Wednesday, February 26, 2014

SPOILERS: Batman/Superman #8

So this is the first part of the Worlds' Finest crossover, and I have been wondering how I'm going to cover it, but luckily, after reading the first part, an answer was given to me: don't.

Short answer, I'm not going to cover this arc, I don't care for it. So what is this post? Well, that's the long answer. I have to post something, so I might as well talk about what happened and tell you why I'm not going to cover it in the traditional sense.

So from what I can gather about what's going on, for some reason Power Girl's powers are fluctuating due to nanobots, or something? So Helena Wayne goes to her alternate Batdaddy, looking for help, and it ultimately has something to do with Kaizen Gamorra, that guy from Wildstorm, who also appeared in Team 7, but no one read that book, so fuck continuity, and he's completely different here? Yeah, I don't know what's really going on, and that's the main problem.

This isn't a crossover, it's just continuation of the story in Worlds' Finest. Instead of a story that was created to bring readers of both titles in, this whole arc just takes its lead from the lesser of the two books. There's really no reason why this couldn't have been an issue of Worlds' Finest that just guest starred Batman and Superman, because the story utilizes nothing from this title other than the fact Batman and Superman are in it. This is a pretty large problem to me, because I once read Worlds' Finest, but found it fucking boring, and had to drop it some time ago... and from what I've heard, it's still the same story. So flash forward to this crossover, and it does nothing to make me feel like it's worth a read, because the title I regularly read, contributes nothing but it's characters to a story I don't care to read.

From page one, this issue is just a continuation of what I believe had to have happened in the previous issue of Worlds' Finest, Huntress gets captured by Batman? I'm assuming that's how Worlds' Finest #19 ended? I don't know, because I don't read that book, and if you're labeling this part one of the crossover involving a book I don't care for, like hell am I going to invest anything other than the minimum effort into this. From there on out, everything in this story is 100% Worlds' Finest plot and editor's boxes telling me to read past issues of that series or the annual... which is not going to happen. I don't know why anything in this book is happening, and that's because it's all Worlds' Finest, no Batman/Superman.

Again, the problem is that this story doesn't utilize the volume of Batman/Superman anymore than the characters simply being there. It's as if DC approached this crossover from reverse... Usually they'll take a struggling book (and with Worlds' Finest just hovering over 20k in sales, it's at that point) and pair it with a more popular title to create an artificial bump that won't last. Hooray two months of better sales, only to drop again the following month... but okay, whatever... The problem here is the lead book isn't the lead book.

I can't stress it enough, this crossover just offers nothing to readers of Batman/Superman who aren't readers of Worlds' Finest, and does little to convince otherwise. So if you're like me, a reader of Batman/Superman and not Worlds' Finest, I suggest you just pass, and pick the book back up in April after the crossover is done. There's nothing here for us, this is a story entirely focused on Worlds' Finest, and that's it. Unfortunate this title had to get wrapped in, because aside from DC probably wanting to increase sales, I don't see any reason why it couldn't have just been a self contained arc of Worlds' Finest simply guest starring Batman and Superman.

A few random notes before I wrap this up... Ultimately, this was a story that needed to be told, and I wanted it to be told, but after about six issues of Worlds' Finest, I hoped it would be told without Levitz, and not in the way it turned out. Worlds' Finest is like going to a froyo shop, filling your cup with vanilla, and skipping all toppings, going straight to pay. It's just boring, and nothing is going to make me yawn more about Power Girl's powers malfunctioning and some Wildstorm character DC is trying to make me care about, again.

Then there's an issue that I've generally had with this series, and that's how Pak writes Batman and Superman. It's not all bad, but there's just something about it that I have a hard time putting to words, which just bugs the shit out of me. Batman and Superman don't seem like friends, at all. While the way Pak writes Superman in Action Comics is consistent here, Clark leaps into action headfirst, eager to help... but here, it just leads to Batman treating Superman as if he was a child, and he just comes off as a total asshole because of it, and not in the good, dry-witted Batjerk sort of way. All Batman seemingly does in this book is tell Superman not to be stupid and act without thinking, but it's always left at that, and Bruce never has a plan of his own, other than being a dick. Again, I'm okay with Batman being a dick, but there needs to be reason for it; he needs to be a dick, then shove it in our face and show why he was right, but often, he's just got nothing to show in this title.

Take for instance the scene that ends this issue, Power Girl is overloading and going to blow up or something, so she goes into the sky to avoid casualties, and Superman gives chase. Batman just radios to Superman, telling him to stop and the risk isn't worth it... Okay, and theeeeennn? That's it! It's just Batman telling Superman to let Power Girl die. That's it. Nothing else. Do you see what I'm getting at when I say Batman comes off poorly in this title?

I think Pak has a good handle on Superman, but often not on Batman and his friendship with Superman. Perhaps it's just because this is the New 52, and things have to be different for whatever reason. Pak's depiction of Earth 2 Superman and Batman was great, but I think he just goes too far the opposite direction with our Superman and Batman. The way they act would be okay if it was still early in their relationship, but it's not, and I feel like it' would be easy to expect their relationship would have improved over time... but they still don't seem like friends at all in the present day.

So ultimately, after all that, I spent way more time writing about this issue than I intended to. There's a lot I don't like about this, but first and foremost, it's the fact that I just don't care. Thus, I'm not going to review this issue. I thought it was ultimately an okay issue, but given my lack of investment in the story, it would be unfair for me to put a number rating on it, and then do the same next month. So that's it, I'm not going to cover the next part of this story at all. See you in April when we're back to stories that don't depend on books I don't care for.

1 comment :

  1. I agree completely with your views on how Batman is portrayed in Batman/Superman. Greg Pak is obviously a good writer, and he really does a good job writing Superman, but I don't think he's a very good Batman writer. I know Batman has been overexposed recently, but I'm still kinda bummed his only role in the big teamup books like this and Justice League has been "ineffectual authority figure".