The heroes, they are a’ changing!

If you’ve been reading the main titles featuring both Batman and Superman, you know that the heroes we see in this book are radically different from the ways they were about two months ago. Superman’s powers are downgraded and there’s a different guy in the big armored Bat-suit.

Of course, with two different people interacting in new situations, the relationship between these characters is going to be back to square one. That can be fun to read, though!

DC Comics, Batman, Superman, Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Alfred, Jim Gordon, Truth, Arkham Manor, Bat-suit, armorBATMAN SUPERMAN #21
Written by: Greg Pak
Art by: Ardian Syaf
Colors by: Ulises Arreola
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in BATMAN SUPERMAN: “The epic new storyline ‘TRUTH’ continues! In this chapter, what are the consequences of a bond broken? ”

MEETING THE “NEW” BATMAN

This issue is told from Clark Kent’s perspective. What’s a shame it is that this version of Superman isn’t working with Bruce Wayne. With the change in his powers, Clark (the world now knows his formerly secret identity) would have worked pretty well with Bruce. They’d have been on almost the same level, which again could have made for an interesting change in the friendship’s dynamic.

The issue starts out with Clark facing his new situation. The police don’t respect him like they used to. Then he goes to Lex Luthor, who has the upper hand more than ever. When all his usual supports fail him, he heads to Gotham City. After all, Lex tells Superman that a power similar to the energy weapons thugs have been using has been detected there. Clark looks forward to help from Bruce. He’s in for a surprise.

When he gets there, he finds Bruce’s mansion has become Arkham Manor, now holding villains in captivity there. Also, Alfred is grieving in the Batcave below. Superman then seeks help from the new, armored-up Batman. Sadly, the person in the suit (Jim Gordon, as revealed by DC on Free Comic Book Day) follows orders from the police, and they’re none-too-friendly to the Man of Steel at the moment.

It’s always a big deal when Superman and Batman tangle, and they commence to fighting. Normally, Superman would seriously out-power Batman, but with his diminished abilities and Batman’s high-tech upgrade, it’s a vastly more fair fight, sadly for Clark.

Next issue, we’ll find out just what happens between these two. Looking forward to that!

THE ART ROCKS

I have long been a fan of Mr. Syaf’s art. He’s done a lot of work for both DC and Marvel, but the product I’ve enjoyed most was when he was helping bring Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files to comics. The hardcover Welcome to the Jungle was particularly great, really fitting the tone of the novels.

That doesn’t mean his work on superheroes is sub-par. To the contrary, I really enjoy it! On this issue of Batman Superman, both the action and dramatic sequences are strong, keeping the reader’s attention all the way through. I wish issue #22 could come sooner!

THE BOTTOM LINE: A Strong Start to a “New” Era

What’s likely to happen is that Superman’s powers will return to their previous level sometime in the next several months. I also expect that Bruce will be back in the Batcave before very long, too. Still, it’s fun to see things go a different direction for a while!

I’m going to be particularly fascinated when Jim Gordon actually interacts with Clark on a personal level. Jim’s a very different guy than Bruce is, and his law-and-order orientation might actually give him and Clark a lot in common. We’ll see.

This is part of the ongoing “Truth” storyline, so I’d recommend picking up previous issues and those dealing with the changes in both heroes before you read this one. Batman Superman is definitely one worth following, though, especially given the current status quo of both heroes. We’re likely to see some things we’ve never seen before, and that’s always appealing to me!

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Wayne Hall creates the Wayne's Comics Podcast. He’s interviewed Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, John Layman, Kyle Higgins, Phil Hester, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, David Petersen, Christos Gage, Mike Grell, and Matt Kindt. On this site each week, he writes his "Comics Portal" column (general comics comments and previews) and reviews comics.

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