We start off with Batman fighting Metal-Zero while Superman is protecting the Earth from astroids falling into the atmosphere. Bruce is talking about how he has to fight this tin man by using his head, instead of smashing it, how Clark could so easily do it. Batman quickly defeats Metal-Zero, and Clark shows up, and compliments him, and then begins trolling Batman… Because who else is Superman going to mess with. Batman leaves the scene, and seems irritated with Superman, because Clark keeps using their real names. Suddenly, Metal-Zero disappears.
Now we meet up with a guy named Hiro, who was playing under the avatar of Metal-Zero. Hiro is calling himself Toy Master. His brains behind all his ideas, though, is a woman named Agnes. Toy Master wants to make some improvements on the "game", and Agnes says she will get to work on it, and that he would be more successful if he played with a group of people. So he invites three gamers, one if them being Jimmy Olsen, to be the avatar of Nightwing, with the point being to kill Batman.
Meanwhile, Bruce is working out at the Manor, thinking about Clark, and how he shouldn't let Clark get to him because they are friends. But suddenly, Bruce gets a whiff of magical asteroid dust, and rages out (that's a pretty nasty allergy reaction). Clark, meeting with Gen. Lane, notices that on the East Coast (which is where this asteroid dust is falling), every human's average heart best increase by 3%. He tells Bruce that Metal-Zero disappeared, and Bruce gets furious with him and hangs up before Clark can explain. Clark seems to sniff the asteroid dust, gets angry, says he suddenly doesn't care, and then flys away.
Batman meets up with at the crime scene with Nightwing, and actually sounds like he is prejudice agains non-human creatures. Saying that Clark's voice annoyed him, but that hearing Nightwing's is nice. While Batman starts examining the scene, the Jimmy Olsen controlled Nightwing starts punching Batman, but only gets one hit in before Bruce beats the crap out of him. Nightwing starts to fly away, and Bruce knows that this isn't Dick. Toy Master, Jimmy Olsen, and the other two gamers seem to think that this is only a game, but when Batman and Nightwing crash through Toy Master's window, and he is put in danger, he starts to second guess it. Agnes shows up, and just as you start to put together that she was behind all of this, Mongul shows up, as Clark is calling for an unconscious Bruce over the radio.
This was a pretty fun issue, although, at times it was really hard to follow because of the story. It jumps from place to place giving us bits, but making it hard to see what's really going on. I really had to read this about three times to get what was actually happening. It is a set up issue for something bigger, so I am anxious to see what will happen next, but I do hope that the story stops jumping around so much. The timing of everything seems to be off in this issue. I originally thought it was supposed to be in one night, because after Toy Master's original "play through", Agnes says she will have the kinks worked out in an hour. Bruce goes home, it's night. Clark goes to see Gen. Lane at what I assume is the same time Bruce is working out, and it is day there. Bruce and Clark then go back out in costume, and it's night again… So I'm not sure where the timing is with this. If you have any explanation, please fill me in.
I really liked that instead of a lot of dialog from Bruce, we got more of his thought process. Because of this, I felt that Greg Pak nailed Batman's voice. I did think it was weird when he seemed to come off as prejudice against Clark, but I'm a hoping that was just the astroid dust talking. It is also mentioned several times throughout the beginning, that Bruce is older than Clark. I am curious as to how much older he is, because if they are just a few years apart in age, it doesn't seem to be big enough to even mention.
Brett Booth did an amazing job on the art. I love everything he touches. The sideways format he is doing is fun, and refreshing to read. My only complaint is his default, go-to face. When I first saw Toy Master, I thought it was Tim Drake on his day off.
This was a fun read, and if you are looking for something a little more separate from the rest of the universe, or just love Brett Booth's art, check this comic out.
Reviewed by Corbin Pool