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Superman/Batman #11

Superman/Batman #11

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 14, 2004

Cover date: August 2004

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciller: Michael Turner
Inker: Michael Turner

"The Supergirl From Krypton" - Part Four: "Prisoner"

Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

In the suburbs of Connecticut Barda of the New Gods, who has been living in relative seclusion with her husband Scott Free, opens the door to find Superman and Wonder Woman standing on her front porch. She is taken aback, but invites them in, acknowledging one of her shocked neighbors as she closes the door. Barda receives another surprise when she finds Batman standing in her living room. The astonishment fades quickly as Barda realizes that with Batman she shouldn't be surprised at anything. She apologizes for her husband not being able to join them. She explains that Scott is on the road doing his escape artist thing. Wonder Woman tells her that they appreciate the help, which Barda shrugs off. She asks that they give her a minute to get ready before they leave; leading Superman to tell her that he will not allow her to join them. Barda informs him that it is her Mother Box and her Boom Tube and that she wouldn't let him leave her behind like the last time they fought Darkseid.

Superman begins to argue the point with Barda when Wonder Woman asks to have a word with him. Meanwhile Batman catches Barda's attention by going through some of her husband's possessions. Batman tells her that he needs to borrow some of Scott's equipment and as she goes into the next room to get changed Barda agrees. Wonder Woman tries to reason with Superman, but he is convinced that Wonder Woman is partly responsible for his cousin Kara being kidnapped and taken to Apokolips. Superman is convinced that if Kara had been under his watch events would have unfolded differently. Wonder Woman counters by saying that not only was Kara happy on Paradise Island but that she lost warriors and Harbinger had given her life to try and protect Kara. Superman won't hear of it and points out that they wouldn't even be having this conversation if it was Donna Troy or Jason Todd that had been taken. Batman breaks them up telling him that unlike the two heroes Superman mentioned Kara isn't dead.

Suddenly Barda enters the room in full battle regalia and tells them that it is time to take Darkseid down. She watches as the three heroes look away from each other and realizes that her manner of entrance may not have been the best one to make.

The four heroes travel via Boom Tube to Apokolips. Wonder Woman comments that it smells like death before Superman tells them that they know their jobs, but makes it clear that Kara is coming with him. Batman adds that he wants to make it clear that everyone goes home, so he should be prepared. Superman takes to the air as Batman boards the anti-gravity device he borrowed from Scott Free. The two men fly off leaving Barda to ask if Superman knows what he is getting himself into. Wonder Woman replies that despite the fact that she has known him for years she is just not sure.

As the two women make their way across the barren landscape Barda admits that Wonder Woman has always been something of an inspiration to her. Wonder Woman tries to stop her, but Barda goes on to say that when someone brings hope to another person it is a gift. Before she can go on Mad Harriet, Lashina, Stompa and Gillotina approach with Mad Harriet telling Barda that she will die where she was born. Gillotina adds that Barda should not have come back, though she does look forward to having another chance to kill her. Barda gives Wonder Woman some last minute advice before the battle begins.

Barda and Wonder Woman are flanked by the Furies. Wonder Woman deflects Lashina's attack, but fails to notice Stompa sneaking up on her. Barda throws her staff, impaling Stompa and saving Wonder Woman. Mad Harriet attacks Wonder Woman crying for vengeance as Lashina manages to get through Barda's defenses. Wonder Woman manages to put Harriet down but Gillotina draws her attention and shows her that they have Barda and if she doesn't surrender Barda dies. Granny Goodness arrives as Wonder Woman weighs her options. Granny is pleased and tells her Furies that she would much rather possess the Queen of the Amazons than some girl who fell to Earth.

Meanwhile Batman travels along the Apokoliptian landscape thinking about the fact that he doesn't belong there and that his place is in Gotham City. Suddenly he is spotted by two members of the Dog Cavalry, riding their mammoth Demon Dogs. Batman uses the Mother Box and other gear that he borrowed from Mister Miracle to escape and manages to lose the dogs. With Mother Box's help he finds what he had been looking for; the Hellspores. Batman thinks about the fact that one of them could blow a hole to the core of a planet leaving a fire pit and that he is surrounded by at least five hundred of them. Suddenly the Dog Cavalry breaks in sending Hellspores flying. As one of the Demon Dogs bites down and takes Batman into its mouth Batman tells Scott Free that he hopes he has one more miracle for him.

Elsewhere Superman comes under attack by a squad of armored sky riders. They bombard him with heavy fire, but he walks through it without harm. As Superman heads towards Darkseid's throne room he thinks to himself about the fact that no matter what action he takes it will be justified because Kara is part of his family. He finds her and Darkseid and is informed by the dark lord that Kara is free to leave if that is what she desires. Superman tells Kara that he doesn't know what Darkseid has done to her the nightmare is over and that she is safe now.

Darkseid agress that she is safe now, but Superman ignores him. He speaks to her in Kryptonian and tells her she will always be safe with him. He takes her by the hand and informs Darkseid that after Kara is home they have unfinished business. Kara grabs Superman's hand and informs him that he didn't listen to what Darkseid has told him. She punches him hard and tells him that he doesn't listen to any voice but his own. Superman is stunned and convinced that Darkseid has corrupted her. She follows the punch with a vicious kick, saying that Darkseid said she was free to go if he wanted to. Superman tells her he can't and won't fight her, but this doesn't stop her from knocking him into the floor. As she stands over Superman, her eyes blazing red, Darkseid orders her to kill him.

5Story - 5: I would like to say that the end of this issue was unexpected, but it wasn't. I had figured this would happen at some point in the story. But just because it was expected and that I was fairly sure that the story was going to head in this direction (especially with all of the art that DC has leaked in the past few months) that doesn't mean that it was any less dramatic or that it wasn't a good issue.

The opening of this issue shows that Loeb can handle the little character bits just as well as the inner dialogue and the big action scenes. Barda's reaction to Superman and Wonder Woman showing up on her front porch was funny and harkened back to the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League era when Barda and Mister Miracle wanted to live a quiet, normal, suburban life. Her reaction to Batman's appearance in her living room was expected, but still amusing. The addition of Barda was a good choice to the story and Loeb used her well, especially with the quiet moment she had with Wonder Woman.

Batman was his normal, distrusting self this time out. There wasn't all that much of him in this issue, but he served his purpose. I am interested in seeing how Loeb pays off Batman's reaction to the comment Superman made about Jason Todd.

Wonder Woman was played nicely as well. I enjoyed the interaction she had with Barda. The quiet moment I mentioned before was a good display of how humble Wonder Woman really is. It's the duality of the character coming through. She wants her message (the peace, love and happiness message, not the "I may be hot but I can kick your ass" message) to inspire people but she herself is uncomfortable with people looking to her as a source of inspiration because she feels that the message is more important than she is.

Superman walked away with this issue. Loeb is hitting just the right beats with how Superman is dealing with this situation and the fact that his friends have been obstacles in his cause. There are those that believe that Superman should be infallible; always making the right decision and never making a mistake. To me that viewpoint makes the character boring and limited. The thing about this story is that we are seeing Superman at a point in his life where he wants something so badly that he may be in denial about the truth of the situation.

Kara is probably his cousin. I'm willing to put money on the issue. She's from Krypton and I think that's pretty cool. I have no problem with the fact that DC may be returning to the days when Superman was not the sole survivor of the planet Krypton. What Loeb seems to be doing is re-introducing the concept but throwing in the spin that a) Kara might not be the weak willed, "I have to bow to the whims of my cousin who just because he's been at this a little longer he can boss me around" character she was before and b) she may be the older one chronologically who was sent to Earth to take care of Kal-El. Whatever the case Superman wants some blood family so bad that he is acting overbearing and I can see how this would piss Kara off and worry his friends.

But I would like to make it very clear that I thought it was really great when he looked at everyone in the room and not only told them that he blamed them for what happened to Kara but also made the comparison to Jason Todd and Donna Troy. Awesome. Totally awesome. It was great to see Superman blow up and say what might be considered the wrong thing with the people involved.

And it speaks volumes for Darkseid as a character that he just sits on a throne and still is one of the most evil creatures in the universe.

Overall the story has remained consistently entertaining and the characterization and action have been balanced well. I am looking forward to seeing how this ends.

5Art - 5: Turner is the man.

Let me write that again.

Turner is the man.

Why is Turner the man?

Turner is the man because he can draw a simple living room scene and pack it with plenty of detail and then several pages later he does this beautiful shot of Apokolips.

Turner is the man because he gives Superman and Batman their own looks and still retains the iconic feel of the characters.

Turner is the man because he can draw tech really, really well.

Turner is the man because he is one of the few artists I have seen draw Big Barda and make her and her armor look damn good.

Turner is the man because the Female Furies are actually kind of scary when he handles them.

Turner is the man because his Darkseid is just plain EVIL looking.

Turner is the man because he draws the Fourth World of Jack Kirby without losing his own style in the process.

Turner is the man because he knows how to pace a comic and when to do a page with a bunch of panels and then pull back for the wide shot.

And why is Peter Steigerwald the man?

Because he colors Turner's art and gives it that final oomph that makes this some of the best art in comics today.

4Cover Art - 4: This was a really nice cover. The composition made it pleasing to the eye with Darkseid looming in the corner, Wonder Woman in an action pose, Superman engulfed in shadows with only his symbol, heat vision and tattered cape visible and Batman in what appears to be an Elvis pose. I can see someone who doesn't normally read the book looking at this cover and wanting to give the book a shot.

This cover gets a 9 on the "Grab Me" Meter.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2004

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