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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman/Batman

Superman/Batman #76

Superman/Batman #76

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 22, 2010

Cover date: November 2010

"The Brave and The Bold"

Writer: Judd Winick
Penciller: Marcos Rudy
Inker: Oclair Albert and Julio Ferrera

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Lois wakes up and finds her husband sitting on the edge of the bed. She asks if the Final Crisis is over and Superman says it is and adds that Batman is dead.

Previous to that moment Nightwing and Robin (Tim Drake) are in the Batcave. Nightwing is insistent that they monitor all police and emergency bands in preparation for the psychic aftermath that usually happen after time altering events. Robin interrupts him as Superman and Wonder Woman enter the Batcave with Batman's cape and cowl. Nightwing starts screaming that he wants to see the body since there was nothing natural about Batman's death.

At JSA Headquarters Dr. Mid-Nite performs the autopsy on Batman and goes through how the Dark Knight died. He was assaulted by the Omega Sanction and death was nearly instantaneous. Superman listens to Mid-Nite's report but flashes back to the funeral for his father, Jonathan Kent.

The story returns to the present and Lois believes that the simple funeral Dick Grayson wants for his mentor seems a bit small but Superman tells her that Dick was adamant. It would be an intimate affair with just the core of the League. At the funeral Dick insists that while Bruce is dead Batman is not. Superman has another flashback, this time remembering one of the first times he met Batman.

An indeterminate time later Superman is floating above the Earth monitoring police bands when he catches a report on Batman stopping Scarecrow's rampage. After a quick meeting with Wonder Woman Superman confronts Dick, the new Batman, and tells him to take off the costume because Superman believes it to be wrong. Superman points out that Bruce Wayne was the disguise and that Dick is parading around in Bruce's skin. The argument gets heated with Superman telling Dick to let it go. Dick tells him that he knows Superman lost his father but Dick lost his father as well.

Later Superman discusses the confrontation with Wonder Woman, who boils all of the various feelings Superman is having regarding the death of those he loves to the fact that Superman misses his friend. Superman flies to the Batcave and apologizes for his actions but points out that it won't be the last time because that's what happens when people work together. Dick tells Superman he looks forward to that and the two shake hands.

3Story - 3: I was completely prepared to hate this story. The synopsis in the previews focused on the fact that Superman is going to have a problem with Dick being Batman. This struck me as unnecessary. I'm kind of tired of the hero vs. hero plot getting brought out again and again and I figured this would be another example of that sort of story. I don't want to see hero fighting hero. I want to see the heroes fighting the bad guys. Add to that the fact that I never know if I am going to like or hate a Judd Winick story and I was completely sure that I would be sitting here writing a rather scathing review.

Turns out that I was right and I was wrong.

I didn't hate this story. I didn't exactly like it but I didn't despise it either. I think I see what Winick was going for. He wanted to explore what effect the death of Batman would have on Superman and how Superman would react to Dick becoming Batman. There is a part of me that liked this, especially the way that Winick brought in the pain Superman was feeling over the death of Jonathan Kent because this is one of the few times I've seen Clark deal with that. I thought it was clever that Winick intertwined those two losses and brought Superman down to a very human level. To me Superman having a problem with Dick being Batman made no sense until Winick "explained" it in a way that made me think, "That works." So on all those levels the story was rather good.

Here's the problem though; Batman was dead for like five minutes. It is hard to emotionally invest in a story that at the end of the day doesn't really matter. I am not suggesting that the plot to this story and the character bits Winick wrote aren't valid. I just can't get caught up in the feelings I think Winick is hoping to evoke knowing that Bruce is pretty much back. This might seem like a minor issue but it isn't. Not for me at least. I can only go so far into the characterization before stopping and thinking, "Wait a minute...Batman's back. What is the point of this?" This to me is the main problem with characters dying and coming back so frequently in the past five years or so. DC (and Marvel) has desensitized me to the drama of death and resurrection, at least in comics.

Still it wasn't a bad issue and definitely worth a read, especially if you are more emotionally invested in the DCU than I am at the moment. There are some interesting moments, like seeing Winick take a scene from JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #0 written by Brad Meltzer that had Superman and Wonder Woman discussing Batman's death after what seems to be the end of DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and tweaking it to his own ends. The fact that the two were roommates in college makes this scene even more interesting to me.

So yeah, this issue was a lot better than I thought it was going to be but I still had some problems and quibbles.

As usual.

2Art - 2: I did not like the artwork in this issue. It isn't bad. I think the artists did their best to capture the emotions Winick was going for but the style isn't to my liking. I'm not saying that it would have been better if another artist had handled the art because I don't like thinking in those terms but wasn't for me.

At all.

2Cover Art - 2: Well that's a needlessly ugly cover. Some of you may think that I am being unfair but there is something about the corpse of Bruce Wayne that strikes me as gratuitous. The art isn't bad in a technical sense but it doesn't appeal to me at all. I am assuming it is supposed to show us the sorrow Dick and Superman feel about the death of their mentor and friend respectively but I can't get past the ugliness of the dead body.

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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