Greg Pak is doing amazing things with Batman/Superman, and this latest arc featuring Mongul and the new Toymaster is no exception.
Pak’s Toymaster is one of the best reinterpretations of a classic villain in the New 52. So many villains simply received a costume update or a slightly altered origin story that it’s honestly exciting to see a brand new character take over the mantle of Toymaster. Hiro Okamura is exactly what the Toymaster should be in 2013; a video game wunderkind who wants to combine virtual and actual reality into the most advanced, complex video game ever created.
Unfortunately for Hiro, reality doesn’t always bend to the whims of program coding and the true mastermind behind the technology, Mongul, makes his play in Batman/Superman #6 to take down the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight once and for all.
Three years ago, it would have been inconceivable for Mongul and Toymaster to appear in the same story arc. This is what the New 52 offers two years in: the chance to see these heroes and villains in a whole new way, and Pak makes the most of this opportunity. Including multi-millionaire Jimmy Olsen into the mix as one of the three chosen Beta testers is also a great addition.
Brett Booth continues to impress with his ability to bring superheroes to life. Often, comic book art falls into the hyper-realistic or artist-specific stylization. Booth sits in the rare third category that blends these two elements, along with few others like Jim Lee, Phil Noto, and John Cassaday.
Thought it’s cool to see Batman and Superman trading eye beam blasts, it’s a bit over the top. Mecha-Batman feels a bit forced and as of the end of the issue, there really isn’t any payoff or explanation, and that’s disappointing.
The three Beta testers for Toymaster’s reality simulator—Jimmy Olsen, Janice Everson, and Alfonso Champion—feel a bit long in the tooth at this point, as they’re supposed to be generally intelligent individuals who are chosen because of their cunning and ability to strategize. How can they not understand that the fight between Mongul and our two heroes is real? Obviously, Jimmy figures it out halfway through the issue, but his “eureka!” moment comes from nothing more than Superman scolding him. It’s not terribly believable and makes weighs the entire scene down.
Greg Pak is completely in his element writing Batman/Superman. Using Mongul and Toymaster together in a single story is pure genius and though there are a few hiccups in Batman/Superman #6, the story is engaging and exilerating.