REVIEW: Batman/Superman Annual #1

The Batman/Superman Annual #1 is finally here and who would win in a fight between Batman and Superman? This age old question has been debated for the longest time within the geek community. Well, that debate has finally spilled over into The Fifth Dimension home to none other than Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite who look to end this age old debate once and for all. After all, who better to do so than Batman and Superman’s biggest fans!

The cover for this issue is created by Gabriel Rodriguez and Alejandro Sanchez. It depicts Batman and Superman battling each other inside of a twisted Colosseum surrounded by their greatest foes who are more than happy to witness the demise of The World’s Finest. Straight off the bat, this is a really dark cover to say the least. Watching Batman and Superman beat each other into bloody submission is harrowing considering the bond these two share.

The clever use of blood on this cover really highlights the lengths Batman in particular is willing to go to to hurt The Man Of Steel. Knowing that Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyzptlk are involved, you just know there is more to this fight than meets the eye. This makes the fight between our heroes all the more tragic. Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyzptlk look very sinister on this cover. The pairs more playful, mischievous side has definitely been switched out for a more chilling and deliberate edge. James Wan would have a field day with these two.

Batman/Superman Annual #1 - The Aspiring Kryptonian
Photo Credit: DC Entertainment

Batman/Superman Annual #1 depicts Bat-mMite and Mr.Mxyzptlk furiously debating who would win in a fight between Batman and Superman. Bat-Mite sides with The World’s Greatest Detective while Mr. Mxyzptlk defends the honor of The Man Of Steel. Not being able to reach a general consensus, Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyzptlk each resort to type and concoct a scenario in which their chosen champion beats the other and thus determining a winner.

The first tale told from Bat-Mite’s perspective is named ‘Superman: Whatever Happened To The Man Who Destroyed Everything?’ This story chronicles the untimely demise of the Multiverse due to Superman’s presence on Earth. According to Bat-Mite, this would naturally bring Batman into conflict with The Man Of Steel with Batman eventually coming out on top.

The second story told from Mr. Mxyzptlk’s perspective is called, ‘The Dark Knight Dies’. It’s here that things become much more intriguing to say the least. As the debate intensifies between Bat-Mite and Mxy, the structure of their stories and how they relate to each other becomes very ‘Meta’ indeed. Both Bat-Mite and Mxy take on the role of the reader as they dissect our beloved heroes motivations and character traits. Much to the chagrin of Mxy who simply wants Superman to pulverize Batman. Do you blame him?

As the annual progresses the pair’s grasp over their continually evolving narrative begins to unravel as their seemingly harmless tales of one-upmanship are revealed to be more than what they appear to be. This leads to a very satisfying conclusion to a very entertaining annual.

I absolutely adored this annual. It really solidifies Batman and Superman’s partnership. They never give up on each other no matter what. This very much highlights Mxyzptlk and Bat-mite’s lack of understanding regarding the bond that they share. Series writer Joshua Williamson has crafted a truly relevant tale while utilizing a pair of potentially convoluted characters in a very palatable manner. Bat-Mite and Mxyzptlk are two of DC Comics’ oldest characters with a lot of history behind them. Joshua Williamson has provided them with dialogue and narrative that is very easy to enjoy especially in a format such as an annual or one shot. 

Artists Gleb Melnikov, Dale Eaglesham and Clayton Henry have combined forces to create a gorgeous annual full of dynamic artwork that accentuates each segment. Our time spent in The Fifth Dimension feels very ethereal and other-worldly thanks to Gleb Melnikov’s animated art style. Dale Eaglesham delivers a distinctly darker and gritty tone which reflects the violent subject matter which occurs within the pages of this issue. Series regular Clayton Henry provides a real animated art style which totally dynamic and full of flair, which really adds to the issue.

Batman/Superman Annual #1 was a really fun issue, which I feel really breaks up the narrative in a good way. It gives us a few moments to laugh at, as well as a lot to think about. Like I mentioned, the premise of this issue is an age old argument which nearly all of us DC fan’s have had. Did Williamson’s take on the debate match your thoughts?

Haven’t picked up Batman/Superman Annual #1 yet? You can pick up the standard cover by Gabriel Rodriguez here (UK) or here (US).

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