Superman/Batman 69 starts off where the last issue took place, with Superman staring down NRG-X who actually is that Bronze Age villain, Grant Haskill, (this is shown in a flashback as a shadowy man, Anderson Gaines, is asking for the hit on Clark Kent) I mentioned in the last review. They fight, have some exposition dialogue and Superman is left wondering who would want him killed.
Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne while at a function gets to meet Gaines, afterward. After Gaines unwittingly gives Bruce a DNA sample, contacts Clark and the two convene at the JLA Watchtower.
While Gaines is going back to his penthouse apartment we learn why we’ve never heard of this character before. Gaines is in fact one of the shape shifting alien terrorists from the Kryptonian ship that Superman and Batman found in issue 64. Currently the ship is still on the dark side of the Moon and is shown on the last page of the issue. Gaines also reveals his Durlan form and it does look interesting. It’s a nice grouping of all these green tentacles coming out. We then end with Batman telling Superman that instead of taking on Gaines head on, that they’ll have to do it guerrilla warfare style.
Well, it’s moving the story well, which is a good thing of course. But at the same time the story is still leaving me wondering what is the need for it to be set after “Our Worlds At War.”
It does seem that Joe Casey had this idea, the editors were saying “Yeah okay, but just so you know, when the Blackest Night crossover is over, the book is getting an overhaul. So can you do your thing around it?” So it’s like we are getting two stories; this Durlan vs Krypton story that Casey started back in issue #64 and the aftermath of Our Worlds At War, which is getting the “shoehorned in because I have to drop references” treatment. At some point I’d like to know if there is a reason that the time of this story had to be where it is, and not say after “Legends” or “Invasion.” Actually Invasion would have been a more intriguing setting as that would have been just before Superman literally went into his self-imposed “Exile” (that was the name of the storyline). Whatever results from this story could have added to the reasons Superman just left Earth for a time.
But the story Casey is telling is still an intriguing one, and I am interested in seeing where this is going. I’m going to drop the rating a bit though, because it still has a run-of-the mill feel to it, as opposed to an epic feel that an aftermath tale should be.
Reviewed by SteveJRogers