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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Superman/Batman #27

Superman/Batman #27

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 21, 2006

Cover date: August 2006

Writer: Mark Verheiden
Penciller: Kevin Maguire
Inker: Kevin Maguire


Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

The place: Earth-2. The time: before the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. The Ultra-Humanite has trapped Superman and Batman's minds into the bodies of Power Girl and the Huntress. The two must find where the Ultra-Humanite has hidden their bodies or Power Girl and the Huntress' personalities will assert themselves and both Superman and Batman will cease to exist.

5Story - 5: You get the feeling this story was supposed to be published about three or so months ago?

That's not meant as a slam against DC or any of the creative folk on the book but considering how this story played out and especially with how it ended I can't shake the feeling that this was either supposed to be published the month before One Year Later or the month that One Year Later started. It would have played out nicely if it was put out the month before considering the last page of Power Girl and Supergirl suiting up as Nightwing and Flamebird.

No matter when the book was supposed to be published this was an excellent story and a great way to kick off Mark Verheiden's run on the book. It also fits nicely into the tradition of having an off-beat story to bridge the big story-arcs. Last issue doesn't really count because of the very nature of the story. This issue fits in the mold of telling a Superman/Batman story from another perspective.

As a fan of the concept of Earth-2 I was very happy with this issue. In many ways it fit into the world that Gerry Conway, Paul Levitz and Roy Thomas firmly established in their work on All-Star Comics, All-Star Squadron and Infinity Inc. while definitely working from a contemporary perspective. Mark Verheiden showed a knack for taking older concepts and making them work in today's marketplace during his run on Superman, so this really wasn't much of a surprise. The plot was strong and while it may not have been original the dialogue and characterization more than made it seem fresh. The Superman and Batman of this story felt like the Superman and Batman of Earth-2 even if they were trapped in the bodies of their cousin and daughter respectively.

I also enjoyed Verheiden's take on the Ultra-Humanite. It's easy to forget that the Ultra-Humanite actually pre-dates Lex Luthor as a Superman villain. The Humanite, in his original human form, made his first appearance in Action Comics #13 while Luthor first faced off against Superman ten issues later in Action #23. At first the Humanite was a bald scientist trapped in a wheelchair before he transferred his consciousness into the body of movie star Dolores Winters. I always dug the giant simian body myself because it separated him from the rest of the villains that the Justice Society and Superman fought. The personality that Verheiden infused into the character was one of a being who had been around for a very long time and had learned the mistakes of his fellow super-villains.

This issue was a lot of fun. It had all of the elements that a good Earth-2 story should have and played around with some toys that had been nearly forgotten for over twenty years. Verheiden even managed to squeeze Solomon Grundy into the mix, which was a real treat. Part of me wishes that we could get more stories like this one but I also realize that while this was a fond look back that era is gone. Luckily Verheiden, along with Ethan Van Sciver, will be starting the new era of this series next issue and it looks to be a fun ride.

5Art - 5: I've written in past reviews about what a fantastic artist Kevin Maguire is. There are few artists working in comics today that can match the sheer amount of character he puts into his artwork. This issue was no exception and I was truly impressed by his efforts. While I liked his character designs and the creepiness that was Brain Wave it was his ability to draw Power Girl and the Huntress with Superman and Batman's body language that won me over. You could tell just by looking at them that they weren't Power Girl or the Huntress and that is to be commended. The only minor complaint I had about the issue was the fact that he didn't draw the right symbol on Superman's chest but with the artwork being as good as it was I'm going to just let that one go. It's such a minor quibble that I almost didn't mention it but my fannish nature didn't allow for such a thing.

4Cover Art - 5: Well, if you want to get a reader's attention Power Girl and her chest are the way to do it. Ethan Van Sciver turned in a gorgeous cover that was admittedly cheesecake but at the same time it was good cheesecake so what is there to complain about? Both Power Girl and the Huntress had distinctive looks. Van Sciver is an excellent artist and I look forward to his work on the interiors of this book starting next issue.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2006

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