Review: Batman/Superman #21

bmsm021Since the advent of superhero comics, there is no stronger and dissimilar team-up than Superman and Batman.  One represents the hope that is possible for all humanity, and the other deals with the sometimes sad truth that is the human condition.  One is a superpowered alien, the other a regular man driven to perfection.  In the history of the characters, they have often been played against each other for a specific effect as the differences between the two are highlighted by the same underlying sacrifice for humanity.  While this dynamic is therefor both characters, at the moment both of them are in flux as well.  Superman is undergoing fundamental changes under the Truth story arc and no one is quite sure what has happened to Batman since the end of End Game.  In this case the differences between the two characters exists to show that no one really knows what is going on with them any more.

The action follows Superman as he is cleaning up the streets of Metropolis.  Lex Luthor intervenes and informs him that there is a connection to Gotham City, to which Superman quickly goes to investigate.  His own issues being pressing enough, he must now deal with the disappearance of Bruce Wayne and the introduction of a new armored Batman in his place.  Without his greatest ally to assist him he still searches for the answers as the newly depowered Superman and the mysterious new Batman face off head-to-head in the search for some answers.

While the Truth story arc for Superman is interesting from a certain perspective as it allows the character to be explored for some of his fundamental characteristics as opposed to his powers, there is also the lack of feeling of permanence to it.  This is maybe the most evident here as both Batman and Superman are a little lost at the moment, both absent in one way or another.  As these are DC’s big two, it seems unlikely that these changes are permanent, and so this issue in a way kind of feels like filler.  At the same time it does a good job examining the importance of the two characters for one another, especially as they are at relative lows, but these two do not stay low for long, and so it raises the question of just how relevant this story is?

Story: Greg Pak  Art: Ardian Syaf
Story: 6.5 Art: 7.5  Overall: 6.5  Recommendation: Pass

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