Superman/Batman #62 Review

Superman/Batman #62 CoverThere was a time when this title and JLA were among my favourite DC series. They were always reliable. However the last 2 or 3 years, like any monthly book, has seen its fair share of ups and downs, creatively speaking. This issue is a return to form though I gotta say. Anytime I see Michael Green and Mike Johnson’s names under the writing credit I know I’m in for a treat. The duo have catapulted this series back to where it belongs with their handful of issues together.

Since Batman is dead and has been replaced by the original Robin, and Superman is hanging out on New Krypton, this series has either had to focus on out of continuity tales, or place greater support on the multitude of great satellite characters that both titular heroes have acquired over the years.

This issue focuses on Robin (TIm Drake) and Supergirl and right from the …bat I noticed something was a little off. Tim is wearing his awesome red and black costume, which he gained in DC’s One Year Later stories after Infinite Crisis and before Final Crisis. However as this is touted as his first team-up with Kara, he should be in his green and yellow costume. Yes, I notice these things. I’d expect DC too as well. That’s a minor hiccup though.

Rafael Albuquerque’s art is just superb here. He really plays of the youthful energy by the two teenaged leads and depicts their interactions with a light touch. What did surprise me was the menace and horror with which he shows Joker and later, Mr. Zsasz. Basically the story has the costumed pair quelling a riot at Arkham Asylum, while Supergirl learns for the first time what dread Gotham holds. When Joker is introduced he’s standing in a doctor’s coat holding a freshly amputated leg in his hands, causing the Kryptonian to smack him around, which doesn’t help matters. A few pages later Tim has the same reaction when they meet Mr. Zsasz surrounded by sliced corpses bathed in an eery red light. Despite the manga flavour of the pencils, Albuquerque really sells the terror of Arkham and its inhabitants tremendously well. He makes Killer Croc a monster and Poison Ivy a babe.

There’s no real surprises here. We don’t know why Batman and Superman leave their partners, apart from a JLA mission, and they don’t return, and it’s a standard beat up the bad guys adventure. What elevates it somewhat are Tim and Kara’s interactions out of costume in a coffee shop talking about working with their respective mentors. The differences between the pair shine through in their crime fighting approaches too, with Kara’s naivete and Tim’s seen-it-all attitude being shown in a subtle way.

It’s a simple, done in one story with delicious pages and a streamlined approach, and sometimes in the world of comics, that’s more than enough.

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