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Mild Mannered Reviews - "Batman/Superman" Comics

Batman/Superman #5 Batman/Superman #5

Batman/Superman #5

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 6, 2013

Cover date: January 2014

"Game Over"

Writer: Greg Pak
Penciller: Brett Booth
Inker: Norm Rapmund

Reviewed by: Michael J. Petty

Click to enlarge

Batman/Superman #5 Batman/Superman #5 Starting off in Gotham City, Batman is facing off against John Corben aka Metal-Zero, better known as Metallo, while Superman saves Earth from falling asteroids. After defeating Metallo, Batman leaves the scene and Superman, who has returned down to Earth, witnesses Corben's body disappear.

Elsewhere, Hiro Okamura, the Toymaster, seems to have been the one controlling the fake Metallo. Above Earth however, asteroid dust falls towards Gotham and seems to corrupt the plant life in the city.

Hiro, after sending out his invitations to join him for the Beta launch of his new "game," connects with three other teenagers, including Jimmy Olsen, to tell them that they are going to kill Batman. Meanwhile, Batman and Superman briefly talk until Clark lets it go that Metal-Zero disappeared. Batman then comes across "Nightwing", who eventually turns on him and tries to kill him.

Crashing into Toymaster's HQ, Batman fights "Nightwing" until Hiro tells Batman how to defeat the construct and stop the "game". Just then, a spaceship hovers above the compound and blasts the building. Batman, as well as Toymaster and his "employee," are then confronted by Mongul. Hiro, thinking it's a game, heads towards Mongul until he takes out a weapon to kill him with. Batman throws Hiro out of the way and before passing out, Batman calls Superman for backup.

4Story - 4: Let me start out by saying that I really, with all my heart, wanted to give this issue a 5/5.

The World's Finest team-up has always been my favorite superhero team-up as Superman and Batman are my two favorite heroes, but I still couldn't give this issue a complete score.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVED this issue and it actually pains me NOT to give this issue a full on 5/5, but ultimately I can't for a two main reasons as I will explain below...

- Superman is written like a child, or at least a (somewhat immature) young adult - I thought Greg Pak did an excellent job of writing two different versions of Superman in the last arc of Batman/Superman that chronicled the first meeting of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight Detective, but here it just didn't quite fit. Sure, I don't mind Superman being written like this early in his career, like at the beginning of New 52 Action Comics and even the Justice League: Origin arc, but here it just didn't work. It made Superman feel inferior to Batman in the book, and with a World's Finest team-up book, that doesn't fly with me. It's not that I mind Superman being younger than Batman (he generally is so that's fine with me, plus it's good to remember for the Batman vs. Superman movie), but I do mind when Superman is under-mined and vice-versa with Batman because of a silly think like age. Not to mention, Greg Pak's Action Comics #25 (a Batman: Zero Year tie-in) was fantastic as it portrayed a younger Superman in action. When I read that issue and then this issue, I felt like, even though it was the same writer, that there was some disconnect in the writing of this character for these two books. And should I even mention the "trolling" part?

- I was thrown off by the page layout - This really has nothing to do with the story, more-so the art. However, the reason why I'm putting it here instead of the art section is simple, because it actually doesn't diminish or hurt the artwork itself; it only makes it a little harder to read the story. For those of you who read your comics digitally (I read the Smallville and Arrow comics digitally simply because they're digital firsts) you probably won't have much of an issue, but for those of us who strictly read print, it had the potential to be either good or bad. For me it was half-way. I thought it added a LOT to the art, but it was a bit frustrating while reading the story and ultimately deterred from my full enjoyment of this issue.

These things aside, this issue of Batman/Superman was utterly fantastic! I do love that Greg Pak is as much a fan of Jeph Loeb's Superman/Batman run as I am, because this issue was references galore! While the last arc really touched on Loeb's stand-alone Superman/Batman stories, this one touched on his run (and the rest of the Superman/Batman book) in general. I was happy to see that Hiro Okamura (now Toymaster, not Toyman; hopefully this time he's a "real boy"!) was included in this story and that he's included in this book altogether. Not to mention that he was wearing a Composite Batman-Superman T-shirt; a direct reference to his giant robot from Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.

I like that we have both Batman and Superman doing their own thing when they're not teaming-up and all the while we have their thought boxes so we know what they're thinking about any given situation. I really enjoyed when they both were talking about how Superman's younger and Batman's older and how they have different respects for each other. It was also very interesting when Bruce actually got mad at himself for thinking of Clark as "inferior" to him, the fact that it disgusted him made me remember why these two characters work so well together and why they're friends.

Mongul's a good villain for this book. I feel that if you can't have Lex (as he's being used a lot right now...), then someone big should be who these two face together. Mongul was a good call.

Also, what age is New 52 Jimmy again? I keep forgetting because in three books he seems to be a teenager and in two other books he's about Clark's age... DC, please figure this out for me or at least pull a Smallville and make there be an older and younger Jimmy Olsen because that would be better than swapping his age with every new creative team... Thanks.

Overall, this issue was great. A lot of great plot, a lot of great characters, and definitely lots of potential. I've said it before and will say it again, I have a lot of respect for Greg Pak as a writer, he wrote one of the best Incredible Hulk runs in a long time and I have been enjoying Batman/Superman, as well as his Justice League/Darkseid one-shot, thus far (and look forward to Action Comics). This issue is not without its problems, but it didn't take the life out of the book for me as I continued to enjoy this. This arc seems like it's going to be a blast, so in the words of Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor from Superman Returns, "Bring it on!"

5Art - 5: Absolutely gorgeous and incredible art this week. Much more enjoyable than Jae Lee (or Ben Oliver, who I really did like on the book) as I'm not a fan of his style. Booth was on Nightwing for a bit and he can draw a killer Dick Grayson, but I was glad to see him try some new characters with Batman, Superman, and Mongul. I had a great time looking at this book for sure, even if the different layout threw me off!

3Cover Art - 3: Good but not great. Nightwing seems like the main focus of this issue, and he most certainly is not. Superman is pushed to the side, along with Metal-Zero (didn't Villain's Month decide that he's Metallo now?). I also am not a huge fan of the sideways cover. That's fine for interiors, but the cover was a bit much. I also am not a big fan of where Batman is placed, but now I'm just nitpicking. The actual characters themselves look great!

3Cover Art (Variant) - 3: I like that this one is right-side up! Superman looks great on this cover, but unfortunately Batman looks a bit off. Good idea, not so great execution.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Except for digital first releases, the month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2014

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