Batman/Superman #21 – Gene Luen Yang, Writer; Ivan Reis, Penciller; Danny Miki, Inker; Sabine Rich, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: As Gene Luen Yang’s run on this title comes to a close—and the title with it—we get another engaging chapter of one of the most unique stories in DC in a long time. While Batman and Superman fight the insane Auteur.io, we’re treated to a crazy story from his archives of the multiverse. Featuring a Batman from a world without a Superman and a Superman from a world without a Batman, the two eventually met and went on a crazy dimension-hopping journey into each others’ worlds, a western world, and a sci-fi world. And now, courtesy of an evil version of Etrigan from a world he conquered, the worlds are now bleeding into each other—leading to insane visuals from Ivan Reis like giant space worms tearing their way through El Diablo’s wild west. And at the same time, the original Batman and Superman are waiting—leading to a final showdown that involves Supermen and Batmen not just of different worlds, but of different scales.
Ivan Reis’ art has been more detailed and smoother before, but it’s never been this inventive. From the fantastic first issue that told its narrative in a pair of contrasting film strips, his art style has shifted with the narrative and now unfolds over intertwining strips at times covering five different worlds. It’s experimental, but never unclear. What’s even more impressive is that it’s never hard to tell multiple versions of characters apart. We get small dramas in the background that still make an impact, like the bond between Alanna and El Diablo. And even amid all the madness, Superman and Batman still remain the core. We get great character moments like Batman helping Robin overcome a bout of PTSD, or Superman making Etrigan realize that he’s playing someone else’s game. The ending has a great visual, but also leads to one more adventure coming in an oversized annual. I hope more people discover this book in collections.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.