Friday, June 4, 2010

Superman / Batman Annual #4 [2010]

I was really looking forward to this issue ever since I saw it solicited in Previews. A Superman/Batman comic with future versions of the two DC icons written by current scribe of the Legion of Super-Heroes Paul Levitz. Detailed artwork by Renato Guedes which brings a near classic Geof Darrow style to the book. Last time I saw Terry McGinnis as Batman in DC’s continuity was when Jeph Loeb piloted this series in the very beginning.

The story begins in Gotham’s future where Terry McGinnis is Batman with Bruce Wayne acting as his mentor, The internal dialogue switches from Terry to Bruce as they find out why Metropolis’ criminals are running activities in Gotham City. As soon as they prepare for what is coming so has a classic Superman villain Metallo enters Gotham with a sample stash of a new drug with a key ingredient: Kryptonite.

This leads Terry McGinnis to Metropolis and we get a little history of what has happened so far including a missing Superman, a mayor-for-life Luthor, and the loss of Commissioner Gordon. The search for the root cause of the Kryptonite drugs are investigated as criminals are vanishing in the background of the story.

Kudos to Paul Levitz for mentioning Darkseid use of his Omega beams to make people vanish. Tying into what has happened to Bruce Wayne when he faced Darkseid in the pages of Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis arc.

Later we follow Terry to Clark Kent’s residence and a paper trail leads them to a cemetery and the tombstone of Lois Lane. Unaware that Superman is watching Terry from high above and reminding himself of the differences between him and Bruce as well as the loss of his love Lois Lane. Superman realizes that Luthor is behind the distribution of the Kryptonite laced drugs so Superman cannot walk through Metropolis without suffering from its radiation effects.

Criminals continue to vanish however it seems that Superman is responsible and he tells the criminals that they are ‘convicted’ which can only mean that the vanishings are sent to the Phantom Zone.

Fantastic issue of an underexposed continuity and brings in a fresh prespective for fans that have followed the Batman Beyond TV series. Paul Levitz and Renato Guedes brought both writings and artwork to match this once-a-year issue.