I will most certainly be SPOILING!
An odd opening awaits we intrepid readers in Batman/Superman #9. Instead of opening on the combat in the control room of Gamorra’s lab or the infiltration attempt by Huntress and Superman from last issue, we witness a phone call. Superman is ringing up Hiro, the Toymaster. He is asking for some help from the former villain who seems more interested in marketing than and profit than saving the world.
Now we get to see how Superman is faring with his kryptonite ring around his neck, suppressing the nannites that are setting his powers beyond his control. One of the security guards, seeing the
glowing ring, engages the duo and successfully gets the deadly alien rock off of the man of steel. The kryptonian boy scout immediately begins to burst with energy, destroying the ground beneath him and falling into crevice below. Helena Wayne grabs the super hero’s only hope of stabilizing and dives after him.
Powergirl and Batman can’t seem to get their attacks right, with Kara trying to protect the seemingly defenseless Batman, and Bruce trying to get her as far away from the portal that is opening into her alternate Earth as possible. During the fight, Batman begins to remember meeting Earth 2’s Superman; an older more arrogant, and according to Bruce, more threatening Superman.
Huntress has to struggle with Superman, and his struggle to give up his power, but eventually convinces him to put the kryptonite back on. He, too, begins to remember an older, darker Batman, but can’t seem to remember how he had met him. A statement from the Man of Steel is illuminating as to the guilt that motivates him:
“I’m kryptonian. On a good, sunny day, I can do anything. So every day, whatever happens, it’s kind of always my fault.”
Back in Kaizen Gamorra’s lab, the portal is almost open and it is taking it’s toll on Powergirl. The portal is activated just as Toymaster’s delivery shows up, a robotic suit built to protect Superman and those around him from the nannites and the product of their interference. Everyone wants Clark to lose the potal but not to destroy the machines that created it. Powergirl wants her doorway home to remain an option and Batman fears what would happen if they destroyed it.
With few options, Superman tells his adaptable suit to close the portal by expanding and filling it. The order is too much for the suit, and it can no longer keep Superman disconnected from the nano machines, which immediately trigger his powers, blowing him out of the suit entirely. Together again at last, Batman and Superman discuss other world they both seem to remember, but only in bits. They shout a warning to their alt world relatives, demanding they stay away from the portal.
The final page is one large panel, ominous and beautiful. Huntress and Powergirl look up into the portal, just wanting to go home, and glimpsing the silhouette of a demolished cityscape beyond.
I have to say I am a little disappointed in this installment of First Contact. Each threat seems trivialized and each solution seems almost comically contrived. Even Kaizen Gamorra, the villain that was the most interesting part of this event, is forgotten in the aftermath of the portal opening. The best things going for this issue was both the art and the enigmatic and nebulous memories of both Batman and Superman. With the portal open, and the destroyed landscape in sight, I wonder what the connection between worlds will mean for the four heroes.
My rating: 3.5 / 5