Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Book of the Week 3/19/08 Superman/Batman Annual #2

Written by Joe Kelly
Art by Scott Kolins
Colors by Jorge Molina
Letters by Rob Leigh

It's always fun to truly be inspired by the characters we all read every month. All too often these characters can become bogged down in boring, slow, or meaningless stories that do nothing to remind us why we like them (Flash anyone?). Superman routinely falls within this category. However when teamed together Superman and Batman prove to be a pitch perfect peanut butter and chocolate. The two ends of the spectrum that each occupies serves not only to provide insight into how different each is (and also how alike) but also potentially how they need eachother. Without one, the other would eventually fall into an abyss whether it be Supermans willingness to forgo living among the people that keep him grounded and becoming a tool for the government (Dark Knight Returns) or Batman forgoing his Bruce Wayne persona and giving into his psychosis fully (Kingdom Come). For this reason, I'm glad that we have this book which showcases the inspiration not only other heroes look to but also any superhero comic fan.

This annual does not belong in continuity so if people are strong fanatics for that, they may be frustrated trying to figure out when this happens. This is a story that takes place after Superman and Batman figure who eachother are but before they are friends. This annual is a re-imagining of the forging of that friendship. A villain (Socrates) who can basically maim and rob victims by psychologically altering their perspective as well as fulfilling their wishes and fears robs Superman of his powers. A powerless Superman asking himself if he really is still "super" is not an incredibly new concept but that doesn't discount that this story provides a fun and insightful look into Bruce and Clark both learning to respect eachother and how eachother operates. Bruce with the help of Dick Grayson help Clark cast off his mental shackles and defeat the villain.

Joe Kelly is no stranger to the "inspirational" story. Kelly wrote "The Last Will and Testament of Hal Jordan". That tale is still one of my favorite Hal stories which looked at both the good and bad within the character of Hal (before Johns made the excuse that he was just possessed). He seems to have a great handle on the DC icons and their relationships with eachother.

Kolins art is good in this issue with the exception of one thing. Batmans cowl looks too much like a bucket and therefore gives Batman a robocop type of look. Other than that I really enjoyed the look of the characters, especially Robin. Molinas colors seemed a bit dark in this book. Even though alot of this book takes place in the batcave, this book seemed to ring a little close to Ultimates 3.

All in all I really enjoyed this book for what it is, a re-imagining of the early days of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight. I wouldn't want to live in a world without either of them.

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