Friday, March 25, 2016

Superman/Batman #1 (2003)

Superman/Batman #1 (October, 2003)
"The World's Finest"
Writes - Jeph Loeb
Pencils - Ed McGuinness
Inks - Dexter Vines
Colors - Dave Stewart
Letters - Richard Starkings
Associate Editor - Tom Palmer, Jr.
Editor - Eddie Berganza
Boy Wonder - Matt Idelson
Cover Price: $2.95

What's this I keep hearing about a movie coming out?  Superman and Batman are fighting over the Superhero Registration Act, you say?  Hmm... no?

All joking aside, I still haven't decided whether or not I'll see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  The wife is pretty excited for it, which somewhat surprised me... but, I'm really not so much a "movie" guy.  I can't remember the last time I darkened a theater.  It all just seems like a giant hassle... the cost, the crowds... makes my teeth itch just thinking of it.  You know, my mother used to tell me that I was "born an old man", she just may be right!

Not helping at all is the fact that I really didn't enjoy the last superhero comic adaptation I checked out.  It was way back in the spring of 2002.  I was the manager for a larger call center in town, and worked the night shift.

One morning as I was readying to head home, I noticed a curious package in my work-mailbox.  This is going to sound like something out of a crappy noir movie, but it was wrapped in nondescript brown paper... like someone took a lunch bag and made a package out of it.

I opened it up, and found inside two DVD-R discs and a post-it note that just read "enjoy!"

I asked around, and nobody knew anything about the discs.  I was curious, and honestly had no idea what these could be... Being the manager of a whole lot of late-adolescents and young adults I figured that maybe I pissed one of them off, and they were getting my back by giving me some sort of extreme pornography.

I did not have a DVD player that could play DVD-R discs, I only had my PlayStation 2 at this point.  I gave the discs to a buddy, and asked if he could check them out.  He told me he'd call me later on that day with the dirt.

Hours go by, and I haven't heard from my friend.  Finally, as I'm about to go to sleep for the day my phone rings.  I'll never forget the first thing he said...

"It's Spider-Man!"

This was about two-weeks before the movie was to hit theaters.

So, I jumped into a pair of pants... then into the car, and headed across town to his house to watch Spider-Man... and well, I hated it.  From then on, I've ignored every superhero movie that has been released.  So, if you head out to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice this weekend, I sincerely hope you enjoy it... If the wife can somehow drag my old ass out of the house to check it out, I'll letcha know.

Here's the humble blog's official-unofficial Batman v Superman tie-in, Superman/Batman #1 from 2003.

... never did find out who left those discs in my mailbox...


We open with a bit of a revisit of both Superman's and Batman's origins.  They are juxtaposed in such a way so that we may appreciate both their congruity and opposition to one another.  This is all well-trodden ground, featuring Superman being rocketed off Krypton and finding the light in his family, and Batman finding the dark when his family is taken from him.

Superman is conducting a patrol of the Metropolis skies when he observes a thick plume of black smoke emanating from S.T.A.R. Labs.  As he makes his approach to see what's up he is launched across the city to the "Times Square" looking part of Metropolis where he crashes into a large antenna.  On the video screens, we see sitting United States President, Lex Luthor officially announce his candidacy for re-election.

Whoa, like... death from above... bummer.
Superman expresses that he actually felt the shot that sent him flying.  As he heads back to S.T.A.R. he finds himself running straight into his Kryptonite-hearted foe, Metallo.  Superman wallops him into a nearby wall, exposing his more robotic facial features.  Metallo expresses that he means no harm.  He is not there to hurt or kill anybody.  He exposes his Kryptonite Heart and lays Superman out before taking his leave.

Perhaps Metallo would be interested in some of the fine products from todays "Interesting Ads"...
That night in a Gotham City cemetery, we join Batman as he does a little crime scene investigation work in regard to some very recent grave-robberies.  Superman swoops in and tells him of his recent run-in with Metallo.  This is the graveyard where John Corben (Metallo)'s human body was buried, and he feels there's a connection.

Moments later, Corben shows up with a coffin in tow.  Batman leaps into action before running afoul of one of Metallo's telescoping arms.  Superman steps in to save his partner, when Metallo fires a Kryptonite bullet into his chest.  Superman falls backwards into an open grave where he lay prone.

Batman drops into the grave to attempt to remove the bullet from his buddy's chest when Metallo transforms his arm into a scoop shovel and buries the World's Finest team alive.  Satisfied with a job well done, Metallo leaves with the coffin.

This is the kind of banter Superman and Batman should have!
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C. Lex Luthor has received intel in regard to an asteroid being on a collision course with Earth.  The asteroid is believed to have been a chunk of the planet Krypton that had traveled millions of miles into our galaxy.  He has assembled a team of heroes to deal with the threat, with the understanding that Superman is not to be informed.

The team of heroes is partially revealed, and includes Major Force and Captain Atom.  Five heroes remain in shadow, however, two are clearly Black Lightning and Green Lantern (John Stewart).  We are... [to be continued...]


You ever get the feeling like you're reading a modern classic?  That's how I felt (and feel) about this opening chapter of Superman/Batman.  You just get the feeling that something important is looming just out of view, and you can't wait to get there.

This is some of the best Loeb/McGuinness collaboration out there, and definitely worthy of a look.  This features a more cordial Clark and Bruce than I feel we're in for in the film.  These two are old friends, who perhaps never saw eye to eye as it pertains to their methodology, yet they have a bond and an incredibly respect for one another.  This is the "World's Finest" team that I like most.  I don't think they should ever come to blows.  Even if Batman can be a blowhard from time to time, I have a problem with a (non-mind controlled) Superman ever raising a fist to an ally... a friend.

Loeb's writing is wonderful here, minus the somewhat nonplussed "Uh... Guys... Death... From Above...!" we overheard from a civilian as the antenna fell.  Bruce and Clark's playful jabs at one another were a lot of fun, you get the feeling that they are always kind of trying to one-up one another.  It's fun, it's entertaining, and... it makes sense.

McGuinness' art, as always, is a treat.  Since his work on Superman (vol.2) he seems to have toned down his exaggeration of Supes' proportions, which... while I never had a problem with his "larger than life" rendition, I'll admit this looks a lot nicer.

Perhaps the only complaint I have about this issue is how quickly I was able to go through it.  I can't outright blame this on "decompression" as, although the book flew... it felt as though a lot of stuff happened.

Definitely recommended.  Even as a "single issue" guy, I'd urge interested folks toward the collected edition.  This was a huge story for its time, and its ramifications were felt long after its conclusion.  It feels as though the last several years of Superman titles were building toward this story in one way or another.  It's a satisfying read in single-issue format, though I'd imagine most would rather have the whole story (which is, definitely worth reading).

This issue is currently (March, 25) available to read digitally FOR FREE from DC's digital site.  No reason not to check this one out.  The entire collected edition is currently available digitally at a deep discount as well.  As always, if digital comics ain't yo thing... InStockTrades has both the trade paperback and the combo hardcover/blu-ray edition available for your convenience.


Interesting Ads (for your oily T-Zone):

Enjoy Dawn of Justice if you're going to see it, hopefully it was worth the wait!

1 comment:

  1. I loved that first issue and had high hopes for it. While the first arc was fun in lots of places, there were several head scratching moments in both villain selection and motivation. My main grip was putting so many characters in the series that really none of them got to do much. I would have loved this if were slowed down even MORE, which is saying a great deal. Loeb did get the dynamic between Bats and Supes correct, in my opinion, and this issue really showcased that aspect.


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