Batman/Superman #5 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; David Marquez, Artist; Alejandro Sanchez, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Joshua Williamson has slowly but surely built a reputation as one of DC’s most reliable writers, working on a Flash run that will likely hit 100 issues and Batman/Superman, which has done far better with its story than most event tie-ins. Batman/Superman #5 leads directly into the upcoming event Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen (the first issue releases today) and it’s focused on Batman and Superman up against the six deadly heroes converted to the Batman Who Laughs’ way.
The first half of Batman/Superman is chaotic, almost too chaotic as the six turned heroes tear apart the Fortress of Solitude as Batman and Superman can barely keep up. But Williamson is a horror writer by trade, and around the halfway point he treats us to a series of visuals from the BWL’s world that take the issue in a much darker direction. There’s one visual in particular that may be too much for some readers, but fans of Williamson’s past work like Ghosted and Nailbiter will see the same twisted sensibility.
At this point, Superman becomes dangerously unhinged, on a level we never see him. The Batman Who Laughs obviously wanted to unhinge him, and it may have worked a little too well as he briefly doesn’t even seem aware that he’s fighting his own cousin. Batman, meanwhile, is left to face his best friend and the converted Blue Beetle, who has hacked into the Fortress. That leads Batman to take an extreme risk to stop him, essentially hacking Jaime Reyes’ scarab and taking its power for himself.
The end of the issue lets the Batman Who Laughs back into the world and doesn’t resolve much of anything, but then we’ve got a major event coming up to tie up all these loose ends. I’m excited for that, but I’m even more excited for next issue’s showdown with Wonder Woman once she finds out that they let her little sister get turned into a cackling madwoman. This is definitely a comic serving a specific purpose in the DCU at the moment, but it does it far better than most tie-ins would.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.