Batman/Superman 2021 Annual #1
Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 31, 2021
Cover date: 2021
Cover: Bryan Hitch and Alejandro
Variant Cover: Francesco Francavilla
Reviewed by: Craig Boehmer
Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Artist: Paul Pelletier
Batman and Robin are in the world of tomorrow to track down their version of Bruce Wayne who was transformed into a Bizzaro Two Face and is currently escaped from Blackgate Penitentiary. Batman and Superman agreed that Batman’s detective skills with sadistic super villains would be most useful in this case. Batman poses as a security guard at Arkham to watch over Martha Wayne, it is no use as Bruce shows up and kidnaps her. Batman and Robin follow Bruce downtown where Gordon opens fire on the monster causing an explosion. This leads to Batman and Robin losing the trail. Batman deduces that Bruce will go to Crime Alley and might kill Martha. Bruce and Martha do arrive at Crime Alley and are confronted by Batman who gives Bruce a coin to help him choose to kill Martha or not. The coin comes up to kill Martha, but Bruce is part Bizzaro and part Two Face, so he chooses the opposite. In the confusion Robin slips the power dampener around Bruce’s neck. With Martha and Bruce back in their respective prisons Batman and Robin head back home but are attacked by an Alfred Doomsday.
Story – 5: This was a fun throw away detective story. Having Batman confront himself, and different versions of his mother and commissioner Gordon was very entertaining. I hope Yang is announced on another DC project soon, hopefully a Golden Age era Black Label Superman series.
Art – 5: I was so excited to see Pelletier was on this project. What a great chance for him to flex his muscles and give us interesting variations on the Batman tropes.
“Superman in the World of the Knight”
Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Artist: Francesco Francavilla
With Batman in the World of Tomorrow, Superman is in the World of the Knight to protect it. The Luthor of this world takes over the brain of his Luthor and then Metropolis. It becomes Superman’s job to destroy an Omni-Battery that is powering Luthor’s conquest, so that he can save the city. He heads to Metropolis and is beset upon by a horde of Man-Bats, then Poison Ivy. Afterwards he must face a Two Face/Metallo hybrid, before reaching the Omni-Battery. It is revealed that the battery is a human that easily defeats Superman. All of these obstacles to Superman are being mind controlled by Luthor, and he is speaking to Superman through them. Superman is rescued by the Spider Syndicate, led by Lois Lane (Spider Lady) and Bibbo. They also have the batteries family. Superman takes the family to the Omni-Battery where they are able to break Luthor’s mind control, allowing Superman to save the day. Superman takes the Spider Lady to a place in between dimensions to speak in private. He rescues Batman and Robin from Doomsday Alfred, and then makes out with Spider Lady while Batman looks upon statues of Martha and Thomas Wayne.
Story – 5: A simple action story giving Yang the chance to play up the heroic nature of Superman. Revealing that he battery is a human gives Yang the chance to show Superman’s human nature. Rather than having him fight the battery in a big bombastic action sequence, he shows Superman appeal to the humanity still inside him. Also having Superman fight the different versions of Batman’s villains was fun.
Art – 3: I was really torn on this art. The first time I looked at it, I hated it. I was mad that Batman got the good art, while Superman was stuck with the cheap indie art. Why not give Superman’s art as much priority as Batman’s? As I read the issue my disdain of the art cooled a bit. I don’t love it, but I understand what they were trying to do with it. But having Batman’s art be so good, does not do this art any favours. The colours don’t work well, and a lot of the art looks simplistic. That being said, there are still some good panels in the story.
Cover Art – 5: I really love these covers. It is such a cool image of Batman, and I want to display it beside the opposite version of Superman on my wall. Having each hero front and center in front of the alternate heroes city looks fantastic. And each hero just looks great with the slight nod to the uniforms of the Golden Age. Fantastic!
Variant Cover Art – 3: Your love of this cover will depend on how much you like this style. The idea is cool, each hero trapped in the city of the alternative, desperately reaching out to their own city and universe. I don’t love the artistic style though. It seems to be trying to replicate the art of the Golden Age of comics. It is arguable how effective it is.
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