Superman is dying! As his powers slowly begin to drain and fade, Superman enlists the aid of Batman to help find Supergirl before its too late for himself. However their search soon turns to a fight for their lives when the duo find themselves hunted by magical creatures from the Chinese Zodiac!
“Dark Discovery”, written by Peter J. Tomasi and penciled by Doug Mahnke is a great look into the partnership of the world’s greatest team. Due to the battles on the firepits of Apokolips, the battle against Rao, and then lastly his exposure to the A.R.G.U.S Kryptonite chamber has left Superman’s cells slowly dying. As the Man of Steel comes to terms with this, he sets out to find Supergirl in order to ensure his legacy lives on. I like how Bruce is one of the first people he reaches out to for support and to also give him the news. The two lifelong friends have their friendship placed on a real emotional strain in one scene, where Bruce tells Clark that he’s sure that he can find a way to save him–he just needs time. Clark tells Bruce that he wants to spend that time searching for Kara and nothing else–that leaving the world with a peace of mind is the most important thing to him now. It’s in this few words that we’re reminded that Batman and Superman are more than just heroes or allies–they are friends. In a moment of anger after Superman leaves, Batman smashes a computer monitor with his fist, showing his frustration with the news of his friend’s sickness. Tomasi did a great job showing off the emotion of Batman, who values control over everything else. Even with all of his resources, this is something that Bruce can’t stop–and it angers him here.
My only complaint about this issue is the introduction of this “other” Superman. Literally a man in flames he’s seeing flying around doing heroic deeds as if he’s actually Superman. Now although he’s obviously not, there’s a greater story in play here, but I was so involved with Superman’s search for Kara that I didn’t care. The panels showing this “man of fire” are few and brief and I’m sure they’ll show us more in the next issue but at most it comes off as a distraction from the story at large. I’d rather Tomasi would’ve introduced this mysterious character at the end where he would’ve had more impact as opposed as the middle of the story–by then I was too consumed in the search for Kara by Batman and Superman, to really even care about exactly who the “man on fire” was.
Batman/Superman #31 is good read. “Dark Discovery” really shows us the friendship that Superman and Batman have and also Bruce’s desire to keep all of his friends and family safe–even if it’s impossible. We also see Batman’s new suit showed off in this issue, which I completely love by the way. It stays traditional and tactical while adding some color that really helps it stand out. I really like it. I’m looking forward to reading the next issue of Batman/Superman–you should too!!!