Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 22, 2020
Cover date: March 2020
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Penciller: David Marquez
Inker: David Marquez
Cover: David Marquez
Variant Cover: Jim Cheung
Reviewed by: Keith Samra
We see both heroes travel back to their respective cities, and fight villains from their rogues galleries. They meet up in their civilian identities, and Bruce tells Clark about his plans to rebuild and weaponize their current bid to be more transparent with the hero community, by doing the same with the super villains of the world.
We end with General Zod and Ras Al Guhl, speaking of war and Zod wanting to claim the Lazarus Pits for Kandor.
To be continued…
Story – 5: I’m so happy at the fact that the quality of this book didn’t diminish at all, from last month’s conclusion of the first arc. I was weary of what changes may follow, now that the infected/secret six arc had concluded, and if another creative team, or at least artist was going to take over. I was happy that that wasn’t the case (for this issue at least).
We were teased last issue with an appearance from Wonder Woman, and here we saw the guys track her down and have a face to face with her. Their intensions of trying to be more transparent with her, sadly was overshadowed by the fact that Williamson tried to show how bad @$$ she is. I don’t actually blame Williamson for doing this, Wonder Woman is experiencing a golden period in her career, with her so popular in the current years and with her sequel due in theatres in a few months. The whole ordeal really reminded me of the late 90s and early 2000s when Batman could do no wrong, and always had a plan.
Much like the original Superman/Batman title, there is a parallel play on both characters in this issue, as Batman beats up the Scarecrow and Superman does the same with Metallo, I don’t mind such a thing, but I just feel sometimes it’s too on the nose, when a scene like this is so symmetrical. The particular scene plays out in only three pages, but I just feel more could have been done to differentiate the characters’ tactics against villains, rather than just the simple one two punch and run.
What I loved about the issue was the interaction that Clark and Bruce have at Crime Alley in Gotham. I liked that Bruce was turning a negative to a positive by rebuilding Crime Alley, where TBWL’s base of operations was. Now I know that this will most likely not ever be mentioned again, but I liked seeing a superhero use a tragic event, and try and build something that will benefit others. Also the conversation regarding Clark revealing his identity to the world was another nice touch. Though I hate the very idea of what Bendis is doing in the regular Superman titles, I like the way Williamson handled it here, and the line about still wearing the glasses was a nice touch. If I’m right, this is the first time outside the regular books where another character has addressed Clark’s decision to tell the world he’s Superman.
This issue served as an epilogue of sorts, and pinned some plot points, that can be picked up further down the line. TBWL and his infected clan of heroes is a story that will definitely be a long running one, and is still the foundation of what this book has built its narrative on, but it was good to see that now we will be concentrating on other threats the world’s finest can tackle. The last page is a prime example of this, as we see General Zod and Ras Al Guhl lead us into the next arc. And what war is about to be waged, and how would the Lazarus Pits, benefit Kryptonian’s and Kandor I wonder?
Art – 5: David Marquez has yet again done a superb job in bringing to life the two best superheroes in history. It has been a joy to watch as his style has matured and changed over the last six issues, not since J. Scott Campbell from the first Gen13 miniseries in the 90s have I seen an artist’s work change so much, in subtle ways. The biggest change is still I feel Superman’s face. I feel Marquez has finally settled on a look for his Man of Steel.
Though there is a lot less crosshatch detail than previous issues, he has managed to use it where it counts, mainly in scenes with a lot more darkness, and kept it more in the backgrounds. Small details, but just something I managed to notice.
I like Marquez’s rendition of Wonder Woman, he seems to have a good handle on her, and his Batman is heavily based on Jim Lee’s Hush design. Jim Lee is to Batman in this modern age what Neal Adams was back in the 70s I’d say, so it’s easy to see why Marquez has chosen to go that way.
Marquez’s Superman, as I mentioned, has gotten better, yet he still draws his torso very long, or maybe just draws the trunks much shorter than what we are used to. Regardless he draws a great Superman. And even though I have taken much flack for trying to see the good in John Romita’s Superman work, I am not remiss in saying I love seeing Marquez’s Superman renditions more. Another tiny detail I picked up is the length of Superman’s cape, this is especially evident in the scenes with the infected Jim Gordon, Marquez has gone the way of the DCEU, and given him a cape that touches the ground. I like this a lot. I find it so much better looking than the short ones that Frank Quitley and Ed McGuinness drew. I can’t wait to see what he will bring to General Zod and Ras Al Guhl.
This book would not have the punch it has without Alejandro Sanchez. In this issue he really outdid himself, especially the detail he put into both Superman and Batman’s faces. There is the ever so subtle hint of a five o’clock shadow to Batman, and the more angular features he gives Superman simply through the shading. This is what really stood out to me the most.
Cover Art – 4: The main cover is good, and it feels as though it was designed that it can also be used as the cover for the trade paperback. It’s nothing dynamic, but gets the point across. I want to add, I’m a sucker for this particular perspective of Superman in this flying pose. It reminds me of some of the stills of Christopher Reeve from back in the day.
Variant Cover Art – 4: Though I am a huge fan of Simone Bianche’s art, I regretfully couldn’t give this cover a perfect scoring, due to the awkward posing of both characters. I know Bianche can do better, and maybe deadline was an issue, but some of the proportions seem off.
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