet where Lex was a hero and Superman a villain. Lexor was a Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths concept that I really liked so I hope that this is the direction Levitz is going in. Beyond that I just dug the heck out of seeing Lex in this issue as the Lex of my youth and let me tell you how old I feel saying that but to a large extent it is true. He was in a black suit, barking orders and manipulating people. Now to me that is Lex Luthor. I especially liked the fact that Lex put a temporary stop to his street level criminal dealings while Batman is in town because Batman would be more inclined to look in on such things. The comment how it would eliminate some of his criminal competition was the cherry on top of that scene because again that to me is Lex Luthor.

And then there's Batman. Like everything else in this issue Batman had an old school feel to him in this issue. No real brooding. No dwelling for too long on how he and Clark are so different. It was pretty much Batman getting Lois' signal and going into action. And I LOVED how the criminals just ran for it when Batman appears because I always liked the concept that Batman would actually scare the bad guys he was going after. Beyond all of that I got the feeling from Levitz's writing that Batman looked at Lois like a sister almost and if she needed help he was going to be there.

Overall a fantastic issue. I was very pleased with what I read and am really looking forward to next issue to see where this story goes. This issue had just about everything I love about comics in it; characterization, a solid plot, some concepts to chew on mentally and a lot of action.

I am a happy comic book reader right now.

5Art - 5: I mentioned in the story portion of this review that this story felt like I was visiting old friends. In the case of the artwork that is absolutely true. I am a big fan of Jerry Ordway. I mean a really big fan of Jerry Ordway and to see him drawing Superman again makes me happy and very, very excited. Ordway did not disappoint either and I think the painted look the art had really helped to make this story feel special. Superman looked good. Batman looked good. Lois and Lex both looked good and the storytelling was strong and clear. If it sounds like I am biased towards Ordway's art it is because I am. I like the man's work and I will continue to like the man's work, so the fact that he will be drawing this arc reinforces that feeling of being a very happy comic book reader right now.

4Cover Art - 4: I like this cover a lot. It is a good shot of Superman and Batman and while it doesn't really tie into the story it was much better than last month's cover.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

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