[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Artist: Ivan Reis
Letters: Saida Temofonte
Colors: Sabine Rich
Reviewed by: Carl Bryan
Batman/Superman #20 – The Man of Steel and the Dark Knight need time to recover from their manic melee through the Archive of Worlds, but the heroes won’t rest for long!
Despite the efforts of new friends El Diablo and Alanna, Auteur.io, the cybernetic architect of these alternate realities, seems to have the upper hand!
And to make matters worse, the Archive of Worlds unleashes its most horrific story ever put to magic-infused celluloid: the dark and twisted tale of that demon from the depths: Etrigan!
Gene Luen Yang continues a very unique way to tell a story within a comic. I would imagine every film maker regrets frames of their masterpiece lying on the editing room floor. In fact, there was such a fan cry out over The Snyder Cut that we did get to see a very unique and very different Justice League movie. Kudos to the people responsible for that! In this issue, to this reviewer, the story is a “hot mess”. I get that Superman and the duo of Batman and Robin are literally in different incarnations of themselves from different time eras literally flying through “burn holes” in actual film to transport themselves to different worlds. Try reading that sentence slower for an understanding. But it is a messy montage of art…love this as a poster, but the pages are super busy. Although it was great to see black and white cameos of the old Blackhawks and Shazam! But this is a lot to drink in. I daresay this is like reading a Neal Adams script. That is not the best endorsement of script writing!
Again, this is a” ketchup and ice cream” comic! Both of those ingredients are great, but together, it leaves an odd taste in your mouth. The excitement of having something akin to a 1966 Batman Robin duo and a Superman from an entirely different time period is an odd World’s Finest. Pair that with campy dialogue and very busy (but well drawn) art work…I literally felt my blood pressure climbing as i had to read and reread prior issues to detect the storyline.
Perhaps I am taking this too seriously, but there is a lot being suddenly thrown at the reader and now we have the Demon Etrigan assembling a group of robotic Supermen from a Fortress of Solitude. How can one of the smartest superhero duos literally leave clues on a computer about the whereabouts of the Fortress? This is a lot to buy into!
Batman/Superman #20- Past issues have been in a crescendo to this issue, but I felt like Kamandi in 2021…things just don’t belong here. Here’s hoping that we get back to a bit more timeline type adventure we can all get behind as Superman and Batman have a lot going in their respective books. I would love for this book to dive deeper into what they are respectively confronting right now!