Overview: In the aftermath of their battle with the Batman Who Laughs, Bruce and Clark are made aware of an unexpected threat from an even more unexpected ally. Can they stop it from happening?
Synopsis (spoilers ahead): As it basks in the light in front of the statues of the House of El, General Zod remembers the greatness of the city of Kandor and its people, despite its shrunken size many years ago at the hands of Brainiac. He revels in the peace they obtained until they met their fate at the hands of Rogol Zaar, who destroyed the bottled city (in the previous pages of the Man of Steel miniseries). He anguishes in the pain of the screams he hears every time he closes his eyes. As he stands outside the destroyed Fortress of Solitude, holding the broken city in his hands, Zod promises, “No more,” and that Kandor will be avenged before taking off into the sky.
In Metropolis, Batman and Superman are having separate thoughts. For Clark, he’s thinking about how he and Bruce are so much alike. Bruce, on the other hand, is reminiscing about their battle with the Batman Who Laughs.
Bruce and Clark arrive at Stryker’s Island and head to the island’s cemetery. As they stand at the grave of Clay Ramsay, formerly known as Kryptonite Man, Superman quickly realizes that there’s no Kryptonite radiation coming from Ramsay’s tomb. Batman confirms the observation, noting that someone recently visited Ramsay’s grave, as recent as within the last hour.
Suddenly they are attacked by an assailant wielding a green sword. Superman’s hands begin to burn as he catches the blade. Batman springs into action as Superman realizes that the Kryptonite is synthetic. The battle continues until Clark recovers and uses his heat vision to stop the ninja in his tracks. His x-ray vision can’t penetrate the lead-lined mask. It’s not needed, however, as Bruce recognizes the fighting style of his long-time adversary – Ra’s al Ghul! Clark prevents Ra’s from escaping, and they question his need for Kryptonite. Ra’s reveals the Kryptonite is to use on Zod.
As Clark remains in shock at the thought of Zod’s return, Ra’s reveals the general’s plan. He wants to use a Lazarus Pit to resurrect the dead city. Ra’s acknowledges that he’s already destroyed one pit and now must stop the Kryptonian general from reaching another one.
The three arrive at what looks like an Aztec temple. There they find temple guards unconscious. Another guard is thrown through a wall. As Batman, Superman, and Ra’s enter the main temple room, they find Zod standing at the edge of the Lazarus Pit, holding the dead city. Clark attempts to talk some sense into his fellow Kryptonian, but those words fall on deaf ears. He begins to approach Zod but suddenly stops. Something’s not right. Clark realizes that Zod is holding an empty city of Kandor. At that moment, the bodies of Kandorians rise from the Lazarus Pit and head towards the four figures.
Analysis: Wow. What a great issue to kick off a new arc. I will admit that I have not kept up with the book because I have been truly turned off to the whole Batman Who Laughs/Infected storyline. That said, I’ve always had an interest in the Batman/Superman tandem. Any fan of the old World’s Finest comic naturally would. When the opportunity came up for me to review the book after the Infected arc was over, I jumped at the opportunity in the hopes of getting a good story. Joshua Williamson did not disappoint.
The issue went by quickly and definitely not the way I wanted. I make this statement as positively as I possibly can. I was ready for the story to continue. Actually, I didn’t want it to end. For me, there was a great balance of dialogue and with just the right amount of action. I truly felt a World’s Finest vibe with Batman and Superman’s interaction with themselves and with Ra’s.
I will admit that I am not as familiar with Nick Derington’s art as others might be. I didn’t follow Batman Universe (please don’t be mad), but I get it now. This is some great storytelling in art. The clear shock and dismay on Bruce and Clark’s faces, the pure anger and preparation in Ra’s eyes, the sheer glee on Zod’s face at the sight of the risen city. Words can’t express those emotions enough. Derington’s art accomplished this task quite easily.
You know there’s a good story on hand when the last page of the issue leaves you ready for the next. The creative team does a great job of laying out what should be a good story arc.
Final Thoughts: If you, like me, were turned off by the Batman Who Laughs/Infected arc, you will find some relief in this new arc from Williamson and team. Zod breaking his truce and returning to Earth as well as Ra’s presence is bound to bring some good action over the next few issues. One can only imagine the role the resurrected Kandorians will play. Knowing the characters Bruce and Clark are dealing with, I would expect a swerve at some point before this arc is over.