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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman/Batman

Superman/Batman #73

Superman/Batman #73

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 23, 2010

Cover date: August 2010


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

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

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With the cultists chanting, "Superman!" over and over again Lois Lane is about to be burned at the stake. Lois tries to reason with them claiming she has information on Superman she would be willing to share. They deny her request but this gave her time to break the stake at the bottom and even though she is tied to it Lois manages to slam the top end into one of the cultists. With a foot on the neck of the man in charge Lois demands that the rest of the group stand back. Suddenly they run off leading Lois to wonder what she did that spooked them so badly. As it turns out Batman was behind her. In short order he has Lois free and is ready to interrogate the remaining, unconscious cultist and find out why they were going to kill Lois for marrying Clark Kent instead of Superman.

Meanwhile Lex Luthor is holding a meeting with the heads of his current project. Lex wants to become the god of the planet Superman visited recently and all of his project heads have positive news except for the one responsible for figuring out how to psychologically manipulate an entire alien civilization. Threats are made and after everyone leaves Lex wonders why he's the only one that ends up doing anything useful at his meetings.

Back at the fire pit Batman has strung the remaining cultist over the still blazing fire. The cultist is refusing to talk when suddenly he is flown high into the sky and one angry, red-eyed Superman is demanding to know why they tried to kill Lois. Eventually the man talks and it is revealed that something called the Visionary gave them instructions to kill Lois to show their devotion. Superman and Batman both claim they will find this Visionary first but Lois is quick to step in and say that they are all going to work together to put a -30- on to this story.

As Lois, Superman and Batman work the case in their own ways Lex Luthor sees to the furthering of his own agenda. Finally Superman and Lois meet Batman at the location of the next ceremony. The head of the cultists holds a glowing orb bearing Superman's shield and asks what they should do now that Superman is mad at them for trying to kill Lois. The orb tells them that she must die. The heroes make their move and as Superman tries to reason with the group the orb begins spewing flame. At Baman's urging Superman grabs the orb and flies off. The orb explodes and a creature of flame begins to form. Batman tells Superman to use his super-breath to extinguish the flame, which does the job. With the danger seemingly past Lois says that if she could make a wish on this candle it would be to find the man behind the curtain.

At LexCorp one of Lex's underlings briefs him on the status of the cultists and Operation: False God. Lex orders that they spend a few nights in jail before moving on to the launch of Andromeda One. Lex is pleased that everything is going to plan and states that one day soon he shall be a god and Superman a distasteful memory.

5Story - 5: It's really nice to be able to write that this storyline continues to make me one happy comic book reader.

There was a lot to like in this issue. The opening was strong and really showed the action side of Lois. I dug the comedy moment when Batman came up behind Lois and scared the cultists off leaving Lois to momentarily think that she was responsible for them high tailing it out of there. It's an old bit but Levitz put it to good use. I was kind of surprised that I didn't mind Superman going all heat vision eyed because I have been on record (for lack of a better term) about the fact that I think that that particular visual has been overused. The reason I didn't have a problem with it here is the fact that it was over Lois. I like the thought of a Superman that will go above and beyond his usual means of intimidation for her. I appreciate him getting good and mad because someone was trying to do bodily harm to his wife. I get mad when someone mistreats my wife. I can't imagine what it would be like if someone tied her to a stake and tried to burn her alive.

It was also kind of neat to see how Superman, Batman and Lois all differ in their methods of investigation. It made for several great character based scenes but more than that it took something that could have slowed the plot down and thrown off the pacing and made it fun for the reader. Fact gathering scenes can be kind of boring but Levitz used them as a vehicle to show the differences between Superman, Batman and Lois. I liked this. I didn't like the "Red-Blue Blur" reference during the first Lois scene but then again I never liked the whole "Red-Blue Blur" thing in the first place so that wasn't much of a surprise.

While I loved seeing the heroes have their moments throughout the issue, I have to say my favorite scenes were with Lex Luthor. Levitz has given us a Lex that would be very much at home in the John Byrne era or Mike Carlin era but also one that could very easily be played by Gene Hackman or Kevin Spacey. The dialogue was overblown, but it made for a Lex that I can really get behind or I guess a Lex I could love to hate. The fact that he was behind the cult that kidnapped Lois made perfect sense and I thought the reveal of this came off perfectly.

Oh, and I really dug the mention of Lexor. That got me excited.

Overall I am still digging this story. It has all of the elements of a Superman story that I like (a married Superman and Lois working together and Lex Luthor being the business man villain) plus it is a good Superman/Batman story as well. The only thing missing is Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne making an appearance but Clark isn't in the regular book so why would I expect him to be here? Bitterness aside I like what I am reading and wish that this could be the ongoing team for the book but the solicits indicate that the next story is going to be written by Judd Winick. That's really disappointing. Levitz is doing a fantastic job and considering this is one of two books I am still reading I wish that Levitz could have a chance to take this book and make it special again.

5Art - 5: Jerry Ordway you didn't let me down.

Ok, I am sure that Ordway wasn't drawing this book specifically for me but it sure did appeal to my sensibilities in a big way. Superman looked great. Batman looked great. The action flowed along nicely and the storytelling was strong throughout the issue. Similar to what I wrote in the story part of this review I wish that Ordway could be the regular artist on this book. Not only would it make me very happy on a personal level but it would give the book the consistency that it desperately needs. Ordway has such a great take on both characters and their worlds that it would be a shame not to take advantage of his talent.

Then again I am biased, so there you go.

4Cover Art - 4: I am not a big fan of this cover but it isn't bad. The art is very strong but I would rather see Ordway draw the covers as well. Then again I always like it when the interior artist draws the 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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