Review Shooter: Superman/Batman 86
Superman and Batman are 2/3rds of DC’s Trinity, and they tend to be played as opposites. One represents the darkness, the other the light. One is justice, the other is vengeance. The list goes on. Their difference in ideals has always been the backbone of the Superman/Batman books since day 1. While most of the time, it amounts to an over-reliance on internal monologue boxes, it has always shown one thing. The two men are a lot more alike than they’d ever give each other credit for.
The Secret Part 2 continues the story from issue 85, which saw a reporter discover the identity of Batman due to a fool-up he created many years ago. Now that the reporter has turned up dead, Batman and Superman are out to prove Batman’s innocence and find the true culprit.
While the showcase characters are Superman and Batman, it is interesting seeing them go about this investigation in a more grounded and subtle manner. Batman isn’t going around Gotham busting heads or striking fear. As a matter of fact, he approaches the newspaper editor, Mr. Mayne, in a pretty standard fashion. And relies on his sense of justice and honor to get information. When he later needs more information, he uses one of his throwback disguises in Matches Malone to sneak into the underworld.
On the other side, is Superman/Clark Kent has an interesting role in this book. As he is leading the investigation as Clark Kent, he knows the truth about Batman/Bruce Wayne so that colors his own journalistic integrity. It is fun to watch him interview Lucious Fox at WayneTech about Batman’s use of their technology, when he knows the very reason why Batman has access to so many of their gadgets. As he continues to fight himself over the story, he is offered some helpful advice from Mr. Mayne, which may or may not be helpful in the end.
The story concludes with Batman and Clark both reaching similar points in their investigations, which leads to a stellar cliffhanger, I can’t wait to see resolved in issue 87.
The art in the book was pretty enjoyable. Part of it does deal with the little nods to the Nolan filmverse such as the design of the WayneTech building and the monorail. As well as an appearance of the Tumbler. Aside from that, I do like the book’s darker appearance and Giorello has a nice handle on the design of Batman and Superman.
New Reader Accessibility: 4 Even though this is part 2 of 3 of the story, I feel like you miss very little by jumping in with this issue. Most of the important details of the first one are recapped in some fashion throughout the story, and this does read well enough on its own.
Recommendation: Buy It. The story so far has been a bit more grounded than most people may be use to when these two characters team up, but it makes for an interesting read. Its nice to see more of Clark Kent the reporter and Batman the detective.