BATMAN/SUPERMAN #7
Author: Bobby Barrett
January 11, 2014

SYNOPSIS: Batman versus Superman! Trapped by the Toymaster and Mongul, our heroes turn on each other! Who will save Batman and Superman if they can’t save themselves? This epic issue is presented in a special sideways format!

Greg Pak and co. deliver an action packed thrill ride of a conclusion in BATMAN/SUPERMAN #7. After setting up the crisis at hand for the past two issues, this chapter sees The New 52's first all-out brawl between The Dark Knight and The Man of Steel – with nothing less than the fate of the world at stake.

Mongul's New 52 debut reaches its climax as his Warworld technology, appearing as an ultra next-gen gaming system from Toymaster, has given millions of gamers control over a powered-up Batman. Bruce Wayne's consciousness struggles to maintain control over his own actions against the alien machinery aided by hostile humans affected by Mongul's aggression-boosting pollen. The public has made their wish clear: Batman vs Superman in a fight to the death! Superman comes to realize that this is one problem that will require more than his fists to get around…if he can only survive the battle.

Pak casually addresses a legitimate challenge for Clark Kent over the course of this issue, told through the eyes of a disadvantaged citizen named Lydia. While Superman strives to appear as symbol of hope for people, not even he can be everywhere at once. For every life saved, the possibility remains of another in need going unnoticed as The Last Son of Krypton races to his next objective. Ultimately there could be many who resent, or downright hate Superman for not arriving in their time of need. Of course, Clark takes note and does his best to rectify the situation--but the implications herein illustrate a compelling issue facing The Man of Steel in the 21st Century, something I don't think we've seen the last of.

This second arc in the series, and especially this chapter, are very much catered to the strengths of penciler Brett Booth. The guy seems born to draw larger-than-life action scenes, and he does it with such life and detail. Inks from Norm Rapmund add the precise level of smoothness to make Booth's pencils come to life, while Andrew Dalhouse's colors practically make the characters jump right off the page! This is a visual dream team, and I'm sure we'll be seeing plenty more from them in DC projects to come.

BATMAN/SUPERMAN continues compelling me despite any doubts I might have. These are not the type of Batman stories I gravitate toward, and I honestly thought this arc was going to kill it for me, but low and behold, Greg Pak knows what he's doing, and I've been pleasantly surprised with this series more often than not. - Bobby Barrett

GRADE: B+

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