Batman/Superman #11 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Clayton Henry, Artist; Alejandro Sanchez, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: The conclusion to this latest arc of Josh Williamson’s team-up adventure is pretty exciting, although it’s bogged down by some ties to a title that isn’t nearly as consistently good. When we last left off, Ultra-Humanite had seized control of Batman’s body, implanting him with an Atomic Skull detonator and getting ready to turn him nuclear. This forces Superman into an impossible choice – letting Batman explode and take half the city with him, or use his heat vision to kill him first. The story does a good job of capturing Superman’s anguish and anger, even if you never quite believe the stakes, but the showdown between Superman and the villain in the aftermath delivers some good action and has a good grasp of pacing for the eventual reveal. Ultra-Humanite is a decent villain, but he often seems like he’s cobbled together from pieces of other villains like Brainiac and Gorilla Grodd.
This series has always been at its best when it’s just the two heroes comparing notes, so my favorite parts of this issue were after the villain was defeated. There’s a surprising and funny happy ending for a character in the last page, and a good depiction of Batman’s obsessive nature. But the problem is, Atomic Skull’s fate is revealed to be tied into something else – Damian Wayne’s kidnapping of villains. It turns out that the kidnapping and brainwashing was what led Atomic Skull into Ultra-Humanite’s clutches – when Atomic Skull was reformed. While the ending adds a new wrinkle to this, this is yet another unforgivable crime that Damian committed as DC seems to inch closer to making him irredeemable. This isn’t exactly Williamson’s fault, because it seems like this is a line-wide decision, but it’s a shame to see a character who has grown so much continue to slip away from that growth.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.