Pick of the Week

June 1, 2006 – Superman/Batman #26

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Size: pages

Story by Sam Loeb
Script by Jeph Loeb, Geoff Johns, Brian K. Vaughan, Allan Heinberg, Paul Levitz, Mark Verheiden, Richard Starkings, Brad Meltzer, Audrey Loeb, Joe Kelly, Joe Casey, & Joss Whedon
Art by Ed McGuinness, Dexter Vines, Jim Lee, Scott WIlliams, Tim Sale, Pat Lee, Carlos Pacheco, Mike Kunkel, Duncan Rouleu, Ian Churchill, Rob Liefeld, Joe Madureira, Art Adams, Joyce Chin, Jeff Matsuda, Jesus Merino, John Cassaday, & Michael Turner
Colors by Peter Steigerwald, Alex SInclair, Dave Stewart, Pat Lee, David Moran, Mike Kunkel, Duncan Rouleau, Ian Churchill, Matt Yackey, Aron Lusen, Laura Martin & Jose Villarrubia
Letters by Richard Starkings

Published by DC Comics | $3.99

Even though this was a light week for books (only five), it took me reading exactly two panels before I knew that Superman/Batman #26 would be this week’s Pick.

This is a very special issue on so many levels. Right off the bat — as you can see from the list above, it features the work of twenty six of the top people in the industry. These are people who work for various companies and in various media, but they all came together for this comic book. Why?

For Sam Loeb.

Sam, the son of Jeph Loeb, died on June 17, 2005 at the age of 17 after a three-year fight with cancer. But before he died Sam plotted this story: Coping with the death of his best friend, Robin relates a funny adventure that he and Superboy had together to the rest of the Teen Titans. It’s a simple yet wacky adventure that has a bit of an old school feel to it (lots of robots and big props). But it’s the dialogue between Robin and Superboy that really seals the deal here. While it’s a bit more jokey than you’d expect, it’s pitch perfect in terms of how two young, male, best friends would talk to each other, even when those two friends are Robin and Superboy. They actually sound like real teenagers.

So the main story is a lot of fun, but it’s the framing story that really starts to gets you, even though it is only one page on either end. And just when you think that you’ve had your heart strings pulled enough, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale hit you with a backup story that casts Sam Loeb as a classmate of Clark Kent’s who suffers the same horrible fate as the real Sam. The love, respect and admiration that Jeph has for his son and the deep sadness that he must be feeling over his death permeates every page and every panel. The back up story reaches out and grabs you by the heart and squeezes hard.

I almost feel dirty talking about this book in normal terms, but the art really is great. I used to love these special issues (that they never do anymore), that would feature all star teams of artists doing a page or two each, mostly because you’d get to see people draw characters they don’t usually and possibly never will again. Right now I’d have to say that I’d give a lot to see John Cassaday on a Batman book.

I urge everyone, in the strongest terms possible, to go buy this book (All proceeds go to The Sam Loeb College Scholarship Fund). And then after you do, go here to read the creative team’s memories of Sam Loeb.

Conor Kilpatrick
We need a cure; I’ve been to too many damn funerals.

Did you read Superman/Batman #26? Add a comment and tell everyone what you think about this week’s comics!


  1. Conor, props to you, man. I am so glad to see this as the Pick of the Week. This book really was wonderful, and it was amazing to see some of these creators working together on a Superman/Batman book. I won’t lie, I shed a bit of a tear during Sam’s Story. My wife did too.

    This week had some nice books — Action was fun, the Thing was so great, Ion has me intrigued, 52 keeps on rolling, Spidey was shocking, Liberty Meadows returns, and so on and so forth. But this book really left everybody else in the dust.

    Thanks for making an awesome and heartwarming PotW, and for those of you Marvel Zombies and anti-Supes or anti-Bats or just anti-this book folks out there who haven’t bought this book, put another one of your weekly books up, and buy this one. The money goes to a good cause, and you’re not going to find a more emotional and poingant story in this sort of medium for a good while.

  2. The backup story was incredible, and about as emotional a book as I’ve read in a long long while. I’m amazed that Loeb can go on working creatively like he does.

    Amazing tribute story there.

  3. Man, I loved this story. I read it at work after picking it up, and had tears in my eyes by the end (not bawling, but enough for a mate to notice).

    The effort by everyone who worked in this issue really shows how loved Sam was by the community.

    Was good to see the Superman/Batman line back into the timeline after Crisis.

    This was definately my pick of the week (for the 4-5 comics I read) and I fully agree with you Conor for giving this your pick.

  4. I didn’t know what this issue was about so I never even picked it up to look at last night at my LCS. I’ll be going back today after work to get one. Thanks for the write-up.

  5. I had them put it in my pick-up box at the comic shop since there weren’t enough comics to meet the minimum $10 requirement this week.

    I don’t usually read Superman / Batman, but the dude at the comic shop told me what the deal was with Sam Loeb and he told me that proceeds go to charity so I had them save it for me along side the new Planet Hulk and the Amazing Spiderman Civil War tie in.

    However, if I find myself with any cash this weekend, I’ll drop in just to pick up this book.

  6. Yeah, I definitely “got something in my eye” when reading this one. It’s great to see artists and writers and a whole company pulling around Jeph. Honestly, if you want to write real life stories that are going to mean something to a lot of people, this is the way to do it.

    Also, if you haven’t read it, I recommend the back-up story in Amazing Spider-Man #248, “The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man.” Another great, emotional story kinda like the back-up story in this issue.

  7. Very emotional great book. Excellent POTW.

  8. Yeah great book. Apart from that one page. (You know the one)

  9. LOL – I was wondering when someone would mention that page…

  10. I started to post about it, but figured it would be best if I just didn’t bring it up.

  11. Nice new way of presenting the podcast, I’ve often wondered who some of the bands are that you play at the beginning and end of the Podcast.

  12. thanks Chris – glad you dig
    we’re going to go back and post the music from the previous 32 podcasts as requested…look for that this week

  13. Excellent podcast as always. “My name is Ben Reilly!” being a personal favorite moment.

    If Joe Quesada hates the fact that Peter’s married, then there’s no way he’ll let Spider-Man unmask without his finger hovering over some kind of major continuity Undo button. Nonetheless, I am definitely in the “wigging out about Amazing Spider-Man” camp. He was always my favorite character, so when I came back to comics a few years back I went on a comics bender and read every ASM from #1 to #300. As I did, it struck me just how far the current run is from who Spider-Man was as a character even into the clone years.

    At his core, Spidey is defined by his problems, specifically the problems caused by the fact that Peter Parker is Spider-Man and only he knows it. The movies capture the essence of it really well. He saves New York but doesn’t get to visit Aunt May in the hospital as a result, so everybody thinks he’s a jerk. He meets hottie Black Cat, but she’s only interested in him as Spidey. Everybody at school thinks he’s an aloof flake because he’s always running off and never wants to hang out. His grades slip, he has to drop out of grad school, he can barely ever pay his rent… the list goes on and on. He’s like Charlie Brown in a body stocking.

    Except now he’s living in a penthouse with a supermodel and his aunt, and everyone knows his secrets and loves and supports him. Oh, and he’s on Iron Man’s payroll and never runs out of web fluid and has an indestructible costume. Other than that, though, it’s a Spider-Man book. In short, I guess he still HAS problems; I just don’t care about them.

    Like… did you ever have a funny, down-to-earth friend in high school or college who you lost touch with, and then when you ran into him again he was a complete uptight sellout? Just a total yuppie hypocrite? If you had been in his shoes, you probably would have made the same choices, but that said you don’t really have any interest in spending any more time with the guy. You see him and think, “What happened to the guy I knew?” I think that’s where I am with the Spider-Man character right now, especially in the hands of JMS. I mean, if you were Peter, of course you’d be with the model. Of course you’d take the great job and join the Avengers and move into the free penthouse. After all Peter’s been through over the years, those are the exact choices he’d make story-wise… which would be great if I wanted to read that story. If he goes ahead and gets his Goblin-Smacking license from Rumsfeld, well, hell, he might as well just go ahead and grow a mustache and become an alcoholic and get it over with.

    There was a page after “The Other” on which Peter is naked in some machine being examined by Tony Stark… and like 25 guys from StarkCo in jumpsuits are walking around in the room calibrating the instruments and staring at him while Tony and Reed are going, “Hmm, Peter, it’s really interesting what’s happened to you, Peter.” I about had a stroke. “Oh my God, who are those guys? You don’t know them, Peter! What has happened to you?… wait, what has happened to me? I’m upset at ink on paper. I need to spend more time outside.”

  14. Thanks for mentioning my web comic on this week’s podcast! It blew me away when you mentioned it and added a link in your show notes. Way too nice! Thanks!

    Is anyone going to the MOCCA event in NYC this weekend? Will there be iFanboy coverage?

    And I made the mistake of thinking comics came out on Wednesday, had to go out of town for work on Thursday and haven’t picked up your pick o’ the week mention. I can’t wait to read it.

    And all the Morrissey you play rocks! I love the Smiths and Morrissey. Can’t wait till you put a list of all the songs you use on the podcast!

  15. Great show (as usual) and a great POTW. I ended up making a second trip to the comic shop last week just to pick Superman/Batman up and, like a few others, “Sam’s Story” got me all choked up.

    Ron – I had the same reaction after hearing that Rucka interview and ended up grabbing Queen & Country, which I really enjoyed. As a result, I’ll probably end up giving Checkmate a try.

    As far as ASM #532 is concerned, I’ve got to believe that Peter’s going to balk on revealing his identity. I think story-wise, it just makes more sense for him not to. He could follow through with his plan to move to Canada, fight some crime in Toronto, maybe even help re-build Alpha Flight. I do seem to remember reading somewhere that Bendis had hinted that Alpha Flight got wiped out to make room for a better roster. An Alpha Flight with Spider-Man – how cool would that be?!?

  16. Since I didn’t get a chance to on the podcast, I wanted to mention ASM as well.

    I really liked it, and while I really do completly understand Jimski’s point, I have to say that I can’t fault them for trying to move things forward, even if the direction isn’t what I would have done. But the fact is, the writer’s job is to put this character into situations where he’s out of his element. And there’s not much left out there they haven’t put him through. The thing I remember is that, under all that public spectacle and his supermodel wife (who he knew before fame!), is that he’s the same guy. All the writer does is think of choices for Peter to make, and then watches him go. You give a character a tough decision, and watch as he succeeds or fails, or whatever. In that, JMS has succeeded. It’s also really cool that it seems like Peter Parker is the neutral character in the whole Civil War. He isn’t on one side of the other, at least in his heart. That’s an intelligent choice on the part of the creators of all this I think.

    I’m also pretty sure something will happen in the beginning of the next issue to nullify the choice he made in this issue. I just have a feeling.

    And here’s my big admission…that page after May’s speechifying, where they all say they’re a family and have the big hug: totally gave me the throat lump. It was cheesy, but it worked. Of course, I’m a big softy.

  17. Spidey will de-mask to reveal…. Onslaught! This will lead in to the eagerly awaited Onslaught reborn series that is starting soon, to be pencilled by our favourite penciller ever. Probably.

  18. I’ll be honest – during the recording of the podcast I thought I’d start buying Amazing Spider-Man again but now that I’ve thought about it, I’m not sure that I will. I have enough problems with all the stupid things they’ve done to Peter Parker and co. over the years already (Exhibit A: Having him get married. Exhibit B: Making MJ a world famous supermodel/actress) that I’m not sure I could stomach reading about an unmasked Spider-Man.

    Maybe I’ll wait to see what he does in the next issue before deciding.

  19. I think that everyone should take the wait and see approach to the unmasking of Spidey. This could give Spidey a chance to go back the Spidey that we all love. Spidey doesn’t unmask and speaks out against the registration act, then he is on the run from Tony, the law, and everyone. He can’t see his family; then Aunt May and MJ move out of the penthouse beacause they are mad at Tony. Talk about problems for Spidey. It would play very nicely into the Civil War story, take away the new “Iron Spidey” costume, and make Tony look like a fool in front of the press. Overall, a great Civil War tie-in.

  20. Q, you’re giving away gold for free!

  21. Onslaught nostalgia! That’s great. I missed Onslaught and the Liefeld revolution the first time around; maybe this is my chance.

    My feelings on Amazing Spider-Man are so mixed they’re puree’d. Josh crystallized it perfectly for me: they’re moving the character forward and developing him along one interesting and very plausible line. JMS has been taking a favorite character of mine and telling in a compelling way a story I just happen to hate personally. It would be different if each issue was painful like, I dunno, Gwen Stacy gettin’ it awwwn with the Goblin or something crazy.

    When I first read about Civil War, one of the things that excited me most was the thought that a philosophical difference with Iron Man might finally get Peter out of Tony’s pocket and put an end to this well-funded team player stuff. I’ll give them this much: I can’t wait to read what happens next.

  22. Did anyone hear about an Onslaught Returns (not sure if that is what they are calling it) that is coming out towards the end of the year. I think Rob Leifield IS involved. This project is a joke. A character that was nothing but hype and a crap villain like Onslaught, but it does have a train wreck appeal to it that makes me want to see what they could do.

  23. Oh, and I am not that bothered by the direction that Spider-Man is going. At least it makes a compelling chapter of Civil War. It is something fresh for the character and things will eventually go back to the Spidey that we are used to.

    I think JMS has done good things with Spidey and I think he is good for the 616 version of the character. Although, the Norman Osborn/Gwen Stacey affair was a crime and should never have been allowed to get printed. I have been reading Spidey for most of the time that I have been reading comics and I think JMS has, for the most part, spun some good stories.

    Yeah, Pete has grown up and changed, but if you want teen-Spidey then pick up Ultimate Spider-man. Must I remind everyone of the last time they tried to spin Spider-man in a new direction. People, we cannot forget the Clone Saga or we are doomed to repeat it.

  24. Yeah, that’s what i was referring to. Leifeld is pencilling and loeb is writing. I’ve seen som epreview art and it eroded part of my soul.

  25. Was Onslaught from the same period when Wolverine had claws of bone and the bandana over his head like a wee pirate? I think of that, Heroes Reborn, the Age of Apocalypse, and the Clone Saga as one muddy but distinct period, the “No Comics For Me” period. The only book I bought in those years was “Star Trek/X-Men” #1. You just can’t pass a thing like that up at the Waldenbooks, if only because you have to have it just to prove it existed.

  26. I hear you Jimski… that is precisely why I own the Superman/Thudercats one-shot.

  27. Hey, was that a crack against Age of Apocalypse? My friends and I really liked that series. I’d say 90% of the cross overs were really good. It was a lot of fun.

    Onslaught was around the time that Wolverine had his bone claws and Ben Reilly was Spider-Man.

    I think it was after AoA that the X-Men went into an ugly period and it was hard to be an X-Men fan. Am I wrong? Remember Zero Tolerance? Anyone? However, it was around that same time that Thunderbolts had come out and Perez had come back to Avengers. Those two were good comics then so Marvel had a .500 record going.

  28. Those early Thunderbolts and Busiek/Perez Avengers are two big reasons I’m reading comics today.

    To think that Triathlon with his 3 powers almost ruined that…

  29. It wasn’t three powers!


    Imbued with the spirit of 3-D Man, Delroy has three times the physical abilities of a man in peak physical condition.

    Fun Fact: Triathlon was the 50th member of the Avengers!

  30. Wow. I listened to this podcast today while at the gym and it was great to hear you guys blow off some awesome xmen related steam. I had to skip the whole part about Amazing Spiderman because I hadn’t picked it up yet, but I just grabbed it, will read it, and will listen.

    Thanks for the good work. Best things in life are free.

  31. Right! 3 times the abilities of a normal man.

    That’s even funnier. I guess in my mind he had better running, jumping, and uh, punching powers.

    I bet that’s the thing that Busiek grumbles about when he talks to his friends. Like he still thinks it’s a great idea, and never figured out why it didn’t catch on. Now, he could have used him in Astro City, and it would have worked perfectly.

  32. Oh my God, “the spirit of 3-D Man”?? That changes everything!

    I have heard with 100% unanimity that Thunderbolts and Avengers were amazing during that period, like beacons in the darkness signalling the end of the nineties. Have they ever been collected into trades?

    Oh, and before this week’s new comics come out: Son of M #6. Can anyone tell me what’s happening on those last 3 pages? They make me feel like a dimwit.

  33. Busiek/Perez’s Avengers. One of the best runs in the last 15 years.

    Avengers Assemble, Vol. 1 (Hardcover)

    Avengers Assemble, Vol. 2 (Hardcover)

  34. I looked up Marc Guggenheim (writer of the awesome Wolverine #42 on IMDB.com
    Here’s what I found:
    Marc Guggenheim

    Writer – filmography
    (2000s) (1990s)

    “In Justice” (writer)
    – Badge of Honor (2006) TV Episode
    “CSI: Miami”
    – Payback (2005) TV Episode (story) (teleplay)
    – Urban Hellraisers (2005) TV Episode (writer)
    – Three-Way (2005) TV Episode (writer)
    “Jack & Bobby” (2004) TV Series (writer)
    “Law & Order”
    … aka Law & Order Prime (USA: informal title)
    – C.O.D. (2004) TV Episode
    – City Hall (2004) TV Episode
    – Darwinian (2004) TV Episode
    – Blaze (2003) TV Episode
    – American Jihad (2002) TV Episode
    (2 more)
    “Dragnet” (2003) TV Series (story)
    … aka L.A. Dragnet (USA: new title)

    “The Practice” (1997) TV Series (writer)

  35. Jack and Bobby was awesome.

    I did see somewhere this week that he was a TV writer. I think we’ll see his name at Marvel more often.

    Man, it’s getting to be that in order to make it in comics, you have to make it in TV first, and making it in TV is friggin’ hard!

  36. Seems like some of the really interesting stuff of recent memory is coming up from TV / Movie dudes. Lindelof, Whedon, Smith, and now this dude.

  37. OOh and Zimmerman. Can’t forget Zimmerman.

  38. Someone forgot Zimmerman. Cuz he ain’t writing nuthin’ no more!

  39. I finally read the Amazing Spiderman Civil War tie-in. I feel bad for my girlfriend because I keep making her read every Civil War book that comes out (and she’s not a comic book reader). Whenever she comes home from work I leave her whatever new chapter there is on her pillow.

    1. I don’t think Peter’s Going to unmask.
    2. Buy the book, Conor.

  40. Also don’t forget that Daniel and Charles Knauf are writing Iron Man now (and so far so good). They created the outstanding HBO series Carnivale which IMO was one of the best damn shows on TV in the last 5 years.

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