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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman/Batman

Superman/Batman #74

Superman/Batman #74

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 21, 2010

Cover date: September 2010


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

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

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Lex Luthor watches as another shuttle launch in the Andromeda Project series goes uninterrupted. He feels a sense of satisfaction in knowing that even though Superman continues to steal his rightful place on Earth he shall find a world that will give the name Lex Luthor the respect it deserves. Lex boards his private jet and is briefed on the operations in Gotham, where Lex's people are busy distracting Batman, and on the fact that Henry Franks, the man that headed the group that worshiped Superman, has committed suicide in Belle Reeve.

In Gotham City Batman prevents another mugging in Crime Alley. After saving a nun's life the Dark Knight begins to think that maybe someone is trying to make him angry by orchestrating so many petty crimes in the Crime Alley area. After preventing another mugging Batman interrogates the would-be attacker to find out if his theory is correct.

In space Superman checks on the planet he recently encountered and finds that the inhabitants have a serious mad-on for Superman. They even attack him with Kryptonite when he lands leading the Man of Steel to wonder what logical reason there could be for their reaction to him or for their possession of Kryptonian weapons.

Back on Earth Batman follows the trail started by the would-be mugger in Crime Alley. He finds a man named Joey and grabs him while Joey is trying to woe another recruit. Joey insists that he is only small fry but to Batman he is one step closer to his goal. Meanwhile in space Superman discovers that the local civilization has been tampered with via off world technology and a complex religion which has been foisted on the populace. The Man of Steel spots a space craft heading towards the planet and intercepts it. After breaking off pieces of the ship he finds the name Lexcorp printed on the circuit boards and suddenly everything becomes clear.

In Metropolis Batman breaks into Lexcorp tower and after taking out a few of Lex's guards tells Luthor that he has connected the dots and knows he is responsible for the wave of crimes in Gotham City. Batman adds that he doesn't play by Luthor's polished Metropolis rules and that he should stay out of Gotham. The Dark Knight leaves after kicking out one of Luthor's windows. Superman arrives moments later to inform Lex that he is to stop his "work" on the other world. Lex denies his involvement of course and destroys the chip that Superman had retrieved from the space craft. Superman informs Luthor that while he may have destroyed the evidence Superman still knows what happened and that one day Luthor may push him too far. Luthor is confident that he knows which buttons to push and which to avoid. Before leaving Superman tells Luthor not to play god on other worlds adding that he will be monitoring the planet Luthor tried to tamper with via a camera he set up using Lex's technology. If Superman sees another rocket heading towards the other world he'll aim it towards the Lexcorp building. As Lex Luthor throws a tantrum, swearing revenge Superman meets up with Batman

3Story - 3: This issue was kind of a letdown.

I hate writing that. I really do because I liked the heck out of the previous two issues. It seemed that the story was going to lead to a confrontation of sorts on "Lexor" and we would see a play on the classic story "The Showdown Between Luthor and Superman" from SUPERMAN #164. There was even an armored Lex Luthor on the cover. Sure the power armor Lex came much later in Lexor's history but still. Everything seemed to be heading towards one end and instead the story ended without much of a conclusion and rather abruptly at that.

I think that was my major beef with this issue. I usually try to judge a story on how it plays out, not on how I want it to play out. It is unfair of me as a reader to want the writer to write to me specifically. So even if Levitz zigged when I wanted him to zag that's no reason to feel let down by the story. The problem is that we had two solid issues of set up and in the end all we got was Superman getting attacked on "Lexor", Batman following a trail in Gotham and both of them confronting Luthor. This would have made a fantastic middle chapter as it furthered the overall plot along but as a conclusion it just didn't work.

I'm trying to figure out why this story ended the way it did because it just seemed to stop. It seems to me that the conclusion to such a story would have been perfectly suited in a double sized seventy-fifth issue, but this wasn't the case. I have a hard time thinking that a writer of Levitz's caliber would have plotted out a story to end on such an unexciting beat.

All things considered, though, I was satisfied with the story as a whole. It brought me back to the Superman I enjoyed reading and had a lot of what I liked seeing in a Superman/Batman story. I wish it could have ended differently but it is what it is. Again, I kind of wish that Levitz and Ordway could stick around permanently and give the series a distinct flavor to it, but it seems that DC feels differently.

5Art - 5: While the story ended on a clunky note the art finished strong. Batman and Superman both continued to look great but more than that there was a lot of detail in the backgrounds that gave Metropolis, Gotham and the alien world a life to them. Each setting had its own distinct feeling to it, which made me enjoy the story all the more because I felt like the places were real. It's a shame that this story couldn't have lasted one more issue. It would have been neat to see what Ordway could have done if the battle between Superman and Lex had been taken to that other world.

4Cover Art - 4: The art on this cover is great. The image of the people from "Lexor" burning Superman and Batman made for a strong image especially with an armored up Lex looming over them. The problem is that the cover made it seem that this sort of scene would happen in the issue and it didn't, so while I liked the art I feel a little let down, like I was promised one thing and given another.

Oh well. That's how covers go sometimes.

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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