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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman/Batman

Superman/Batman #86

Superman/Batman #86

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 20, 2011

Cover date: September 2011

"The Secret" - Part 2 of 3

Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Penciller: Tomas Giorello
Inker: Blond

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Batman and Superman separately think about the fact that Remington, the Gotham Gazette reporter that uncovered the fact that Batman is really Bruce Wayne and that Bruce Wayne defrauded his stock holders, did everything by the book and there was no corporate espionage involved. Batman visits Martin Mayne, the editor-in-chief of the Gazette, and finds out that the only people that were aware that Remington was on the story were Remington and Mayne. Perry White and Clark Kent learned after Remington's death. After convincing Mayne that he is not out to ruin Remington's reputation Mayne tells the Dark Knight which bar Remington frequented.

Meanwhile Clark Kent visits Lucius Fox at WayneTech and asks him about the WayneTech built weapons that Batman uses. Fox explains that they occasionally experience break-ins but every bit of the stolen tech is logged and reported to their insurance company and WayneTech is reimbursed. The stock holders never lose any money as a result of these thefts mainly because Bruce Wayne privately owns and funds the insurance company using his own personal finances. Fox tells Kent to go ahead and run the story but asks this question; why would someone like Kent, who is all about truth and justice, wants to stop someone like Batman from doing so much good?

Elsewhere Batman uses his Matches Malone persona to get information about Remington's death at the bar where Remington used to hang out. He finds out that Remington got drunk one night and mouthed off about his story and everyone at the bar knows if anybody has dirt on Batman they go to The Box. Back at the Gazette Clark and Mayne talk about whether or not Clark should file the story. Mayne tells him that Remington sat on the story for two years and that Mayne finally pressured him into filing the story because circulation was down. Mayne asks Clark if he needs a ride to the train station but Kent would rather walk because he could use the air.

As Superman flies to the moon to think about what he should do Batman discovers that The Box is a mail box where anyone can drop info on Batman to receive some kind of reward. The Dark Knight reaches into the box and a set of false teeth clamp down on his hand. On the bottom of the teeth is a note from Mayne that reveals that Clark Kent has the folder and is finishing Remington's story. Batman says the editor's name as the Joker prepares to clobber Clark Kent with a giant wooden mallet.

5Story - 5: In my last review I raved about the first chapter of "The Secret" and wrote about how it was the best story this title has seen in ages. I am happy to report that this second chapter did not disappoint and maybe one of the best new comics I have read this year.

There was a lot to like about this issue. I dug the opening scene between Mayne and Batman when I first read it and I liked it even more after the big reveal at the end of the issue. Batman is not an easy guy to fool so the fact that Mayne played the angry editor so well says a lot for that character. The thing is I don't think Mayne is an out and out bad guy. Later in the issue he tells Clark that he is having financial issues, so it would make sense that a desperate man would want to get all of the money he could, so not only does he pressure Remington into finally writing his Batman story but he also delivers info to The Box. At the end of that first scene Mayne has a seriously anguished look on his face as he asks, "And whose fault is that?" In all honesty I kind of feel bad for Mayne because I know what it is like to have financial troubles. Fialkov took the time to make this character more than just a writer's tool and I appreciated that.

My favorite scene from this issue has to be the one with Clark Kent and Lucius Fox. I am a big fan of seeing two characters that wouldn't normally interact share "screen time" together. Lucius Fox is an important part of Batman's supporting cast, which is why it was nice to see him in the recent Batman films. The Lucius Fox we see here feels very much like that take on the character and I think this was a smart move. I could hear Morgan Freeman's voice as I read the dialogue. On top of all of that Fialkov, through Lucius, lays out how much care Bruce takes into making sure that his "borrowing" of WayneTech technology doesn't negatively impact that stock holders. Some readers may find scenes like this unnecessary or boring but I don't. Scenes like this suck me into the story further and they show that the writer put a lot of thought into the nuts and bolts of the plot. Info dump scenes are hard to pull off but Fialkov nailed this one.

Usually this is the part of the review where I start detailing the problems I had with the story but that's not going to happen this time. I liked the whole darn thing. You had a Matches Malone appearance followed by a strong scene with Clark and Mayne and then the big reveal that Mayne is feeding information to the villain of the piece. Sure I was spoiled on the Joker's involvement thanks to advance solicitations but that didn't matter. It made for a great cliffhanger ending and I cannot wait for the next (and for the moment final) issue of SUPERMAN/BATMAN.

5Art - 5: There is one thing that I didn't like about the art in this issue.

The size of the bat symbol on Batman's chest.

I know, I know. That is a really minor thing to complain about but at the same time I am picky about such things. I like the chest symbols to look just right. It's a personal thing.

Other than that the artwork was top notch. The top panels of pages 2 and 3 were especially neat as we see a mugger trying to...well...mug Clark Kent and having to face Superman. It was a neat little visual gag. I was very impressed with the Clark Kent/Lucius Fox sequence because of the detail that was put into the backgrounds. Actually, Giorello and Blond pack a lot of details and storytelling into all of the pages, which made for a visually appealing issue.

4Cover Art - 4: This is a weird cover and I am not sure that I like it. The shirt rip is nice but the S symbol is a little off for my tastes. I am not sure why Batman is now Batdinosaur or what this cover is trying to say. Still this cover is at least intriguing and therefore I can't find too much fault with it.

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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