BATMAN/SUPERMAN #3
Author: Matt Grazel
August 29, 2013

SYNOPSIS: t’s a showdown that could shatter two worlds when Batman and Superman battle the Superman and Batman of Earth 2! - DCCOMICS.COM

In the words of Superman, "That was strange, but kind of fun."

I never pictured that the New 52 versions of Batman and Superman would have met for the first time on a universe-jumping adventure, but the book is written so well (and even better looking!) that I can't find myself doing anything but enjoying the ride.

The New 52 heroes are still stranded on Earth 2 – and in the presence of older, more experienced alternate versions of themselves--with no clue as to how or why they got there. The contrasts are interesting, as the young Bruce and Clark are brash and untrusting, while their Earth 2 counterparts have an established relationship built on years of working together. Heck, Bruce is referred to as Clark's best friend more than once. Something is awry, however, and with the aid of Earth 2's Wonder Woman and Lois Lane, the group attempt to uncover the truth about The Trickster and what is truly at stake here. As they get closer to their answers, it appears that time may be running out for the near-utopia that Earth 2's heroes have built for themselves…

Over the course of the tale, we get an extended flashback into the past of Earth 2's Clark and Bruce, and see first time they met. The encounter is actually a riff on Jeph Loeb's "First Meeting" story that ran at the opening of the SUPERMAN/BATMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES trade back in the day, but expanded with many new details (in fact, one can't help but notice the many similarities between Earth 2 and the pre-New 52 DC Universe). The scene is heartfelt and enjoyable as two children whose life circumstances have forever set them apart from their peers find a bond in one another and even manage to simply be kids for a little while. The fact that Bruce sees that there is more to Clark than meets the eye at such a young age speaks volumes about Bruce's natural abilities: of course we know that Batman trained for years and disciplined himself in every aspect of learning, but it's nice to see a nod that the Waynes are somewhat exceptional to begin with.

I'm not familiar with the current state of the EARTH 2 comic, but from what I've glanced at indicates it's a much nastier place than what we're seeing here, so I'm wondering if this story ties directly into that. Interesting stuff, especially if writer Greg Pak, in penning his first meeting of our Batman and Superman, is actually forging something that affects entire universes in the long-term. We'll just have to wait and see!

I can't say enough good things about the art team here. Jae Lee gives us something that is slightly abstract, but completely fluid and attractive to the eye, and brought to life by June Chung's color work. Fantastic stuff, to say the least. Then the style shifts, as Yildiray Cinar takes over for the flashback sequences, evoking a more cartoonish "old school" style. Both artists are top-notch, and the style change is perfect to separate the flashback scenes from the current happenings.

BATMAN/SUPERMAN definitely stands apart from any other book featuring these characters, and when we have three monthly titles completely devoted to Superman and four (thousand) to Batman, finding your own ground to stand on is not only a good idea, it's necessary. - Bobby Barrett

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