Batman/Superman #17 is finally here and Gene Luen Yang and Ivan Reis are back bringing with them the second installment of a story-arc I fell in love with back in the previous issue. I had never seen anything like it before and was certainly eager to see more. Well, this imaginative creative team did not disappoint as Batman and Superman are about to meet again…..for the very first time.
But before we get into the issue itself, let’s take a look at the covers. The main cover is by interior artist Ivan Reis, who has created an authentic 1940’s crime noir scene very much tying into the tone of the arc itself. Batman and Robin swoop in to take down The Joker and Penguin while Clark looks upon a world he doesn’t recognise. I love how reluctant Clark is to step in through fear of helping the wrong party. Clark couldn’t possibly know who’s side he should be on. The cover features a number of crime noir tropes I simply adore such as Clark’s trench coat, as well as the driving rain its meant to defend against.
The variant cover created by Rodolfo Migliari depicts Batman and Superman taking up their quintessential poses as they look ready to do battle. The detail featured in the pairs gear is phenomenal. Every crease and ripple adds layers of texture and detail. I simply adore seeing the duos first appearance chest emblems represented on this cover as it ties in with the 1940’s tone felt throughout the issue.
The mystery behind the previous issue had me guessing right up until the big reveal at the very end. Luckily for the audience, Batman/Superman #17 picks up directly on from where the previous issue left off. With Batman and Superman from Earth-0 taking on the self proclaimed visionary Director of the Archives, Auteur 10 and his army of Archivist Androids.
As Batman and Superman continue to battle Auteur 10 aboard a Wayne Enterprises satellite, reels of film archived by Auteur 10 containing numerous worlds come back into focus specifically those containing the stories ‘The World of Tomorrow’ and ‘The World of The Knight’. Lois and Clark from ‘The World of Tomorrow’ find themselves in a different reality, that of ‘The World of The Knight’ fighting side by side with Batman and Robin as they look to bring down a secret society who are the reason behind that worlds plight.
Batman/Superman #17 features an incredibly complex story-arc that could have become somewhat confusing if not for the outstanding way the issue is presented. Thanks to wonderful dialogue and incredible page layouts, Batman/Superman #17 has a flow to it that keeps the story buoyant from start to finish.
Artist Ivan Reis has created perhaps his best work to date as part of this incredible story-arc. The panel design and page layouts are mind blowing, as two separate tales converge to become one. I love how the panels are presented as film reels. They ebb and flow with such elegance unlike anything I have seen in comics prior to this.
Ivan Reis has filled every page with dynamic artwork, his dense exposition is just as absorbing as explosive action. Both elements are executed with the upmost skill and craft. Superman utilising his powers to incapacitate his foes is utterly breathtaking. Likewise, Batman explaining the never ending plight that has befallen his city to an unfamiliar Lois and Clark is heartbreaking.
Writer Gene Luen Yang is crafting a very special story-arc here, these characters obviously look familiar yet are from a totally different time and place. Yang’s writing is deft enough to highlight the subtle changes needed as well as the obvious differences, without changing the characters core fundamentals. Without a doubt, Spider Lady is my favourite character. Her origins and arc are totally captivating.
Batman/Superman #17 is a spectacular read full of dynamic artwork, incredible page layouts and absorbing character interaction. I for one cannot wait to see where this story goes next.
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