This week marked the release of Batman/Superman #1 from DC Comics. The creative team of writer Greg Pak along with artists Jae Lee and Ben Oliver gave a promising start to the highly anticipated series.
The story starts off with the first encounter of Batman and Superman. They unknowingly meet each other in a park. After a disagreement on whether to help a kid against a bully, or to let him learn how to defend himself. These two heroes’ differences are put on display right away. I liked Greg Pak’s use of an everyday situation being used to define the character of these two heroes.
The main plot of the story is that employees from Bruce Wayne’s company have been getting killed off. In Metropolis, Batman catches an attempted murder of one of his employees in the act. Being on Superman’s turf, the man of steel arrives at the scene, and misunderstands the situation.
The first encounter between these two men in costume is hostile and violent. Greg Pak allows Batman and Superman to both narrate their views on the action, and their perceptions of one another. Their observations on one another are a lot of fun to read as they meet each other in costume for the first time.
One of the most troubling aspects of this encounter, is that the assailant of Wayne’s employee is not a cold blooded killer, and clearly not in their right mind. It is clear that someone is pulling the strings behind the scenes, but nobody has any clue who it is.
The ending of the story takes a surprising turn, as Batman and Superman are mysteriously transferred to Earth 2, which part of the DC Comics multiverse. The ending was unexpected, and that was good thing for this series. It is only their first issue, and the reader is already being challenged by being thrown into what looks like a complex plot.
As for the art, it is very out of the ordinary, as the characters seemingly pop out of page against dull backgrounds. It looks as if it was painted, but it was done it pencil and ink. Jae Lee’s meticulous art style only allowed him to do eighteen of the twenty-five pages. Ben Oliver completed the rest of the pages. Oliver’s style is very complementary of Lee’s, so the transition is very smooth.
I have heard complaints across the comic book community that DC Comics’ line has been generic as of late, with run of the mill stories and boring art work. While not everyone agrees with that evaluation, including myself, this is a series that will give those not currently enjoying DC Comic’s line a series to give a chance.
The story feels unpredictable and genuine, and there is no doubting the originality of the artwork. This is only the first issue, and the story still has long way to go to prove itself, but this is a good start, and there are not many things like it on the shelves. If for whatever reason you are looking for a change pace in your comics, this should do a good job of providing it.