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Superman & Batman Generations III #7

Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2003
By: Ray Tate



"History Lesson"

Writer/Artists: John Byrne(p), Alex Sinclair(c)
Publisher: DC

This issue recaps all that has come before, and with a series like Generations you need an overview of events before moving on to the gist of the mini-series.

The non-linear nature of the story now fits into place as Batman and Lara fill-in the formerly missing Kal-El. What makes this recap worth your time is the way John Byrne recalls the events. He does not just reiterate, he strengthens and in some cases shows what happened in between the events of each issue. Furthermore, given the speakers the way in which the events we have already seen are dialogued have a characteristic flavor. The recap never feels like tedious exposition. The technique makes the recap in Generations seem fresh even to those who have followed the series from its origin.

Apart from the recap, Mr. Byrne shows what happens to Lara after the startling consequences of last issue, and he picks up the fate of young Lois and young Lana who were last seen speeding toward the future. We also return to the fate of Saturn Girl, and just as an aside, it's simply cool that Batman recognizes her. That coherence is sorely missed from the alleged original universe.

Not a single word of Generations drags out the reader's precious time, and not a single panel is misplaced in this tightly written time travel adventure. The heroic characterization all fits, and Batman's and Superman's concrete friendship comes through in scene after scene as does Batman's longstanding partnership with Lara.

Artistically, this is the sloppiest of Byrne's issues. There are noticeable gaffes in panels too numerous to overlook. However, you do not see these problems while reading the dialogue. It's only after you look over the artwork without reading the dialogue that you notice for instance that Batman's ears do not look quite right or his profile does not look remotely realistic in some of the panels.

While John Byrne is definitely to blame for the inept panels but should be commended for the panels that overall smoothly relate consistent flow, the paper quality of Generations does him even less favors. Even when Mr. Byrne is paying attention, the work tends to look blotchy, and that really is due to the shiny paper stock. I have a suspicion that on the non-reflective stock of the trade paperback his Generations artwork will look much better.



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