By: Adam Basciano
“The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel are close friends in the modern-day–but the two weren’t always such close allies. Discover how two of the World’s Finest Super Heroes met for the first time in the New 52, and the mysterious adventure that takes them to a whole new world-the world of Earth 2! The heroes of the main DC Universe meet their Earth 2 counterparts for the first time!”
I’m going to cut out all the foreplay and get right down to it; I absolutely love this story. What’s not to like, it’s got the origin story of the first meeting of my two favourite characters, alternate universes, great writing, and solid art. One of the reasons I enjoy alternate universe stories, is the reactions of the main characters to their alternate selves and their surroundings. In this case you get to see it multiplied by 4. The juxtaposition between watching the New 52 Batman & Superman, who presently can’t stand each other, compared with the Earth 2 Batman & Superman, who are best of friends was quite engaging. It provided a lot of humor, specifically when the younger Batman & Superman learned that their counterparts were married to Lois Lane & Catwoman respectively. There were also extremely touching character moments. One being the moment when main DCU Superman encounters Earth 2 Ma & Pa Kent. The other scene is a flashback to the beginnings of the friendship between Earth 2 Bruce Wayne & Clark Kent when they were children. One scene was heart wrenching, the other was heart warming. Never fear, there’s also plenty of action here to satisfy. I also really enjoyed the foreshadowing to the events of Earth 2 #1 at the end of this story. Well done Greg Pak.
For the most part, I really enjoyed Jae Lee’s artwork. My one main gripe with his work was the way he drew male faces. This is especially true of The New 52 versions of Batman & Superman. Facially, they just looked weird. Oddly, I liked the way they looked as Bruce Wayne & Clark Kent. I even liked the look of Earth 2 Batman & Superman. Sounds strange, I know but that’s how I see it. Where Lee really excelled was drawing Smallville and Gotham. Both locations looked distinct and took on the personality of their respective hero. I’ve got to make special mention of the colourists on this book. Their use of light and darkness was really impressive. Batman looked mighty ominous in the shadows, while the image of shadowed Superman, with flaring heat vision, never looked so imposing. That image can be overused, but it regained its “cool” factor in this book. If I had to pick a favourite cover of this story, it would be issue 1.
If this book was a woman, I’d recommending making mad passionate love to her, more than once. Since it isn’t, I urge you to read it, yes maybe even more than once. If you’re a fan of these two characters, you’ll want this in your collection. It is an honest representation of the interactions these two icons share in modern telling’s of their story, while being respectful to past iterations of their united adventures. This book features the second best depiction of Batman in the New 52, second only to Scott Snyder’s work. Also, for my money it is the best iteration we’ve seen of Superman since the New 52 began.
Overall Grade: 9/10