Batman (vol.3) #37 (February, 2018)
“SuperFriends, Part 2”
Script – Tom King
Artist – Clay Mann
Special Thanks – Seth Mann
Colorist – Jordie Bellaire
Letterer – Clayton Cowles
Assistant Editor – Maggie Howell
Editor – Jamie S. Rich
Cover Price: $2.99
Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody! What better way to spend the day… well, besides being with the one you love… than reading about the World’s Finest Double Date?
This is the third Valentine’s Day we’re celebrating at the humble blog… if you’re still in a lovey-dovey mood after reading this, feel free to check out the discussions for 2016 and 2017 by clicking a cover below!
Totally unrelated, but… this is the first time I’m discussing a post-post-Rebirth book here on the site. I was surprised to see that DC has done away with “cover dates”. I mean, the dates are still there in the indicia… but, no longer on the cover. I gotta wonder if this has anything to do with all of the insane delays over the past several months. Marvel did the exact same thing around the turn of the century, and the prevailing internet “wisdom” was that they had done so to hide how late their books were coming out.
Anyhoo… that’s neither here nor there, just something that stuck out to me because it messed with my “process”.
Onward to the tunnel of love…
We open at the Gotham City Fair… and, wouldn’tcha know it, it’s Super Hero Night! The Kents and (soon to be) Waynes arrive for an evening of fun… unfortunately, they did so in their civvies. They’re sent away until they comply with the “dress code”. Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if… Bruce and Clark swapped superhero costumes?
Well, they’re going to do it anyway.
Lois and Selina also trade clothes… which, doesn’t completely work for the story… but we’re not going to let that stop us. Selina gets in the geek’s face an meows until he lets her in. Couldn’t she have just done that three pages ago?
Anyhoo, now we’re inside… and, Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if… they all stand around acting all mundane eating corndogs?
Well, they’re gonna do it anyway. They’re gonna share some unnatural dialogue too.
It’s here that Superman speaks… and I get this odd sense of deja vu. He’s speaking in ellipses and “y’know”s… did I write this?
Onward to the Tunnel of Love, for real. Lois and Clark share a nice moment where they enjoy each other’s company… Bruce and Selina mount each other.
Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if… a guy in a Superman costume was getting it on in the Tunnel of Love?
Next stop, the Batting Cages… which we’ll be coming back to later. It’s here that Bruce and Clark kinda razz each other about who might be a better hitter. Clark again engages in, ya know… Chris speak for this bit.
Now, wouldn’t it be funny if… Lois was carrying a flask, and she and Selina decided to get drunk while the boys were off playing?
Well, I can hardly believe it, but that’s exactly what we’re getting. Really now, Lois carries a flask? Does she need help? Doesn’t her husband have, ya know… x-ray vision? Hopefully it’s not a lead-lined flask. Hell, that might actually be funny.
Superman and Batman continue their uncomfortable… and unnatural chat while batting… and by this point, Lois and Selina are like barely conscious. Maybe there was lead in that flask!
Moving ahead a bit… a dude dressed like The Question runs up and steals Lois’ purse… which, is where she keeps her flask… so, this is a pretty big deal. After Clark x-rays the crowd, Bruce beans “The Question” in the head with a baseball… and that’s that.
From here we get a few nine-panel grid pages of… like disembodied dialogue. The gang is eating ice cream cones and talking… and the whole thing comes across as “try hard cute”, if that makes any sense. It’s all very pithy, and self-referential… and, at least for me… totally misses the mark.
And so, our night ends… but not before Bruce and Clark settle up on their little baseball bet from earlier. They swap into their own clothes and head to a nearby baseball diamond to see if Batman can hit a Super-pitch. Before the ball is thrown we get some… weird catch-phrase-y taunts… did we accidentally wander into a terrible Saturday Night Live sketch?
Is there such a thing as a non-terrible Saturday Night Live Sketch?
The issue ends with Batman managing to hit the ball. Wakka wakka.
Well… I get what they were going for here and it’s a cute idea, but I gotta say… I didn’t much care for it.
Now I’ll concede up front that I’m a little bit behind on my Bat-reading… but, I didn’t recognize any of the characters here. Their voices sounded alien… their interactions, artificial… and, really now… what the hell is up with Lois carrying a flask? Is that a thing now?
Or… and I know I ran this bit into the ground, but… is the basis of this story, “Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if…?” Because any time that’s the driving factor of your story pitch, I feel like you need to stop talking right there.
It’s a shame because this could have been a fun story if it wasn’t trying so hard to be. Sometimes it’s fun to see the heroes in mundane situations… and having awkward interactions with one another… but, when that’s all a story is? Not really feeling it. And again… what the hell is up with Lois carrying a flask?! Talk about forcing a square peg into a round hole to facilitate some “funny” scenes.
I dunno… I don’t think I need Lois and Selina to become “BFF’s”. What’s more, I don’t think I need Selina knowing Superman’s secret identity. I mean, didn’t we just put that genie back in the bottle?
I will say, the art here is really good. I thought everyone at least looked great! The superhero-themed background scenery was a lot of fun to check out… and seeing some interesting costumes in the crowd (there was an Alan Scott Green Lantern!) was a real treat!
Overall… wasn’t a fan. This didn’t ring true to me, even if I just take it as a “one off”. That stinks because just by looking at the cover, I really wanted to read/like this. That happens so seldom anymore that a cover can “tempt” me… that it’s a shame when the insides don’t quite measure up to my expectation. Anyhoo, to go back to my own unfunny running gag… we’ll ask Batman. Should you go out of your way to check this out?