Batman/Superman #1 Review

By: Rob Neil Gruszecki

            A naive boy from a small town wanders the cruel streets of Gotham city and witnesses the dichotomy of strong and weak as they battle for survival on the cold asphalt of a hollow town. The culture shock of entering an unforgiving city hits with the fury of childhood rage and unrepentant violence.

A haggard looking drunk drapes his arms over a bench and relaxes as the powerful display their dominance over the undeserving and innocent. With his face hidden he examines a display of abuse that defines his surroundings but doesn’t illicit a response beyond distant study and a faint glimmer of hope.


As two titans witness the cyclical and unrepentant reality of life on a pavement island they eventually fall into an alternate world of the past returning to haunt them and their future exploding before their eyes.


Writer Grek Pak is joined by artists Jae Lee and Ben Oliver for one of the most exciting introductions into the New 52 since its inception. Batman/Superman brings together the two behemoths of the DC universe and show their initial interactions before the formation of the Justice League and before the bond of Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne that has been at the centre of DC’s continuity. The opposing avenues of thought that ultimately feed the same outcome (justice triumphant) rival each other at the core of the friendship between the two characters and Greg Pak’s scripting celebrates this in astounding fashion. Featuring conflicting narratives, Batman/Superman charts the separate monologues of both warriors, displaying each character with a raw honesty. Pak’s voice, channelled through both tent poles of the industry, is unique, confident, understanding and exciting. It is very refreshing, especially currently in the New 52, to read characterizations of Superman that aren’t unnecessarily dark or broody and that make sense in contrast to heroes like Batman and I’m glad to say that the representation of Superman in this new Pak title is everything that makes the Big Blue Boy Scout the humanitarian that works so perfectly as a foil to the Dark Knight in the first place. Besides his ability to harness the best qualities of the Bat and the Last Son of Krypton, Pak has developed a deeply enveloping and excellent story that will hopefully become one of the new ‘must follow’ titles of the new 52. This book’s release also comes with the news that Greg Pak will be taking over Action Comics and after reading this first issue I will for sure be following his stories in one of my favorite titles in all of comics (since the departure of Morrison and subsequent creative team struggles I have had to remove the book from my subscriptions) and I couldn’t be happier to return.


Initially the solicitation of Jae Lee on this title was met with scepticism on my part simply because of my over protective and sensitive reaction to everything Superman (HEY! Shutup, You) and my belief that Lee’s style would be too sinister or jagged when dealing with Supes. Obviously I recognized Lee’s insane talent and masterful layouts but I was still nervous that it would be another attempt to make Superman “badass”. I am so happy to look through this first issue and the rest of Jae Lee’s previews and report that his drawings of Kent are astounding in their innocence and affection and  when his transformation to Superman takes place it is an excellent treat to witness.


I picked up Batman/Superman issue one and was disappointed to see that there were two artists on the book because I assumed that it was another point of a DC book not being finished in time for its solicit however again my scepticism was quelled quickly. Ben Oliver handles the pencils on the last third of the book and his appearance (another brilliant talent over in the DC universe) is one that appears seamlessly in regard to the story and compliments Jae Lee’s work incredibly well. Batman/Superman issue one is a comic that excels at all avenues of creation and its incredible interior artwork is a very welcome addition to the New 52 line of Superhero titles.


Batman/Superman is a title that has been handled expertly by the like of Jeph Loeb, Judd Winick and many more and this new version by the team of Ben Oliver, Greg Pak and Jae Lee will surely be an unforgettable addition to the long line of stories involving the two leaders of the Justice League.

Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician, podcaster and Wednesday Warrior

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