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Review: Superman/Batman #68

Boy this comic has taken tons of twists and turns in its run hasn’t it?


It starts out as a complete in-continuity book, which is where events such as the downfall of Lex Luthor’s Presidency (1-6) and the return to the DCU current continuity of the Kara Zor-El Supergirl (8-13). Then it starts becoming an out of continuity title where the main attributes seem to have been to spotlight the difference between DC’s “Big Two” in “dueling” thought balloons, which essentially seemed to come down to stuff like “I like vanilla ice cream.” “I like chocolate ice cream,” or “I love Mondays.” “I HATE Mondays!”


It has been in recent issues seemingly heavily influenced by ideas from the Silver Age era World’s Finest tales when that title was the Superman-Batman team up book. The extreme of this was a recent issue where it turned out the entire story of the issue was just a simulation file in a new virtual reality training device in the Batcave. Bruce Wayne’s file name for the file was “WF V2 63 Night & Day.” In other words it was the artist’s, Rafael Albuquerque, way of treating Superman/Batman as a second volume to the World’s Finest series that ended in 1986. Which leads to way too many issues to go into here in terms of how this series should be taken when trying to fit it’s stories into the continuity of the time.


So now we begin a new era on the book, well technically it started back in issue #64 since #68 picks up where it left off, though I don’t think anyone knew that at the time, especially Apple as he slaughtered it on the comic podcast when it came up. So now the book is essentially a peek into different events in DC history. Part entertainment, part history lesson I suppose. And we kick things off as #68 has a nifty “Our Worlds At War Aftermath” banner on the cover. The best thing to do first is to dive into what happened in the event Our Worlds At War.


Mostly a Superman cosmic event for the summer of 2001, though it did cross over into several of DC’s books and had Imperiex as the main villain attacking Earth. Big battle of course, with Metropolis as the epic center, and as per norm it seems, the city gets ravaged. Long story short, Superman is able to save the day, and the universe! The story has been collected in three different volumes, Superman: Our Worlds At War volumes 1 and 2, as well as a complete edition.


So it is at the point after the event has occurred that the book starts off with. As well as after # 64 and the mysterious Kryptonian ship that Superman and Batman found.


This is very much an introductory piece to the story, entitled “The Big Noise” and Joe Casey does a good job setting up what you would think are the major players for this story. An adventure seeker, who manages to find the missing escape pod from the ship in # 64, and a major backer of S.T.A.R. Labs, Anderson Gaines, appears at first to be a major focal point. Research is coming up empty on whether or not this character has been spotted before, so Casey has to be given props for setting up a nice shady villain.


Also Casey gives us a mystery man showing down Superman at cliffhanger at the end, NRG-X (Nuclear Radiation Generator Experimental), the name comes from a Superman villain from the 1970s, but I doubt Casey is brining that particular character out of mothballs. This NRG-X kind of resembles Iron Man, I wonder if that is the indented effect by the art team.


On the Batman side of things, Bruce investigates a strand of DNA taken from the non-Kryptonian aliens found on the ship in #64 (strange not saying “previous issue” but that is what a Halloween special followed by a two part Blackest Night crossover story will do to you), to determine just what kind of creature was on that ship, and hopefully a clue to determine how it ended up in current (at that point) DCU time.


In all, it was an enjoyable issue with some great art work, but it does leave me wondering just what the tie-in to Our Worlds At War is going to be, besides just lip service to the event that Superman and Batman had just gone through. It does leave me wanting to read more though, and I guess that is the best thing you can say about the first issue of a story, it leaves you wanting to continue reading. It’s not quite enough to give 5 out of 5, so I’ll give it a nice solid 4, but only because it just seems to superficially tie-in with the story its supposedly linked with.


Superman/Batman #68:



Reviewed by SteveJRogers

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