Greg Pak, Jae Lee, Ben Oliver
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
The fact that Jae Lee is drawing my favorite characters is a dream come true. Much like the artwork of Ivan Reis, Jim Lee, Brett Booth, Greg Capullo, Tony Daniel, and countless others, this wonderful artist can sell a book simply based upon the pictures within its pages. And this book is no exception to that rule. I don’t mind the fact that I was less than excited about Greg Pak being the writer. I wasn’t upset at all when I realized “that Hulk guy” was going to be penning what should be the best-selling DC comic on the stands. And with the movie out this summer, what should be the best comic of any kind on the stands. So let me start about by saying, yes, I was going to love this comic no matter what, even if it was just to gush over the pencils and coloring. But it was a genuine surprise and thrill that I actually enjoyed the script as well.
I’m not going to spend this whole thing talking about the art because, well, it’s great and if you don’t think so, you’re wrong. The story is complex, but I knew it would be going into it. Clark Kent is chasing a lead on a string of murders of Bruce Wayne’s company men and confronts Bruce with this information. Now, their first meeting (because yes, this comic apparently takes place in the past) is not exactly what I expected. And I think that was part of why I liked it. Bruce is literally watching a kid get bullied and isn’t doing anything to stop it. Clark steps in, always the boy scout, and does what he claims Bruce should have done. The kid he “saves” flips him the bird, as Bruce explains that Gotham is much different from Metropolis, or “wherever you come from.” Which leads us to nighttime, where we get the first meeting between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel, interrupting a botched possessed-Catwoman murder attempt. The ensuing fight is nothing short of perfect. This is how comics are supposed to look. But then the story takes a little bit of a turn for the weird and shows Superman being transported to either the present, or the future, I’m not entirely sure, where Batman starts talking to him like they’re friends, which, apparently, because he’s from the past, they’re not. We get another cool fight, albeit with less than Jae Lee-standard artwork, and then a “twist” ending where we see the demon who possessed Catwoman in the past watching from who knows where as Clark stops beating the crap out of Bruce at the behest of… his father? What?
Needless to say, color me curious. I’m shocked at how good the dialogue of this issue was. Pak usually strikes me as way too wordy and at times, often preachy. But this issue was a welcome exception to his normal writing style. He seems to really “get” both Bruce and Clark and what makes them both tick. I wasn’t a fan of the art change (although, in retrospect, Ben Oliver is still a very good artist) and the actual story itself seems to be unnecessarily confusing, but hey, I’m hooked, so obviously the creative team is doing their job right. The artwork of the first half and the cover are worth the price tag alone. Treat yourself to a comic that will surely pick up more steam as it goes and get yourself a copy before it sells out.
My Rating: 4/5