Batman/Superman #21 is finally here and with that my favourite story arc this year is about to come to a close. Gene Luen Yang and Ivan Reis are about to deliver a closing third act that needs to be seen to be believed.
The main cover created by Rodolfo Migliari is absolutely stunning. The realism and detail captured is superb, this is a Batman certainly grounded in reality. I love how his costume design features seams, buttons and armour, it really adds to his gritty look and feel. The robot army surrounding him looks horrifying to say the least and the crimson red shading and impressive use of shadows mixed with deathly looking faces is the stuff of nightmares.
The variant cover for this issue is by Kaare Andrews and my god it is gorgeous. I adore the watercolour-esque textures, the detail, the colours and the character positioning. Everything about this cover is perfect, I cannot fault it. I love how the Gotham skyline (assuming it is Gotham) glistens in the background, it is truly a magnificent piece and my favourite cover of the two I have to say.
Batman/Superman #21 opens up with Superman and Batman respectively take flight above the skies of Metropolis as the ‘World of Tomorrow’ burns at the hands of Etrigan who is diligently serving his master Auteur.10. Etrigan usurping control of Superman’s robots is a master stroke. What better way to cause mass destruction then by letting someone else do the hardwork.
After learning the full extent surrounding the crisis at hand, Batman begins to question his own existence and the role Auteur.10 played in his creation. This really is a sobering moment, questioning our role in the grand scheme of things can weight heavily upon ones shoulders, and seeing the unflappable Batman doing the same really adds effect.
Superman’s unwavering belief in something greater really does shine through in this issue, that kind of trust and belief in something more is awe-inspiring to say the least. This really is testament to his upbringing and the values he was rasied to uphold.
As the fighting intensifies Auteur.10 heightens the threat level by splicing a ‘Mammoth Quake Worm’ from the world known as ‘Alanna of the Planet Rann’ into the action alongside Etrigan’s robot army. This sequence of events is truly magnificent, the action and destruction is on a scale rarely seen. Ivan Reis’ artwork is on another level as the artist truly gets to stretch his legs and imagination in this sequence.
Superman utilising the full scope of his powers to destroy that which threatens his beloved city is awe-inspiring. Superman using his flight like a battering ram is scary stuff, especially when used in tandem with searing heat vision used to the same devastating effect.
The exhilarating action is effectively broken up by a quiet moment shared between the would-be World’s Finest inside the Fortress Of Solitude, which has never looked better thanks to Ivan Reis’ detailed artwork. I seriously got Richard Donner vibes from this moment which was greatly appreciated.
The peace is shattered by Etrigan who engages in an explosive confrontation with Batman and Superman. This encounter has it all – blistering action and hard hitting combat. Robin’ fear is palpable during this sequence of events. Batman’ encouragement in typical Batman’s style is like an injection of adrenaline straight to the heart, it’s exactly what The Boy Wonder needed and their relationship at this time is peak dynamic duo, both working in flawless unison.
After a timely truce is established, the forces of good faces off against Auteur.10 one final time in a closing third act that left me stunned. Batman/Superman #21 delivers a conclusion that is completely satisfying in every way. I simply adore how heroes like Alanna and El Diablo have stayed the course and continued to fight alongside Batman and Superman, the pairs chemistry is undeniable as they fight side by side. I love their relationship and was so happy to see the outcome, it’s clear that writer Gene Luen Yang certainly read the room in this regard.
Ivan Reis certainly has left the best until last with this issue, every page is a masterpiece full of blockbuster artwork captured gloriously via a plethora of splash pages and inventive page layouts. This series will surely be remembered for its creativity and ingenuity and I for one am excited to see what’s next for this incredible creative team.
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