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Superman/Batman #15
posted September 15, 2005


Creators: Jeph Loeb, Carlos Pacheco, Jesus Marino, Laura Martin, Richard Starkings
Publishing Information: DC Comics, 32 pages, $2.95, February 2005.
Ordering Numbers:

Am I just getting old that I found the above image sort of disturbing?

I guess I should count myself lucky I didn't find it sexually arousing. But really, this is a code-approved book. That's just odd... Batman gets it right in the heart early on, too, with the Not Exactly Wonder Woman's sword. That money shot isn't as lurid as this one, though. Look at that eyeball! I'm not sure if you can see it at this size, but it's all glassy. I don't know if I would have loved this or hated this when I was a kid. Kirby could be too intense for me, although when I was eight I did read that Woman Wonder story in Mad a lot of times. It's a toss-up, I guess.

Anyway, this is a pretty slick-looking comic. The art features a nice blend of round, cartoony figure drawing and gently sculpted faces. The coloring is lovely for this kind of thing. The cover even resists water, like some sort of booklet material you'd find in your rental car. The narrative is of course dirt-dumb, and the dialogue's overwrought. The plot concerns some sort of weird time-travel thing where a trio of villains from the Legion of Super-Heroes comic have gone back in time to raise Superman and Batman from birth and enlist them to overthrow the world. Wonder Woman and dozen or so minor characters of varying ability make up the resistance that fight back in this violence-filled episode. This includes Uncle Sam, who always gets a laugh or two out of me. As far as I can tell, Uncle Sam's superpower is to be really pissed off when you laugh at his costume, at which point whe rolls up his sleeve and whips the shit out of you. Overall, as far as one of these stories goes, I guess it's okay.

It's also awfully weird, which can really be an advantage for this kind of book. Not intentional-weird like Grant Morrison or Peter Milligan, but apeshit strange, like a story at the poker table no one will acknowledge was just spoken out loud. If this story were something pulled from imagination cupboard, it would be a Ball jar full of stale urine. Still, have I mentioned how slick it is? Unlike most super-duper comics I read, all the usual boy-fan tropes are handled with aplomb. The heroes act in assertive fashion rather than like douchebags, the threat-level always seems logical rather than forced, and there's enough violence to satisfy a soccer hooligan. I imagine this sells a ton.