[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello
Pencils: Andy Kubert
The liberation of Gotham City by Superman and Batman from the Kryptonian invasion has serious consequences. Although the citizens are safe, Gotham lies in ruins and Batman is dying! Superman flies his friend to the one place on Earth that can save his life from grave injuries. And as Superman attempts to save Batman’s life, the leader of the Kryptonian invasion attempts a gambit to attack Superman on a personal level by kidnapping his son Johnathan on Paradise Island.
This story starts out in straight blood! The cost of victory in Gotham is very apparent. In the previous issue, an armored Batman and Superman, along with their allies, push back and defeat the Kryptonian invaders. However, the victory comes with a heavy cost. The conversation between Carrie Kelley and the Commissioner reveals a lot about the soul of Gotham itself and its citizens. It’s one of the few moments in the book along with Batman’s death that really pull you into the moment.
Superman’s attempt at saving Bruce here was also amazing and soul shattering at the same time. Superman with all of his powers and abilities is actually praying to God that his friend can be saved in time. If Superman has to pray, then you know the situation is truly dire.
My only negative isn’t really a negative, but I don’t think Bruce would’ve approved of Superman’s ultimate choice. In order to save Batman’s life, Superman places him in the Lazarus Pit. The pit does its job as Batman is restored back to a man in his late 20’s and all of his strength and athleticism has returned.
I really believe Clark of course has the right intentions, but deep down I think he probably just couldn’t accept losing his closest friend. I’m looking forward to how a younger Batman’s return affects not only Gotham, but his allies as well. And what are really the consequences of using the Lazarus Pit? We’ve seen the effect it has on Ra’s al Ghul and Jason Todd. Will it affect Bruce’s mind as well?
This issue was awesome! Miller and Azzarello gave us a story full of action and emotion on all sides and it was told well. Each character in the book, whether hero or villain, has a motivation or goal — but it doesn’t feel like too much is going on at once. Miller and Azzarello give us a war that we not only experience from Batman and Superman’s point of view, but also that of the Commissioner, Carrie Kelley, Kara and others. I can’t wait to see the fallout from Batman’s return from near death, and we still have an invasion of Paradise Island that’s coming as well. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how the next issue plays out. Maybe we’ll finally see Wonder Woman’s return!