Pick of the Week

Pick of the Week – 08.28.2013 – Batman / Superman #3

What did the
iFanboy
community think?

806
Pulls
Avg Rating: 4.2
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 3.0%
 
Users who pulled this comic:
Batman_Superman_3_Full
Story by Greg Pak
Art by Jae Lee, Yildiray Cinar
Colors by June Chung, Matt Yackey, & John Kalisz
Letters by Rob Leigh
Cover by Jae Lee, June Chung, Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray, & John Kalisz

Size: 32 pages
Price: 3.99

When it comes to this issue being Pick of the Week, I can’t say it makes a lot of sense, other than, when I finished it, I knew it was the book I wanted to write about. If I’m scoring by numbers, and empirical facts, maybe this isn’t the Pick of the Week, but this is about heart, and this one managed to nudge mine just a bit.

What I learned is that I could read a story of Clark and Bruce as children playing together every week forever as long as they’re making comics. On paper, it sounds ridiculous. I don’t know if this is supposed to be canon, and if it was, that’s incredibly trite, but really, I don’t care, but it charmed the snot out of me. In the Up series of British documentaries, they use the quote “Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man,” which, exact age aside, is why this was so compelling to me. While it would seem that the jagged artistic transition between Jae Lee and Yildiray Cinar might be too much, it instantly signaled that something else was happening here. I was hooked, and I freely admit that this is false affection, based on artificial feelings for characters I know aren’t real, but that doesn’t mean that my brain wasn’t squirting the same chemicals around that it would if these were real people. I long to see that sad little Bruce crack a smile, and young Clark finally have someone to talk to. I want to believe that Aflred always, always knows the best thing to do to take care of his charge in the best way possible. I want to know, even for a moment, that there are stories in which some moron hasn’t decided to kill off Pa Kent. I don’t know how Greg Pak knew that this was exactly what I wanted, or that, even for a jaded, frankly awful, cynical person like myself, it could crack my exterior, and give me the scene I most enjoyed reading all week, even though it should be incredible sentimental, but he made it work.

That bit was enough for me, but it wasn’t the only thing causing this series to get its second Pick of the Week in a row. There’s also the Superman factor. Ever since walking out of Man of Steel, I’ve been in a Superman kind of mood. Yet, like almost every person who has tried reading a Superman or Superman derivative comic for the last couple decades, I find myself wanting. But I like spending time with Superman. I especially like spending time with different iterations of Superman, and doing so concurrently. Sure, Batman is in this too, but there’s no shortage of pretty good Batman out there. Still, they are two great tastes that taste great together, so why not? I really like spending time around the two Supermans. It’s not quite the same as spending time with the three Thors, but the same thing is at work here as there is in Back to the Future 2: “What would you do if you met yourself?” Seeing young, dumb Clark interact with the incredibly capable and self-assured older Clark is just a lot of fun, as it is with the Bruces, to a lesser extent.

As we see creative and editorial come to terms with the fact that we’re only going to see so many Jae Lee pages per month, they’re thinking of other ways to fill the gap. Originally, way back two issues ago, they got someone to ape Lee’s style, which was partially successful, and in this iteration, they got Cinar to do his own style, or one of many styles, and work it into the rest of the book, much like we saw work in Iron Fist a number of years ago, when David Aja was only responsible for a portion of the issues. It worked just fine for me, and when we came back, I think Jae Lee earned his salary solely for the image of Darkseid, perched menacingly on the second to last page. In profile, of course.

Other than that, I can’t say I’m entirely clear what’s going on, or how they got there, or where they are. But it doesn’t matter, because the cores of these extremely well worn characters, and their relationship is the key to this comic book, and Greg Pak is showing me over and over lately that he’s a guy who can put the pieces together in the right way, even when it seems like there’s no more ground to cover. It’s also great to have another book rise out of whatever is happening at DC Comics these days. I applaud them for giving this book a chance, and an unorthodox style of both story and art, and just hope they keep it up for a nice, long run.

Josh Flanagan
Alfred always know, man. Always.
josh@ifanboy.com


Comments

  1. For some reason I had a hard time following the narrative in this. I didn’t have this issue the last two months, but having two of the same character got me guessing who was who from panel to panel. Especially when it came to the narration. I agree the flashbacks were really the highlight though with a nice, somewhat new take on Clark and Bruce meeting for the first time. Lee and Cinar don’t really work together but the change in art made sense plot wise and what was here was pretty good.

    It really wasn’t close to being POTW but I get what made you love it josh and it was a great review. My POTW was Deadpool #15 because Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire kicked some major ass. I hope it’s discussed on the podcast because it is probably their best work to date.

  2. eekim1988 says:

    This was definitely my PotW too. Loving the art but especially loving Greg Pak’s writing. It’s amazing how much good storytelling can really make a comic exceptional.

  3. BronxRonin BronxRonin says:

    Wow…great review. And two DC comics in a row?

  4. Desaad says:

    It’s ‘canon’ for Earth 2, which is where the meeting (and the story) took place.

    That’s what gives the whole thing an added layer of pathos. You know that these heroes – these FRIENDS – will soon be slaughtered by the forces of Apokolips.

    (The Flashbacks are a direct re-enactment of a Loeb/Sale story from years ago up until Bruce actually stays and plays the Baseball game; sort of a ‘what if’. It works much better in the context of an alternate, purposely hokey universe like Earth 2, for me).

  5. Desaad says:

    And while I enjoyed the issue, my pick was Thor 12. Far, FAR superior to anything else Aaron has done on that title (which has been a bit uneven, but still had moments of greatness).

    Fantastic issue, Thor. I heartily encourage all to pick it up. It’s stand alone, too.

  6. The storytelling isn’t clicking with me here on this series despite liking both artist and writer. It gets a bit jumbled in places and the ethereal nature of the art seems to be getting in the way of the story at times. I really want to enjoy this more than I am.

    Personally, Thor was my POTW. One of the best single issues in an age. Fun for act one, a really heartfelt middle section, and a final act that provides a glimpse of what’s to come. Masterfully crafted story and some great art.

  7. sheldon-kerr says:

    Nice choice for pick of the week; it would be mine also. I really enjoyed this issue and the split art during the flash backs has come a long way from #1 and I think it works quite well. Young Clark meeting young Bruce was the obvious highlight of the issue.

  8. WheelHands WheelHands says:

    Good pick, Josh. Excellent issue. My favorite of the three thus far.

  9. MegaPhilip MegaPhilip says:

    Agreed on all counts. I loved all the young Clark and Bruce scenes and don’t care even a little bit that there’s no way that “happened.”

  10. asr0462 says:

    This series has been “eh” to me. I love Jae Lee’s art in general, but I confess that I get confused about which Superman is the Earth 1 and which one isn’t at times. Same thing as Batman. It’s almost like Pak has to be next to me while I’m reading it saying, “Ok, now this is Earth 1 Clark speaking.”

  11. CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

    Great review, Josh. You gotta go with your gut!

    I just love the idea that the reason that Earth 2 is a bit sunnier is that Batman and Superman had someone to play with as kids.

  12. player1 player1 says:

    Looking forward to reading this in trade.

    One of a few titles that I’m hoping will have an Absolute version, another being Superman: Unchained.

  13. seanxxo seanxxo says:

    This was fantastic. Every issue of this I read makes me more and more excited for Pak writing action comics.

  14. radpuppy71 radpuppy71 says:

    I have just gotten into this series. I picked up the first 3 issues at a comic shop on Thursday and I am loving it. Really dig Jae Lee’s art and Greg Pak’s writing is amazing. Pak will also be writing the newest Valiant book that hits shelves soon with that title being the Eternal Warrior.

  15. This was really amazing. Never thought once about Bruce having a childhood friend. Earth 2 Batman is really lucky. This series is my first exposure to Greg Pak’s writing and I must say that I’m impressed.

  16. And the Earth Three reveal ( even though they told us it was coming weeks ago) was pretty wicked too. I feel like the Earth 2 book squandered a great first arc, but I’m starting to get excited reading the New DC multiverse.

  17. If I want to read Clark and Bruce as kids I just hit up JL8

  18. IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

    I agree about this being POTW. The first issue I found boring and uninteresting (Don’t ask why, I’m not sure myself), the second issue was a huge improvement (and also POTW if I recall correctly) and really enjoyable. This issue was fantastic, emotional in a way I don’t see all that often. I like how the E2 Superman always knows E2 Batman has the best intentions at heart. Kryptonite missiles? Ok Bruce, what’s up with that? It was kinda odd how little we saw of the 2 Batmans but I guess that was last issues topic. The only thing that worries me about this series is how they’ll make it fit with JL and the rest. How will EP Superman and Batman not remember any of this when it’s over?

    And are Richard Donnor, Brian Singer, and Grant Morrison idiots now?