Thursday, June 27, 2013

Batman Loves Superman #1

Of course Batman gets top billing.

In this episode, Batman's getting his Batcave pressure washed, so he moves into the Fortress of Solitude with Superman. But Superman gets tired of finding panties and cum stains all over his shit, so he runs a line of tape down the middle of the Fortress to keep Batman on his side and out of his things. Hilarity ensues when they realize the Kryptonite is on Superman's side but the Deadly Nocturnal Man-eating Plants from Vorageal 5 are on Batman's side. Also the toilet is split right down the middle and the handle is on Batman's side, so Superman leaves a gigantic super poop just sitting in the toilet for Bruce to find.

The problem with acting cynical and above it all and mentioning how DC is just trying to sell as many comic books as possible by sticking Batman and Superman in this book...the problem is that I still want to read a book focusing primarily on the relationship between Batman and Superman. I was barely even reading comics when this title appeared last time and I still managed to pick up the first trade because I'm a sucker for gimmicks. As long as, you know, Batman is the gimmick. Okay, that's a lie since I hardly ever read Batman comic books before The New 52. But someone did tell me it was pretty good, so I picked it up. And I was like, "Lex Luthor is president?! What the fuck happened?!" I think I was reading a lot more Marvel than DC in my last few years of reading comics before The Long Hiatus (that's the period of time between Cerebus ending and The New 52 beginning).

I will probably be referring to this comic book as Batman Verbs Superman for the entirety of its run because "Batman Superman" just sounds like a new hero whose secret origin has to do with a horrible Watchtower teleportation accident.

I hope Issue #2 begins with this same shot except Bruce on a farm being hassled by livestock. "My father always warned me about Smallville. Growing up in a city, you learn that human beings are pushy and smelly. We only survive by pushing back and smelling better. But when people come to Smallville, the smells push back even harder."

Look at this beautiful opening! Clark Kent, small town farmboy, nervous about visiting the city! Except he lives in a big city, so he's not nervous at all. He's simply being a judgmental prick, isn't he? "Oh, look at the mess Batman lives in! My city is so much cleaner! My city's drug dealers and prostitutes stay in the poorly maintained old downtown district abandoned by most white middle class residents years ago! What has Batman been doing? Goofing off with that sidekick when he should be cleaning up this city, that's what. Well, he's a reasonable Bat. He'll probably readily accept my offer to help make his city more like my golden home!"

Jeezly crow, even when I begin a paragraph ready to praise what I'm reading, I spiral into descent and madness and cynicism and can't help but bust Superman and Batman's chops. What I was trying to say was this: "Wow! This book is banging!" Ugh, no. Fuck no. I wasn't trying to say that at all. I think I injured my gag reflex by typing that. But seriously, I love Jae Lee's style on this thing.

Meanwhile Bruce Wayne is sitting in a park watching some bullies pick on a smaller, browner kid. He just watches, seeing that the boy is about to take matters into his own hands, change the way everybody looks at him, gain some real power of his own.

Not everybody wants saving, Clark.

What a superb moment for the meeting of Clark and Bruce and to shine a light on one of their inherent differences. Bruce knows the power to be gained by rising up on one's own. This boy had the power in him to stop the bullying once and for all. Clark's interference makes sure the boy doesn't get a bloody nose today, but the boy is still in the same place he was before. Just next time, Clark won't be there to save him. Bruce's world is one full of callouses and rough patches but it's one where people are more capable of surviving by their own hands. Clark's world is soft and tender, full of people who expect to be saved. It's not Clark's fault though! He believes in the good of everyone and that the world can be made cruelty free. So why not save everybody when they need it? Eventually, in Clark's eyes, nobody will need saving and peace will reign. Bruce sees it very differently, having grown up in Gotham. Batman can't be everywhere, so he needs to choose the people most vulnerable and in need of rescue. The others need to fend for themselves and, as Bruce sees it, a bloody nose or two goes a long way to self-reliance.

Clark's stance in that first panel is brilliant. It screams, "Nope! No way I can be Superman! Very awkward nerd here!"

Bruce Wayne's next Narration Box should be, "Am I going to have to kill him?" But right now he doesn't need to worry. Clark is simply in town investigating three murders of Wayne Enterprises employees that occurred in Metropolis. But Bruce Wayne isn't interested in helping Clark Kent. All Clark has done is put himself on Batman's radar. And, I guess, inform The Batman that some detectiving needs to be done!

All in all, it's a really nice opening to Batman Loves Superman.

Batman winds up in Metropolis keeping an eye on the one Wayne Enterprise employee that refused to relocate for the night. A crazed Catwoman attacks the employee, scratching his face just like the previously murdered employees. I suppose Catwoman must be being controlled by somebody because even if she's already fucking Batman at this point in history, she can't remain free after murdering three people. Or is she really that good? Will Batman just turn his head so he can get some late night, rooftop, super criminal in heat action? Batman crashes through a window to stop the murder because even in Metropolis Bruce Wayne must have investments in construction.

The entire rescue kind of goes tits up when the employee's kid comes out and the employee activates experimental Wayne Enterprises technology. Oh, and of course when Superman crashes through a wall. Really, Clark? Do you also have investments in construction? Because there was a perfectly good open broken window you could have flown through.

Isn't this always the way? You see a gorgeous, talented person dating somebody you have a crush on and the only hope you have is that the person isn't too terribly bright. And then you find out they're a doctor. At least Batman will eventually find out Clark Kent is a journalist and, at this point in world history, there may not be a worse profession with which you can be associated. Bunch of fucking slackers! Where are the real life Lois Lanes and Clark Kents? But not Jimmy Olsens. Who needs 'em?!

Superman has arrived late so he jumps to the conclusion that the man dressed in the bat suit is the murderer. Apparently Ma and Pa Kent raised him to be a sexist bastard because he doesn't think for one second that the woman dressed in the cat suit could be the murderer. Even though Clark Kent had, you know, photos of dead people with cat scratches on their faces. I take back what I said about him being a good journalist! I did say that, just in a roundabout way!

Superman hesitates because nearly every option he has will end up killing Batman. His Narration Boxing makes it sound like he wants to do it since he mentions that he's getting angry. But this is possibly Superman's biggest problem. Unless he's fighting something invulnerable, he has to be really careful in a fist fight. Imagine getting into a fight with a toddler with a gun and explosives. You have to subdue the toddler before it can seriously hurt someone but without seriously injuring the kid. That's actually a tough fight!

So while Superman is thinking about it, Batman blows him through another wall (the structural integrity of buildings in Metropolis have to conform to the Superman Code: the building must be able to stand with two full walls blown out and in rubble) and Superman plummets to the ground. I guess he's yet to figure out how to fly. And you know, Grant Morrison never did do a story where it showed Superman's progression from leaping to flying. Now I'm really beginning to wonder if he flies due to a Legion Flight Ring! But where does he keep it?!

Once Superman hits the ground, Batman begins pushing appliances on top of him while Catwoman watches. And speaking of Catwoman and her funky eyes that Batman noticed but I didn't make mention of:


The ghost thing flies in as Superman leaps up to punch Batman in his stupid appliance dropping face and there's a loud BOOOOM and they all disappear.

Next up on my stack of comics is Ann Nocenti's Catwoman, so these will probably be the three best Catwoman panels I read all night.

The BOOOOM sends Superman to the future? Where he appears in Smallville and falls to the ground next to future Batman? Superman is at least as confused as I am and he attacks Batman who he thinks is responsible for the teleporting. And if so, this Batguy also knows his secret identity. The fact that he turns and calls him "Clark" is a big clue to that as well.

Batman has also been teleported to the field but, for some reason, he's the current Batman. So where is "Years Ago" Batman? Did he wind up in the future? And then things get even weirder as Superman, weakened from Batman's use of his emergency Kryptonite, beats the crap out of Batman without having to hold back. Thanks, Kryptonite! Oh yeah, the weird part:

I have no idea who this is. The New 52 Maxima? Mrs. Mxyzptlk? Lexie Luthor?

Batman Loves Superman #1 Rating: "Goddammit, I hate Batman and Superman! But I really liked Batman Superman! It was Aces the Bathound!" -- Eee! Tess Ate Chai Tea blurb for DC to use when the Trade Paperback is released. You're welcome, DC!

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