Batman/Superman Annual #1
Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 29, 2020
Cover date: 2020
“Freestyle Imp Battle: Batman versus Superman”
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artists: Gleb Melnikov, Dale Eaglesham and Clayton Henry
Cover: Gleb Melnikov
Reviewed by: Keith Samra
Mr Mxyzptlk and Batmite watch as two young 5th dimension children play with Superman and Batman action figures. The children get into an argument as to who is stronger, and Mxy and Batmite intervene, only to find that they also can’t decide on who would actually win a fight.
Chaos ensues as Mxy and Batmite travel to our dimension and force Superman and Batman to fight in their scenarios, so they can determine once and for all, who is better and stronger.
It all comes to an end when Superman and Batman convince the two imps that they have no reason to fight each other, and each time they forced one another to fight, they saw through the games, and no one won. It all comes to an end and Superman and Batman walk away, Batman expresses his concern about the two imps, but Superman explains, they don’t need to worry, that they idolize them, and will do anything to feel part of their story. Our parting shot is the two imps as action figures, and Krypto and Ace play fighting with them.
Story – 4: Don’t judge a book by its cover… That’s exactly what I did when I saw the cover for this book. Once I saw that it featured Mr Mxyzptlk and Batmite, my eyes rolled. If you haven’t guessed, I’m not the biggest fan of Mxy and Batmite, not that there is anything wrong with these characters at all by any means, it’s just that I have never really been a big fan. Both characters have earned their place in history for sure, I just can’t understand them, like how many other readers and fans do.
In saying that, I did enjoy this story, It was a one and done tale, that suited being a part of an annual, rather than an issue or arc in the main book. And I feel that Williamson had a lot of fun writing this story. This is evident in the more light hearted moments, and how he explored the different possibilities of our heroes defeating each other.
In regards to the big question, who wins, I think Williamson put it best that Superman could squash Batman in one hit, which is what we all know, but the best part was that he explained that these two heroes don’t need to actually fight one another. And this is the first time (in my knowledge) that DC has published a book, that mooted the topic of our heroes fighting one another, ever since they first put it out there in TDKR back in ’86. Weather this was Willaimson’s commentary on the “Batman v Superman” film was a little unclear.
All in all, it was an actual fun read that gave me a different feel for a couple of my least favourite characters, and as I always say, Williamson is underrated, and he can capture the heart of these characters really well.
Art – 3: It’s hard to rate the art, when it’s done by three different artists, and I feel that the overall grade doesn’t necessarily reflect the best of the three artists, however it did feel that it may have been an awkward plot for a couple of the artists to follow.
Gleb Melnikovgave us the predominant part of the visuals, as he rendered all the Mxy and Batmite stuff, along with the closing of the tale. I liked his art, in places it reminded me off Todd Nauck’s work, and he would have been the natural choice for the more comedic scenes. His figure work was pretty good for the most of it, so no complaints really, there may be a few minor nit-picks here and there, but I don’t really need to go into those.
Dale Eaglesham provided the Batman trying to kill Superman pages, and they are pretty well drawn for the most of it, there are a few panels where Superman just looks very strange and disproportioned, but having been a fan of Eaglesham’s work, I managed to just look past that, and not focus on any of that too long.
I won’t lie, I loved Clayton Henry’s part of the book, and I feel that his pages were the most dynamic in the book, maybe also, because he rendered Superman punching the crap out of Batman with one hit, whilst still holding back.
As always, the colouring was superb and bought a certain level of depth to the line art. Sanchez is one of the best.
Cover Art – 3: Gleb Melnikov provided the cover for this particular annual, and it’s not too bad, but I can’t say that I’m in love with it. It’s a little busy, I did like the legion of villains watching our heroes fight, I just felt that the perspective was more than a little off with Superman and Batman.
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