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Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Superman/Batman #57

Superman/Batman #57

Scheduled to arrive in stores: April 1, 2009

Cover date: June 2009

"Nanopolis" - Part One

Writer: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (plot), Mike Johnson (dialogue)
Penciller: Whilce Portacio
Inker: Richard Friend

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

After tracking down the Prankster to his hideout Superman falls into the villain's trap and is shrunk to microscopic size. Batman receives an emergency summons from Superman and tracks him down. He brings in John Henry Irons and they manage to find the shrunken Man of Steel, who has been exploring his surrounding with time passing much faster than it does for Batman and John. Realizing that not only is Superman is aging at an accelerated rate but also that he will be dead by the end of the day he has John shrink him down as well.

3Story - 3: Surprisingly I liked this issue.

No one was more astonished than I that the funny feeling I had after reading this issue was enjoyment and not complete and utter disgust. I did wonder how different things would have been if Abnett and Lanning had written the script as well as the plot, but overall I thought this was one of the few times where an older concept or at least an older sounding concept was retooled and it actually worked.

This story succeeded on a number of fronts. The confrontation between Prankster and Superman was enjoyable and reminded me that it has been a while since Superman chased down one of his rogues in either SUPERMAN or ACTION. As much as I am enjoying NEW KRYPTON there is this small part of me that misses the old school Superman versus a villain story. Hopefully we'll get a few of those after the current storyline finishes up sometime next year. The fact that it was the Prankster that led to Superman shrinking was nice as well. This is something that has been sadly missing from this title in particular. Usually when a Superman or Batman villain is brought into this title it is only to serve as cannon fodder for some obscure villain causing a ruckus. Add to that the mystery of where he got the machine and the story had my attention.

More than anything I liked seeing Superman in the nano-world. Again I was expecting to hate this story. H-A-T-E. So I had this feeling of bewilderment at the fact that I enjoyed the first half of the book that led into outright confusion at the fact that I was sucked into the nano-world scenes. The narration was solid, the diary was neat and there was such sense of awe and wonder to him flying around the subatomic structures. The splash page where he was surrounded by the water drops was just amazing and that had as much to do with the art as it had to do with the writing. Mike Johnson's dialogue made me feel a connection to Superman that I thought was impossible in this title. He thought the world he found himself in was beautiful and so did I. This is the kind of thing I want out of the comics I read, so it was nice to have that happen here.

I can't believe I am writing this but I am looking forward to the next issue. There is a distinct possibility that everything could fall apart but frankly I am going to hold out hope that it will be as good as this issue turned out to be.

No. Really. I think it's going to be good.

Yes, I am Michael Bailey and no I haven't done anything with him.

Can't a guy like a comic for goodness sake?

3Art - 3: It is amazing what can happen in nearly twenty years.

Back in 1991 when I was one of the three people on planet Earth reading the Superman books (at least that is what it felt like) Whilce Portacio was a Marvel artist and more importantly he was an X-Men artist, which afforded him a staggering amount of street cred with a certain type of comic book fan and when I write a certain type I really mean just about all of them. Back then I am fairly sure that if someone told me that at some point Whilce would not only produce art for DC but on a story with Superman and Batman in it I would have politely informed you that you were out of your darn mind.

It's not that I thought Whilce wouldn't be caught dead drawing for DC but it just didn't seem likely to me.

All in all I enjoyed his efforts here. I wasn't a big fan of the way he drew John Henry Irons as I always saw John as a man that stands six foot six and weighs two thirty five, kind of broad in the shoulder and narrow in the hip and frankly looked like a man that you just wouldn't give lip to. In this issue John looked like...well frankly he looked like it was supposed to be another character that they decided at the last minute should be John.

Other than that I was rather impressed. The scenes in the nano-world were particularly stunning and gave that scene the sense of grandeur and awe that it needed. I liked his take on Superman and the Prankster, but his Batman and Robin were a bit odd.

Neat looking but odd.

4Cover Art - 4: While this cover filled me a complete sense of dread because of my utter lack of faith in this series it is really neat looking. It is a nice composition and Superman looks just plain awesome.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

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