Batman/Superman #9 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Clayton Henry, Artist; Alejandro Sanchez, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: After the excellent Kandor resurrection arc, this title gets back down to earth thanks to a tense Gotham-based storyline and some great art by Clayton Henry. After a creepy opening involving a mysterious body washing up in Gotham Harbor, Batman is quickly pulled into a new chase. It’s clear things are still tense between Batman and now-Commissioner Bullock, as Batman learns how to operate without the deceased Alfred and the corrupted Jim Gordon. But that quickly becomes a secondary concern when he comes face to face with a new threat – the Atomic Skull, seemingly on the run from Metropolis PD. We know from other runs that the Skull is reformed (although that didn’t stop Damian from locking him up in his secret prison, something that’s referenced but not exposed). But now the Skull seems to have gone rogue again, killing several of the officers who are pursuing him.
Things quickly take a dark turn, as it becomes clear the police aren’t police, and the Atomic Skull isn’t villain but victim. The outcome here is kind of revealed by the title, but it sets off a strong mystery – and a literally explosive hook that ruins Clark’s date night in Paris with Lois and sends him flying towards Gotham. From there, it’s time to investigate a murder mystery on Batman’s turf, and it turns out the culprit is an old Superman villain with a very different Gotham-esque plot. It’s a dark turn for the character, who hasn’t been taken seriously in a long time. I think the strength of this title, why it succeeds where other DC team-up titles have failed, is that it knows how to perfectly fuse the two worlds of the lead characters and take them both off-balance in a way that creates compelling new story possibilities. It also feels like it has more of an impact on their worlds than any similar title – a definite win.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.