Batman / Superman #10 features the next installment of the ‘Atomic’ storyline which debuted in the previous issue. Both Batman and Superman utilize their most reconisable skills as The World’s Finest partake in a battle of wits and brawn against the formidable Ultra-Humanite.
In regards to the main cover created by Clayton Henry and Alejandro Sanchez, the Ultra-Humanite goes toe to toe with The Dark Knight against a very intriguing backdrop. Clark’s recent announcement makes an appearance in the form of a newspaper article that engulfs most of the page. I think this is a very clever way of addressing two separate issues that are plaguing Superman’s life. The newspaper piece looming large in the background is a perfect visual metaphor for the articles actual contents. Maybe Clark’s recent announcement is starting to weight heavily on his shoulders.
I love how Ultra-Humanite’s physical prowess is highlighted on this cover. It’s easy to forget the characters strength and aggression when his superior intellect is constantly at the forefront. This is clearly a very thoughtful cover.
The variant cover is by Riccardo Federici is absolutely glorious. Another very realistic cover, I’ve found a lot of recent variant covers have been the same recently, but that is not a bad thing at all, I love the realism. The shading and highlights on this piece really make it for me, especially when it comes to the the muscle tone and the postures of our heroes are so lifelike. This is a really great cover.
As I eluded to earlier, both Batman and Superman showcase their most quintessential talents within the pages of this very issue as they look to defeat the cerebral Ultra-Humanite as he looks to turn the denizens of Gotham into hollow conduits for his unparalleled genius.
I love how Batman utilises his superior detective prowess in this issue to gain further knowledge and insight regarding the Ultra-Humanite’s latest scheme. From performing an autopsy to working his way through a database, Batman can see things other people can’t. The Dark Knights’ skill and expertise is evident for all to see.
Superman of course compliments his partners methodical pace with colourful, larger than life action as The Man Of Steel tackles the Ultra-Humanite head on in the streets of Metropolis. I adore witnessing Superman use a large array of powers when attempting to subdue an opponent. Flight, strength and speed are on display with breathtaking results. Thanks to interior artist Clayton Henry and colourist Alejandro Sanchez the combat and destruction featured in the issue never feels too heavy. The pair compliment each others work perfectly as the issue is filled with colourful, bold artwork radiating exuberance.
That’s not to say this issue doesn’t feature some darker moments. It certainly does. Ultra-Humanite’s methods and end results are somewhat harrowing, however the dynamic art style keeps the narrative buoyant as the issue flows naturally capturing both the light and the dark.
In regards to this story-arc, Ultra-Humanite’s motivations and actions are very traditional in my opinion. Stealing technology and tampering with human physiology is comic book villainy 101. This is by no means a negative in my book. In fact it works perfectly considering Ultra-Humanite is one of Superman’s earliest villains.
Writer Joshua Williamson does a wonderful job of relaying Ultra-Humanite’s origin to the reader via an incredible splash page narrated by Superman himself. I very much appreciated this information as I was a little unsure of this classic characters back story.
Batman/Superman #10 tackles the subject of Clark revealing his secret identity to the world using a very clever method. In this issue we witness the media debating Clark’s revelation for all to see. This really took me back to the ‘talking head’ method of relaying views and opinions which Frank Miller made prevalent in The Dark Knight Returns and its subsequent chapters. I love this way of relaying information. It just feels very relevant and contemporary, as we witness this as well as have our say in the media everyday.
Ultra-Humanite’s dialogue in this issue is captivating as he delivers dialogue that is totally menacing and full of disdain for those around him. Ultra-Humanite believes he is superior in every way, this is echoed in every word he deems us worthy to hear. Even The Dark Knight isn’t spared this diabolical villains vitriol.
Joshua Williamson has crafted a timeless story arc that feels familiar yet presented in a very fresh and dynamic manner. Batman/Superman #10 feels like a love letter to a bygone era. Think ‘Brave and The Bold’ or ‘DC Comics Presents’. I am very excited to see where this story goes.
Haven’t picked up your copy of Batman/Superman #10 yet? You can pick up the standard cover by Clayton Henry here (UK), or here (US). Or if you prefer the variant cover by Riccardo Federici, you can get that here.