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"Batman / Superman #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by DC Comics

Batman Superman 1 Large

Written by Joshua Williamson
Illustrated by David Marquez
Colored by Alejandro Sanchez
Lettered by John J. Hill
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on August 28th, 2019

Review:

The Batman Who Laughs may have been defeated, but his presence is still being felt. When Batman and Superman dig into the villain's cave, they find molds for six poisoned batarangs, each filled with a serum that can transform anyone into a deranged, murderous version of themselves. Anyone could be a potential victim, so where do the World's Finest start? Maybe in the little boy that's been changed into a twisted version of Robin.

I'm going to be a little more liberal with spoilers for this review, as much of the first issue has already been out there in promotional pieces, not to mention that the identities of a few more infected have been revealed in the news. It's public knowledge that Shazam is the first infected Batman and Superman encounter, but we didn't know how this meeting would happen.

Writer Joshua Williamson crafts this in such a way as to pull us in and then flip the script. Even though I knew what the end goal was, I was genuinely surprised by how this came about. I was so enthralled by the story and how this huge investigation was beginning that I didn't see the twist until it was right upon me.

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The design for the Dark Shazam is frightening to say the least. Artist David Marquez created a twisted and harrowing version of the bright-eyed, positive hero. This is one tortured by madness and carnage. This is a hero that's been freed from moral constraints and it shows. You immediately understand how dangerous this is and the true extent of the threat Batman and Superman are up against.

Speaking of that threat, Marquez turns in another page that really sums this up, just a bit earlier in the issue. Superman flips a switch and reveals the Batman Who Laughs' plan in a grisly fashion. Tons of heroes are shown with X's painted over their eyes and a menacing smile, not unlike the Joker. Every hero in the DC Universe is shown here to give you an idea of how far this could go.

Colorist Alejandro Sanchez shows this hologram with a faded light, adding to its inhuman quality. The heroes are shown with no pupils and their eyes glow with a creepy white light, like they're all possessed.

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Click images to enlarge

The transformed Shazam is grittier than what we're used to, even earlier in this issue. Batman and Superman are shown in brighter shades, representing the safe spots in the DC Universe. They shine through the darkness. I realize that's ironic to say since Batman lurks in the shadows, however the greys of his costume stand out against this, like he's fighting his nature a bit. After the ordeal he's been through with the Batman Who Laughs, it's no wonder that he's staying in the light a little.

A dual internal narration runs through Batman/Superman #1, providing the perspectives of the two main characters. It's fascinating to see how they view each other and explore their friendship. Although these are thoughts, they feel like a conversation. Letterer John J. Hill distinguishs them from one another based on colors and logos so they have a nice flow to them.

I thought the Batman Who Laughs mini-series brought horror into the world of the Justice League. That is small potatoes compared to Batman/Superman. This is a universe-spanning epic following the deranged methods of a murderous lunatic. The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel are already a few steps behind and will have to work extra hard to catch up.

Grades:

Story: Fourstars Batman Superman 1 Small
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Art: Fivestars
Overall: Fourandahalfstars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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