Review: ‘Batman/Superman’ #18 Confronts A New Kind Of Challenge
by Tony Thornley
In the last three months, Batman/Superman has quickly become one of the most unique titles in superhero comics. While chronicling an adventure of the titular duo of Prime Earth, an incredibly unique story of the world’s finest is brewing — one much deeper than just another adventure.
On the surface, this is a tale of the multiverse taking shape in the wake of Death Metal. But there’s also a meta-text here that’s diving deep into the archetype and mythology of the characters. In that, it’s one hell of a read, thanks to Gene Luen Yang, Ivan Reis, Jose Luis, Danny Miki, Jonas Trindade, Sabine Rich, and Saida Temofonte.
Prime Superman and Batman are face-to-face with Auteur.IO, the strange AI that appears to be cataloging the multiverse. Meanwhile, within twin realities, the parallel World’s Finest races against time to stop Doctor Atom. However, both sets of heroes are about to explosively collide!
The art in this issue remains fantastic. Though the parallel film strips layouts are long gone, Reis and Luis continue to use the idea to layout their pages, while Miki and Trindade gives their pencils a broad, solid line. They have great action throughout, and use a lot of parallels on the page to tell the story. Rich’s colors never let up and add a depth to the entire story that brings it to life on the page.
Yang’s story, though, is simply fantastic. One the surface, we get Superman and Batman racing to stop Auteur.IO as the heroes of the multiverse grapple with their surprising shared foe. It’s brisk, it’s fun, and it knows how to show us that Batman and Superman are better as a team.
But on the deeper level, it explores the archetypes of the characters. It shows what Bruce Wayne would be without Superman in his world (without going full grim), but also an adult Bruce without Batman. It also shows Clark Kent the difference he can make, and what the world is like without him. It’s great writing, and that works no matter how you dig into it.
In just three months, this has become DC’s current best book. It’s kept me guessing every month and I can’t guess what’s next. That’s the best kind of serial read.
Batman/Superman #18 is available now from DC Comics.
DC’s best title continues to get better. It’s a fantastic superhero narrative, but it’s also an examination of the leads’ history and mythology. This continues to be a must-read.