BATMAN/SUPERMAN #12 (Greg Pak/Tom Raney & Ken Lashley) is ambitious to say the least.
Following a brief “Superman: Doomed” hiatus, BATMAN/SUPERMAN is back on track with our dynamic duo finding it hard to stay in one world for too long before they make another trip back to Earth 2. Before I go on I just want to point out the description of this issue that DC Comics had on their site:
“A new arc begins following the events of “FIRST CONTACT.” The worlds of Batman and Superman come to an explosive clash as something terrible happens to the World’s Finest team, and a Dark Knight who is not quite himself must team up with Lois Lane to find a missing Man of Steel. Meanwhile, Selina Kyle encounters a person of amazing strength who has no idea who he is.”
Yeah, that doesn’t happen in this issue, not sure if they had a mix up with the Superman: Doomed issue or the June delay but a bunch of other stuff happens in this week’s issue. If you’re going into this issue expecting the description they gave us to be the right thing, you might have to wait a while.
That being said though, this issue reminded me that Batman and Superman are actually supposed to be friends in this series, who knew! The opening scene where they share their trademark, witty back and forth dialogue with one another was very refreshing to see. To be fair though, the timeline of these events take place FIVE YEARS after the two were originally beamed to Earth 2 and met their alter egos. So since then I assume they’ve grown more friendly to each other and I hope to see more examples of it as the story arc progresses.
Regardless, one thing leads to another and they’re back on Earth 2 right when they start to piece together what they remember about their first trip. The jumping back and forth thing between worlds has been a cornerstone with this series and it’s almost always a hit or miss. This time around it’s a hit and the World’s Finest duo gets teleported back to Earth 2 as some serious stuff goes down, thanks of course to the ever timely Kaiyo.
Let’s get on with the POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES, spoilers ahead.
I’ve always really enjoyed when we get to watch the Dark Knight crack, when he tries to make sense out of an improbable scenario with his precious deductions and theories. Kaiyo’s main game in this issue to test both Batman and Superman with big decisions that will affect the dopplegangers of those close to them. Alfred for Batman, and the Kents/Lois Lane for Superman.
So in the scene where we see Batman rack his brain on what to do as he witnesses “alter ego Alfred” about to meet his demise is gripping. For all his toughness and training Bruce Wayne is still just a scared man terrified a losing anyone close to him, it wasn’t surprising to see Bruce fail Kaiyo’s challenge and interact with the alternate Alfred, but that didn’t make it any less fun to read. If you ever see a moment of Batman second guessing and doubting himself, remember it, cause it doesn’t happen too often.
The writing in general by Greg Pak in this issue definitely had some moments where it shined. The whole concept that the Earth Prime Batman and Superman played a role in the events of Earth 2 is brilliant. While everything was happening, there was Batman and Superman floating around intangible a la Casper style, pretty sweet idea. Pak does a great job of raising the stakes with the series and handles the time difference of five years really well for the most part. We are subject to seeing some nice character development as both men are at different stages in their lives so where they go from here is anyone’s guess.
There wasn’t a whole lot wrong per se with this issue, but there was just enough wrong that left a weird taste in my mouth when it was all said and done. As much as I enjoyed the opening scene between the two, it was really, convenient. Oh okay, they’re both talking about Kaiyo randomly five years after the initial meeting occurred. Oh wow, here’s Kaiyo appearing out of nowhere the second they start talking about her? Man now the story can begin! So are we meant to believe that for the past five years Kaiyo has just been floating around in the world waiting for Batman and Superman to remember her and then she can make an another appearance? No, I don’t buy that, seemed like a cop-out to me.
Also if you read the earlier issues like I did, you’ll know that at the end of their first trip to Earth 2, Batman and Superman had their memories wiped by Kaiyo so they could never remember a thing. Is there like a five-year expiration date on those memory wipes because they sure do remember a lot for two guys who aren’t supposed to remember a thing.
Finally the artwork in this issue was solid for the most part, Raney and Lashley do a commendable job trying to follow the open world that Jae Lee gave BATMAN/SUPERMAN but it translates to crowded panels and really weird faces sometimes making an appearance. Take Batman’s faces in the panels above, really expressive. Not my cup of tea.
BATMAN/SUPERMAN #12 is an issue that tip toes the fence between “Sweet!” and “Meh”. The writing by Greg Pak in this issue shows flashes of a very interesting story arc, one that you should stick around and read if you’ve been a fan of the series thus far. Besides a very inconsistencies here and there, the issue is quite fun to read and something I definetly recommend keeping on your pull list.