Batman/Superman #19 picks up from where the previous issue left off with Batman and Superman from Earth-0 trapped inside of the Phantom Zone crystal courtesy of Auteur 10. It’s up to Batman and Robin from the ‘World Of The Knight’ and Superman from the ‘World of Tomorrow’ to save the day.
This is represented wonderfully on the main cover as the pair continue to traverse Auteur 10’s ‘Archive of Worlds’. Batman and Superman look incredible as the duo find themselves on horse back being chased by Auteur 10’s Archivists in The Wild West. This cover instantly took me back to the glory days of DC Comics Elseworlds tales from the 1990’s. The attention to detail Ivan Reis has put into the pairs attire is phenomenal. Reis has captured all of the their signatures motifs while keeping their current attires authentic.
The variant cover is created by Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion and FCO Plascencia is the perfect pin up piece. The creative team utilise negative space and the shadows so effectively to create a real sense of intimidation. This goes double for Superman as he hovers above the Gotham skyline. This is truly a great and striking piece.
After a devastating encounter with Dr Atom, Auteur 10 is forced to retreat into the ‘Archive of Worlds’ himself. This whole sequence is full of multiversal madness that looks and feels like a quintessential DC crisis level event. Auteur 10 feels like a legitimate threat as he augments his size and incapacitates both Batman and Superman. Right now, Auteur 10 feels like an anti-monitor style villain and I’m really enjoying the similarities.
Dr Atom, who’s character was flushed out in the previous issue really makes an impact in Batman/Superman #19. Writer Gene Luen Yang has created a very layered and unique character, who’s actions transcend a black or white way of thinking. Dr Atom lives in the many shades of grey that come with living under the heel of a being such as Auteur 10.
As Auteur 10 retreats, our heroes aren’t far behind as they follow him into an unexplored timeline known as ‘Alanna Of The Planet Rann!’. This portion of the issue is very exciting indeed as we are witness to Mammoth Quake Worms attacking the planet. This is topped by the re-emergence of Auteur 10 who has taken the form of a giant Kaiju like creature and our heroes who are now joined by the heroic Alanna defend the city and attempt to subdue Auteur 10 for good.
This whole sequence has the look and feel of a big budget sci-fi blockbuster. Alanna and her father ‘Scientist Prime’ Sardath have quickly become my favourite characters from this story arc to date. Their enthusiasm to help fight the good fight is undeniable even in the face of the unknown. I love the design of the city and its technology and the weapon Sardath uses on Auteur 10 looks great and has a real retro comics feel to it.
As the issue continues, Auteur 10 flees to the world featured on the cover known as ‘El Diablo In The Desert Of Doom’. I love everything about this part of the story, the landscape, the clothing, the transportation. Everything feels authentic and unique to this most distinctive period in history. The backdrop of this story being a high speed locomotive making its way through the frontier is a quintessential Western trope. This works beautifully for our story and adds a real sense of adventure.
As Auteur 10 takes a critical hit at the hands of the charismatic El Diablo, the audience finally gets a thorough and in depth look at the origin of Auteur 10. I was absolutely captivated by this extremely unique origin and writer Gene Luen Yang has created yet another multifaceted character who has unique motivations all of his own.
I was initially disappointed to see that Ivan Reis was off art duties, but the team of Emanuela Lupacchino, Steve Lieber, Darick Robertson and Kyle Hotz have done a wonderful job of creating engaging and seamless artwork. The artwork isn’t too different, though it is rather noticeable. With that said it is incredibly vibrant and perfectly depicts our heroes and villains in this epic issue.
Batman/Superman #19 is yet another phenomenal entry in this most dynamic of story arcs, and writer Gene Luen Yang’s creativity and imagination continues to inspire as he takes the action in directions I never would have thought possible. Batman and Superman relying on their newly discovered peers such as El Diablo and Alanna only adds to the threat level they are facing. This automatically raises the stakes making this feel like a crisis level event. Thanks to the final turn of the page, I cannot wait to see what Gene Luen Yang has in store for us next. I’m pretty sure anything is possible.
**The above links are affiliates, which mean I will earn commission from any products bought via these links**