REVIEW: Batman/Superman #9

Batman/Superman #9 is a good old fashioned murder mystery taking place in none other than Gotham City. Due to the scene of the crime being located in Gotham, its no surprise that its The Dark Knight who features prominently in this issue.

As usual, before we go into the issue itself, let’s take a look at the covers. Firstly, the standard cover by Clayton Henry is fantastic. The cover perfectly encapsulates the contents of the issue. The intricate details on the suits of both Batman and Superman are excellent, from muscle definition to poses. Not to mention the incredibly realistic detail on the face of a dying Atomic Skull. That artwork and detail combined with colours by Alejandro Sanchez just really make this artwork stand out, and really adds that final touch. This really is a great cover.

Batman/Superman #9 Review
Photo Credit: DC Entertainment

As for the variant cover, wow. This cover is by Mike Mayhew and my god it is glorious. There’s something about it that reminds me of action figure photography. I love the realistic details and shading, it really is perfect. I do have one question though… how the hell did Batman get up there with Superman?

Batman/Superman #9 Variant Cover
Photo Credit: DC Entertainment

The issue starts off with a murder down at Gotham Harbor, but things soon escalate as a hysterical ‘Atomic Skull’ quickly bursts onto the scene. The former Superman villain who recently turned his life around finds Batman and tells him of a nefarious plot that not only targets The World’s Finest but ties into our body discovered at the start of the issue. Events take a decidedly explosive turn for the worst which quickly attracts the attention Superman.

Batman/Superman #9 is a fantastic read. Like with ‘Man of Tomorrow’ this issue of Batman/Superman has decided to focus on a very intriguing Superman villain who rarely gets the spotlight shone on them.

Atomic Skull formerly known as Albert Michaels was created by Gerry Conway and legendary Superman artist Curt Swan in 1978. Michaels is a former employee of S.T.A.R Labs who turned to a life of crime after a radioactive blast turned him into The Atomic Skull. However, in recent years he has decided to walk the righteous path as a prison warden working at Strykers penitentiary and even as a member of the Metropolis PD.

I love it when a story-arc shines a light on a character who has undergone a metamorphosis such as this. Change after all is constant and any character good or bad can choose to walk a different path. Batman’s response to the characters erratic behaviour is just perfect.

The Dark Knight showcases the perfect amount of pragmatism and empathy during this exchange. Batman very much stays true to his character in the face of harrowing conditions that come to a heartbreaking conclusion. Writer Joshua Williamson does a wonderful job of building up Atomic Skull into an honest and sympathetic character who I found myself really routing for.

Superman soon arrives on the scene in typical heroic fashion. Superman is at his finest when he is saving lives and rescuing those in need. The exchange between Superman and Batman in this issue now that their course has been set due to the Atomic Skulls information is fascinating.

The pair synchronise instantly. For two such distinctly different characters, Batman and Superman really do complement each other perfectly in this issue. Both characters utilise their key skills perfectly in unison. This gives the duo a real sense of history and depth.

Batman/Superman #9 is a really quick but highly enjoyable read. Writer Joshua Williamson has crafted a story that flows beautifully full of mystery and intrigue. I love the dialogue the writer has given to The Atomic Skull. You really do feel sorrow for a character who deserves his redemption. This is evident in every emotional line delivered.

I must say, I am rather unfamiliar with the artist on this issue, however I can safely say I’m an instant fan. Clayton Henry’s artwork is an absolute joy to behold. The artwork is bold and full of detail. Every page is full of wonder. I cannot speak highly enough of this artist.

The combat in this issue is just so fluid and hard-hitting. Batman moves like an athlete at his peak. Superman certainly benefits from Clayton Henry’s dynamic artwork. Powers such as flight and strength look remarkable as Superman shines in this issue. Henry’s artwork is complemented beautifully with colours by Alejandro Sanchez. Every page is rich with vivid and intense colours that breathe life into every page. The radiation that pours from Atomic Skull is almost tangible.               

This Batman/Superman series has been incredibly exciting and a joy to read throughout and I’m eager to see where this story goes.

Haven’t picked up your issue of Batman/Superman #9 yet? You can pick up the standard cover by Clayton Henry here.

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