Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artists: Jim Lee (p), Scott Williams (i)
With Superman under the control of Poison Ivy we see Batman has to come up with a way to free his ally from her control. However, his plan requires him to stay alive for at least a couple minutes, which is quite a chore when one is fighting Superman.
Superman versus Batman! Truth be told, this is far from being my favorite match-up, as while I agree wholeheartedly that this bout made for a wonderfully intense climax to the classic "Dark Knight Returns" miniseries, the simple truth of the matter is that Superman should kick Batman's butt six ways to Sunday, and yet I always enter these battles knowing that Batman is going to win. Now I'll concede that Jeph Loeb does make Superman into a force to be reckoned with, and thankfully we see he's allowed to display some intelligence in this battle (e.g. using his super-breath to ice over the kryptonite ring). However, it was fairly clear throughout this battle that Superman was holding back, and the way that Superman is freed from Poison Ivy's control felt a little abrupt. Still, overall this was an entertaining, fan pleasing romp, as long as one happens to be a Batman fan.
As for the art Jim Lee does seem to have benefited quite nicely from his pairing with Jeph Loeb, as if I was an artist, these are exactly the type of stories I'd want to bring to life. The art does a great job of conveying the raw power of Superman, and it also clearly details Batman's various actions to bring his enslaved ally under control. One also has to love page fifteen's shot of Superman erupting out of the street.
This is pretty much sixteen pages straight of Superman versus Batman, and the simple fact that this battle lasted longer than a page is enough to tell you that Superman is not exactly on the top of his game. However, for the most part the book does manage to convey a healthy respect for the power that Superman commands, and Batman's various attacks are quite clever, with the final attack that has Superman slipping free of Poison Ivy's control being a nice look at how dirty Batman is willing to play. Still, there is a part of me that finds myself a bit annoyed that this issue had to resort to the old chestnut of one of the heroes being under the mental control of another to get them fighting, and that this mental control was so quickly broken, when Batman endangered the life of Lois.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!