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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman/Batman

Superman/Batman #60

Superman/Batman #60

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 20, 2009

Cover date: July 2009

"Mash-Up" - Part 1

Writer: Michael Green and Mike Johnson
Penciller: Francis Manapul
Inker: Francis Manapul

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Superman and Batman find themselves in a weird amalgamation of Gotham City and Metropolis. People and places are a combination of those that the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel are familiar with. After a brief skirmish with the Justice Titans the two confused heroes try to make heads or tails of the situation before an emergency involving Doomstroke calls the Titans away. After Superman and Batman enter that melee Doomstroke retreats and informs Lex Joker of the situation.

4Story - 4: That was really cool.

I'm serious too. This was a really good issue. I expected to hate it and want to burn the writers in effigy but as the story unfolded I found myself enjoying it on a number of levels.

For one thing it's fun. The "mashing up" of characters went over well, though I will admit that some of the names and concepts, such as Lex Joker, Hawk Beast and Aquaborg, were a little clunky or downright silly but others, such as Night Lantern and Donna Wonder, were kind of cool. The writers obviously had a great time coming up with the world the story is set in and it shows in their writing. There's an excitement and an intensity that made for a quick but enjoyable read.

I also liked Superman and Batman's reaction to finding themselves in this strange, new world. They're confused and want to know what's going on but at the same time they're not thrown off by the situation. Their reasoning that the Titans had probably experienced weirder as a means to convince the team that they were on the level was a nice touch.

Then there was Doomstroke. I'm on the fence about Doomstroke. On one hand I would have preferred that Doomsday get "mashed-up" with a Batman villain instead of a Titans villain. On the other hand it is an interesting concept. I don't know why a guy the size of Doomstroke would need a sword or guns but whatever.

As I was reading the issue I kept asking myself why I liked it so much when I have had nothing but horrendous things to say about others? The answer, I think, is the fact that this is so outlandish that I can accept it more than the obviously out of continuity, more "realistic" stories. I can buy Batman and Superman meeting tiny versions of themselves more than fighting a military strike force that is never heard from again. This could just as easily happen in the standard DCU than in this other reality that SUPERMAN/BATMAN inhabits. It also brings up the question of whether or not I am being too hard on this title and the answer to that is maybe but at the same time the stories I do like tend to have better writing than those that I don't and the writing this issue was very, very strong.

Who knows? Maybe I was dazzled by the creativity of creating a mix of Gotham and Metropolis and blinded by how neat some of the mash ups are.

5Art - 5: I LOVED the art in this issue. Superman and Batman looked fantastic and the designs on the alternate characters and setting were nothing short of impressive. Francis Manapul has such a sleek style that seems to lend itself to this sort of story and my hats off to him on jumping into the deep end with this story. I especially liked the small details, like the letters in the word "Mash-Up" being comprised of letters from the various logos of the characters and teams of the DCU. Then again I am a sucker for such things.

4Cover Art - 4: This is a very dynamic cover. Superman and Batman look great and I love the shot of the mashed up cities in Batman's cape. I cannot believe how much I like every aspect of this issue.

That feeling won't last, but I like it just the same.

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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