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Superman/Batman #5

Superman/Batman #5

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 2, 2004

Cover date: February 2004

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciller: Ed McGuinness
Inker: Dexter Vines

World's Finest (Part Five): "State of Siege"

Michael (George) O'Connor Reviewed by: Michael O'Connor

As news on the capture of Superman spreads across the world, Krypto the Superdog bursts into the White House. Not far behind him are Superboy, Supergirl, and Steel, who break into the White House and confront the guards head-on.

Meanwhile, Huntress, Robin, Batgirl, and Nightwing make use of the distraction caused by the Superfamily to silently creep into Lex Luthor's Oval Office where the President himself awaits them.

Superboy, Supergirl, and Steel have just cleared the White House's main hall when a steel trap springs from the walls, imprisoning Superboy and Supergirl and subjecting them to Kryptonite radiation.

Back in Luthor's office, the Batfamily learns that Luthor is still waiting on Hawkman and Captain Marvel to bring in the captured Superman and Batman just before an odorless nerve gas sends the heroes crumpling to the floor. Nightwing lasts the longest, but his disoriented state makes him an easy target for Luthor, who pummels him mercilessly with his fists.

Meanwhile, in another place and another space, Captain Atom blinks into existence and soon deduces that the blast he had been subjected to in Tokyo must have throttled him forward in time. Sitting before him is a much older version of Superman (the Kingdom Come Superman who last appeared in Superman/Batman #2) and he is sitting in Metron's chair.

The older Superman explains to Captain Atom that they are on Earth, albeit it an Earth that has felt the catastrophic impact of an asteroid. Superman explains that he attempted to prevent this from happening by visiting the past but failed in his mission. Captain Atom refuses to believe they've been bested just yet.

Back in the White House, guards descend on Steel, who has been futilely trying to break Superboy and Supergirl out of their spherical prison. But before the guards can finish aiming their weapons, a Hawk shield spins through the air, disarming them. Hawkman rushes forward a moment later and bashes his enemies with his large mace and then proceeds to pick the lock of Superboy and Supergirl's prison. Steel steps back in shock at Hawkman's suddenly more subtle approach, only to learn moments after she has been reunited with her Super allies that the Hawkman standing before her is not really Hawkman.

In the Oval Office, Luthor is prattling on to himself, mania in his eyes. A blur interrupts him, and when he looks up again, he realizes that his defeated foes have all suddenly disappeared.

What has appeared, however, is a large figure in red and yellow. In silhouette, Captain Marvel approaches, enraging Luthor when he aggressively hoists the bald man into the air. Ripping the lightning bolt off of Marvel in protest, Luthor is shocked to see the 'S' shield and Superman staring back at him.

Superman explains what has happened in a quick monologue: He and Batman allowed Hawkman and Captain Marvel to think they had bested them in order to give Katana and Power Girl the time and opportunity to track down the boy in Tokyo. At the first chance, the two heroes bested their captors and disguised themselves as them in order to approach the White House without incident.

Batman joins Superman inside the Oval Office a moment later as the Man of Steel wavers on what to do next. Ultimately, he hurls Luthor to the ground and escapes with Batman and their respective "families."

Luthor dusts himself off with a mad gleam in his eyes. As he injects a green serum into his blood stream, Lex begins piecing together his armor, outfitting himself for a final confrontation against the World's Finest.

To Be Concluded...

3Story - 3: One major problem with this story: Why leave Luthor after they've gone through all this trouble to confront him? It just doesn't make any sense. At least find somewhere to keep him imprisoned to keep him out of power! What about keeping him in the Fortress of Solitude, for instance? So long as he runs the Presidency, Superman and Batman are targets... unless they left him for a reason... we'll just have to find out next issue. What concerns me, however, is that all the loose ends in this story and the ones before it won't get tied up by the end of next issue. Let's go over some of them. First, what is this Kryptonite meteor and how are Superman and Batman going to deal with it? Second, why is the world (or at least the United States) uniting behind Luthor to arrest Superman? How can they possibly think it's Superman's fault after he's saved the world so many times? Third, who is this boy in Tokyo and what does he have to do with anything? Fourth, is Luthor going insane? And why? Fifth, what's the whole deal with the Kingdom Come Superman? Sixth, how did Superman and Batman defeat Captain Marvel and Hawkman? That's a lot of questions to answer in one issue, especially when not a lot of 'story' happens in most issues. The emphasis, so far, has really been on giving the art the room it needs, which means big panels taking up a lot of space. It's been a rollercoaster ride so far, but there hasn't been much of the carefully constructed, ingenious narrative that writer Jeph Loeb is known for.

4Art - 4: Good stuff throughout the whole issue. McGuinness' artistic interpretation of the Super and Bat families is terrific and the action shines as usual. Superman in the Captain Marvel costume is priceless and the whole confrontation with Luthor at the end is artistically tense even if it flails a little story-wise.

5Cover Art - 5: This one just screams "poster". It's simple, but it's perfect.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2004

February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004

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