This week saw the New 52 launching what seems to be a very promising origins title; Batman/Superman #1 – no we do not see the origins of the respective characters, instead we get a glimpse of what seems to be their first meet. The comic is split into the psyches of each character allowing the read to explore the inner thoughts of Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent as they converse with each other. This stream of consciousness style is then brought to the fore once again when the two lead characters meet as their alter egos. This dual narration setup by Greg Pak shows that the regular banter between characters will most likely come to the fore in future issues as well, similar to the style employed by Jeph Loeb in the pre New 52 Superman/Batman series – I’m glad to see that DC put Batman first this time.
What really stood out for me was the art of Jae Lee. It reminds me of his Marvel works… but just better. The characters look life-like and the comic has been given a gothic feel which really works well with the Gotham setting. I love the way that Gotham is presented when Superman views it for the first time. The Gothic style is used in some frames – reminiscent of two New 52 titles that I love, Swamp Thing and Animal Man. The frames are given an eerie look, which is reinforced by tortured vines in the framework and dark colours through majority of the book. The sad part is that towards the end of the book Jae’s art is switched out with the art of Ben Oliver. I did not enjoy this sudden swap, going from something dark to something soft and hazy – like those annoying episodes of Supernatural Season 8 where Sam has those happy hazed flashbacks. This sudden contrast does not really steal anything from the story, however. It even reinforces the story.
The story seems a bit jumbled. Clark initially investigates a series of deaths at Wayne Enterprises, then a load of situations and conflicts get thrown in at the same time. I think Pak does this intentionally as he wants to keep the reader guessing who or what is causing this disruption. This is precisely why the art swap lends to the story telling. Would I like to see Oliver’s art in the next issue? No. The swap out is done and dusted. I would much rather have Lee’s artistical beauty grace every page of the issues to come.
All in all this made for an excellent recommendable read. This is one of those rare instances where you can judge a book by its cover. (Even though you shouldn’t, the character costumes are raw and awesome!) If you are looking for something to knock you out with awe, this issue is one hell of a shiner!