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Review: Batman/Superman: Authority Special #1

Batman/Superman: Authority Special #1

Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson and artists Trevor Hairsine, Scott Hanna, Jonathan Glapion, Rain Beredo, and Ben Templesmith do the unthinkable in Batman/Superman: Authority Special #1, which is make the Dark Multiverse compelling. This comic definitely spins out of the excellent Superman and the Authority miniseries, but no prior knowledge of any of the “Metal” comics are needed for this alternate universe romp as Batman teams up with Superman and his old team to do a first strike on a world where the Dark Knight has become corrupted by the League (Now, Empire) of Shadows and is the patriarch of the autocratic Al-Ghul dynasty. Templesmith handles the art duties for this “Shadow Earth”, and his slightly askew painterly style easily ups the quality of the book.

However, my favorite part of Batman/Superman: Authority Special was the constant trash talk between Midnighter and Batman with the lethal leather daddy taking the piss out of the Caped Crusader for much of the comic. Johnson leans into the metafictional connection between Batman and Midnighter and also that they’ve never met on panel, and their jawing and eventually teaming up gives the issue a strong undercurrent of humor beneath the grimdarkness. Philip Kennedy Johnson and Trevor Hairsine also expand on Apollo being a Superman fanboy in the previous miniseries and have him geek out a little bit over Batman too. These playful touches make this new iteration of the Authority endearing, and Johnson gives Batman and Superman a relationship of mutual respect. As evidenced by the sour facial expressions, Hairsine, Glapion, and Hanna give him, Batman isn’t impressed in the Authority as a unit, but he sees them and especially Enchantress’ interdimensional travel abilities as a way to protect Earth.

Although the rulers of Shadow Earth aren’t given much characterization beyond the League of Shadows on steroids and all related, Ben Templesmith puts his own spin on their realm and makes The Authority and Batman’s journey to their world that much more jarring as the art transitions from Trevor Hairsine, Jonathan Glapion, and Scott Hanna’s house style superheroes with a bit of Wildstorm widescreen edge to utter horror. The opening splash page with flames, skulls, darkness, and armor makes Batman/Superman: Authority Special feel more like the cover of a heavy metal album than a superhero team-up book. Interdimensional travel takes a toll on our protagonists as their figures warp and elongate against dark vistas featuring eye popping details like a Barbelith-esque red sun. It adds an air of atmosphere to what could just have been a punch-up against alternate universe Batmen, and Philip Kennedy Johnson and Templesmith show these doppelganger-type figures actually holding back against an icon that has inspired them to become tyrants.

Batman/Superman: The Authority Special shows that a creative team other than Grant Morrison and Mikel Janin can tell a compelling story with this cast characters, and I’m excited to see some of the character moments, such as Lightray going from being hero for fame to being in real action or Apollo and Midnighter working on the whole no-killing thing, expanded up on in future issues of Action Comics from Philip Kennedy Johnson. Paper-thin villain characterization aside, this book is a solid one-shot adventure with an eerie setting thanks to memorable art from Ben Templesmith plus loads of funny interactions between Batman and Midnighter.

Story: Philip Kennedy Johnson
  Art: Trevor Hairsine with Jonathan Glapion and Scott Hanna, Ben Templesmith
Colors: Rain Beredo Letters: Tom Napolitano
Story: 8.0 Art:8.8 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Around the Tubes

TEEN TITANS: BEAST BOY LOVES RAVEN

It’s new comic book day today! What are you all getting? What are you excited for? Sound off in the comments below. While you wait for shops to open, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Kotaku – The Maligned Avengers Get Second Chance on Xbox Game Pass – What did you all think of this game?

CBR – Marvel, DC Artist Jeffrey Huet Has Passed Away – Out thoughts are with his friends and family.

The Beat – Diamond Summit Day Two: Sales are up 18% from 2019 – This is very good news.

Reviews

Flickering Myth – Batman: The World
AIPT – Batman vs. Bigby: A Wolf in Gotham #1
Geek Dad – Batman/Superman #22
Comic Attack – Seven Secrets #12
Geek Dad – Teen Titans: Beast Boy Loves Raven
The Geekiary – Teen Titans: Beast Boy Loves Raven

Preview: Batman/Superman 2021 Annual #1

Batman/Superman 2021 Annual #1

Written by: Gene Luen Yang
Art by: Francesco Francavilla, Paul Pelletier

The epic epilogue to the Archive of Worlds saga! In his pursuit of perfection, the godlike Auteur.io sought to create and destroy worlds with the wave of a hand and a flair for the dramatic. But against all odds…the World of the Knight and the World of Tomorrow live on! The Batman of the noir-tinged streets of Gotham City finds himself stranded in the sunny, retro-futurist World of Tomorrow-and Superman discovers himself in the opposite predicament. With their home worlds in decay and only one chance to save them, the key to preserving their very existence is but the flip of a coin. Or the flip of this book! This special flip book is two times the story, with one full comic on one side and one full comic on the other, meeting in the middle! Follow Superman’s journey on one side of this epic flip book annual, and turn the adventure over to crusade with the Batman and his trusty sidekick, Robin!

Batman/Superman 2021 Annual #1

Preview: Batman/Superman #21

Batman/Superman #21

Written by: Gene Luen Yang
Art by: Ivan Reis

The dimension-shattering Archive of Worlds saga ends here-and reverberations from this titanic tale last long after the dust settles! As the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel work to halt the villainous Auteur.io’s plan here on Earth-0, the Batman and Superman of their respective archive worlds must team up with Alanna of Rann and El Diablo himself to save what’s left of their homes. Etrigan and his demon hordes rain Armageddon down on their pocket universes-and the fate of the World of Tomorrow and the World of the Knight hang in the balance!

Batman/Superman #21

Preview: Batman/Superman #20

Batman/Superman #20

Story: Gene Luen Yang
Art: Ivan Reis

The Man of Steel and the Dark Knight need time to recover from their manic melee through the Archive of Worlds, but the heroes won’t rest for long! Despite the efforts of new friends El Diablo and Alanna, Auteur.io, the cybernetic architect of these alternate realities, seems to have the upper hand! And to make matters worse, the Archive of Worlds unleashes its most horrific story ever put to magic-infused celluloid: the dark and twisted tale of that demon from the depths: Etrigan!

Batman/Superman #20

Preview: Batman/Superman #19

Batman/Superman #19

Written by: Gene Luen Yang
Art by: Emanuela Lupacchino, Kyle Hotz, Darick Robertson, Steve Lieber

To thwart the apocalypse cascading across multiple realities, Batman and Superman must join forces with their counterparts and sojourn to strange lands! The World of the Knight and the World of Tomorrow are not the only two creations crafted by the sinister Auteur.io – and this nefarious cybernetic despot is hell-bent on at last crafting his own twisted notion of utopia. Join a list of all-star artists as we tour through the ARCHIVE OF WORLDS!

Batman/Superman #19

Preview: Batman/Superman #18

Batman/Superman #18

Written by: Gene Luen Yang
Art by: Ivan Reis

The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel are on a mission to stop the godlike Auteur.io from destroying the pocket worlds he’s created…but where on Earth did Auteur.io even come from? The answer starts not on Earth at all, but with an ancient cult of World Forger worshippers on a planet far away-and if our heroes are to have a prayer of stopping this mythic behemoth, they’ll need to get to the bottom of his power source, and quick! It’s a race against time as the parallel lives of entire worlds hang in the balance!

Batman/Superman #18

Around the Tubes

Rorschach #8

It was new comic book day yesterday. What did you all get? What’d you like? what’d you dislike? Sound off in the comments below. While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web to start your day.

ICv2 – ‘Guantanamo Voices’ Wins Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize – Well deserved.

Kotaku – Target Stores Will Stop Selling Pokémon Cards After Shortages, Fighting – Well that escalated quickly.

Reviews

Batman News – Batman: Urban Legends #3
Collected Editions – Batman/Superman Vol. 2: World’s Deadliest
Geek Dad – Rorschach
But Why Tho Podcast – Sprite and the Gardner

Preview: Batman/Superman #17

Batman/Superman #17

Written by: Gene Luen Yang
Art by: Ivan Reis

In a world where Superman’s rocket never reached Earth, the Dark Knight and his sidekick discover a startling rift between dimensions. On the other side? A world where Martha Wayne survived, and Bruce never grew up to be Batman! Not only that, but a strange alien has emerged from the rift who’s faster than a locomotive and can leap tall buildings in a single bound…the Superman of Metropolis! When these worlds collide, the architects of this alternate history are revealed, and the only ones who can thwart their deadly experiments are the Batman and Superman of Earth-0! It’s a dynamic dual-world adventure!

Batman/Superman #17

Get a Look at Batman/Superman #17 from Gene Luen Yang and Ivan Reis

Best-selling writer Gene Luen Yang and award-winning artist Ivan Reis started their run on Batman/Superman with a bang in issue #16, weaving together not one, but TWO tales into one titanic issue. Yang and Reis wield the medium itself to tell the story of two universes, reminiscent of much-beloved DC film serials, colliding into one: Superman’s World of Tomorrow, and Batman’s World of the Night! The issue ended with the appearance of a brand-new villain, and a surprise that left readers’ jaws on the cutting room floor!

In this preview of Batman/Superman #17 (on sale Tuesday, April 27) Yang and Reis take the “World’s Finest” heroes down the rabbit hole to find an alternate reality where they’ve never met, a reality created by a mysterious new enemy!

In a world where Superman’s rocket never reached Earth, the Dark Knight and his sidekick discover a startling rift between dimensions. On the other side: A world where Martha Wayne survived, and Bruce never grew up to be Batman! Not only that, but a strange alien has emerged from the rift who’s faster than a locomotive and can leap tall buildings in a single bound… the Superman of Metropolis! When these worlds collide, the architects of this alternate history are revealed, and the only ones who can thwart their deadly experiments are the Batman and Superman of Earth-0! It’s a dynamic dual-world adventure!

Batman/Superman #17 arrives in comic book stores and on participating digital platforms on Tuesday, April 27. The issue features a main cover by Ivan Reis and Danny Miki, with a card stock variant cover by Rodolfo Migliari. The 32-page issue sells for $4.99, with the card stock variant available for $5.99 (check local stores for availability).

Batman/Superman #17
Almost American
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