Batman/Superman #20 is my favourite issue from this incredible run to date. Writer Gene Luen Yang is once again joined by Ivan Reis as the pair rain down hell, fire and brimstone on ‘The World of Tomorrow’. This is the issue I’ve been waiting for and it doesn’t fail to deliver.
The main cover by Ivan Reis, Danny Miki and Sabine Rich incorperates the aforementioned hell, fire and brimestone perfectly as Etrigan and his horde battle Batman and Superman. I love how the film reel that showcases our story on the inside is presented on the cover. I love that kind of connectivity especially when it starts to burn in sequence with the action. Etrigan has never looked better as he orchestrates the ensuing violence and Danny Miki’s colours adds searing heat to an already combustible scenario.
The variant cover created by Jenny Frison is gorgeous. It truly encapsulates the theme of Batman and Superman being two sides of the same coin, as both characters demonstrate quintessential poses. I simply adore how Superman is gazing off into the distance. This is a very thought provoking piece that can be left open to interpretation.
Batman/Superman #20 picks up directly on from where the previous issue left off with our heroes saving the day alongside El Diablo in the reality known as ‘The Desert of Doom’. I love spending time on this world. Superman pulling along a locomotive full of passengers in the wild west is exactly what I’m here for when it comes to alternate reality storytelling. Everything looks and feels authentic during this sequence of events, from the clothing to the engineering and everything in between, you can tell Ivan Reis has left no stone unturned when researching this distinct era in history.
As promised by Auteur 10 himself in the previous issue, the keeper of The Archive of Worlds looks to unleash literal hell upon Superman and ‘The World of Tomorrow’ in the form of Etrigan. The exchange between these two twisted beings is totally engaging. Etrigan’s rhyming dialogue is just so clever, every word, every rhyme is integral to the character getting what he wants and he is presented so well in this issue, this is certainly the most evil incarnation of the character I’ve seen.
Well, Etrigan certainly sticks to his end of the bargain as he rains down terror upon the streets of Metropolis. I simply adore how the film reel that has been showcasing our story begins to burn and deteriorate just as Metropolis does. Ivan Reis’ artwork is simply incredible as Etrigan and his demon horde descend upon the streets. Fire and brimstone engulfs Metropolis as her citizens scatter in fear. Ivan Reis captures wide scale panic and fear with ease, these events truly feel cataclysmic.
It’s not long before our heroes discover a way to traverse The Archive of Worlds and locate ‘The World of Tomorrow’. This is presented via two awe-inspiring splash pages that only Ivan Reis could achieve. The intricate detail and immense design is phenomenal as reel upon reel of alternate realities intertwine and collide. The choas our heroes land in is palpable as terror envelopes the streets. I love how our heroes get right to it and begin to save the denizens of Metropolis. Once such citizen who is more than capable of standing up for herself is Lois, I love how she is presented. She isn’t phased in the least by the odds that are stacked against her and her dialogue is defiant to the very end which of course is quintessential Lois Lane.
Another relationship that is being built and developed before our very eyes is between El Diablo and Alanna. Their back and forth banter is really engaging. There is a real chemistry between the pair that is evident throughout the issue. Her concern for him when attacked by demons was a great reaction that I want to see more of.
Ivan Reis is back and creating the best artwork of his career. Every page is full of dynamic artwork that jumps off the page. Seeing Robin joyfully ride on the back of Superman while Batman is stoically carried beneath is just so much fun. Ivan Reis’ ability to switch between emotions is evident when Robin is attacked by demons. This was a very harrowing moment for the young man and a stark reminder of the level of threat our heroes are facing.
Batman/Superman #20 is a phenomenal read full of engaging dialogue and all out action. Writer Gene Luen Yang really understands the dicotomy between Batman and Superman. I love seeing Batman react to Superman’s hope and optimism, and Batman’s cynicism is there for all to see. However cracks are beginning to appear which of course we all know will give way to respect and admiration down the line. Seeing Robin already react in this way is just so heart-warming. This really foreshadows the pairs bond especially considering Superman’s heritage inspired Robins Nightwing persona.
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