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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman/Batman

Superman/Batman #61

Superman/Batman #61

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 17, 2009

Cover date: August 2009

"Mash-Up" - Part 2

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

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Lex Joker assembles his team of villains, which consists of Doomstroke, Brainycat, Penguello, Jimmy Two-Face, The Ventrilomaker and Lana Quinn, and announces the name for their little gang is Brotherhood of Injustice. They discuss the betrayal planned for the Justice Titans at the hands of Terranado and how once this Superman and Batman are taken off the playing field no one will ever be able to stop them again.

Meanwhile at Justice Titans Tower Batman announces that the world he and Superman are currently residing in is nothing but a dream. Later he catches Terrnanado coming back into the Tower and informs her that even though this is a dream he will not allow Terra to hurt the Titans. The Brotherhood attacks and the Titans fight back. During the battle Batman "unmasks" Lex Joker as John Dee, a.k.a. Doctor Destiny and reveals that the world they inhabit is Destiny's creation using Superman and Batman as spring boards and then mashing up the people in their lives. Using his bat-line the Dark Knight knocks over the statue of Ravanna, which Batman reasons is the key to Destiny's current machinations.

Bruce suddenly wakes up with Zatanna brining him breakfast in bed. He convinces her of the unreality of the situation and she finally breaks them out of Destiny's control. Superman has a similar albeit less friendly encounter with Raven, but manages to convince her that it is all a dream and Clark wakes up with a start in his own bed. Batman and Superman meet soon after and discuss the encounter with Dr. Destiny. Superman is concerned that John Dee might have discovered something while poking around their heads but Batman assures him that Dee had been in a coma since the night he attacked them. Later at Arkham Asylum a nurse gives John his nightly shot and before drifting off to sleep he mumbles the words, "Bruce Kent..."

4Story - 4: I was shocked at how good the ending to this story was. In a weird way it reminded me of a really good episode of JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED, which is odd for an issue of this title.

I mean sure there was no shock or surprise that Terranado betrayed her teammates and I think Green and Johnson were stretching things with the villain amalgamations but overall it was a neat way to close down this two-part story. I did not see the revelation of Dr. Destiny being the ultimate bad guy coming, which made the reveal that much better. I had no idea where the story was going and was a little nervous that it was going to end on a flat note but Destiny's involvement turned everything around.

I also dug the fact that Green and Johnson didn't end the story at the revelation. There were two little feints that made for a more satisfying conclusion. The Bruce/Zatanna scene was better, but that was because it seemed more like a dream Bruce and/or Zatanna would have wanted to stick with. The Superman/Raven scene seemed more like a throwaway idea, but it worked just the same.

The tag at the end where Destiny said the name Bruce Kent was a great way to cap off the story and fed into the overall feeling like this should have been an episode of JLU. I could almost hear the creepy music that would have been played as he trailed off into unconsciousness muttering, "Bruce Kent," over and over again.

In the end I found that letting go a lot of the baggage I had regarding this series let me enjoy the last two issues more than I normally would have. In all honesty the monthly grind of coming into every issue thinking that I was going to hate it made me very, very weary. I can't say that I will love everything that is going to come down the pike but I am going to try to keep more of an open mind and enjoy the stories on their own merits rather than what I want to see in the series.

Fingers crossed on that.

4Art - 4: Manapul once again delivered on the art. While I enjoyed the amalgamations visually (especially Penguello, which was just creepy) his story telling was very clear throughout the issue. The pacing was solid and the facial expressions really brought the characters to life, especially Terranado when she was trying to play innocent with Batman. Another moment where Manapul came through was the Bruce/Zatanna scene. You could see the hurt in her eyes and how much she wanted the dream to be real. It was moments like this that made this issue as good as it was.

3Cover Art - 3: Superman and Batman looked a bit funky on this cover. It's like Manapul put all of his efforts into the other characters and kind of rushed through the two main characters. It's not a bad cover, but I just didn't care for it.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2009

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