I haven’t been excited for a new series in a long time. I’ll admit I thought I was going to be disappointed but reading Issue #1 of The New 52 Batman/Superman has given me a sense of hope that good things are to come.
I would be lying if I were to say that I understand the pressure and stress that Greg Pak must have felt having to create dialogue for the two iconic characters. I admire him for being able to pull it off. It was a situation where it was going to turn out amazing like it did versus ending up very terribly and then having to be known as “that guy” that couldn’t follow through. I don’t think some readers realize how “rough” some of these writer’s have it when they have to live under someone’s shadow until they are given the chance to shine.
Pak did a great job giving each character a unique voice and that uniqueness is extended through visual imagery by both Jae Lee’s and Ben Oliver’s art work. The reader is continually introduced to two-sides and duality seems to be the theme of this issue. On the one side of the spectrum you have a pessimist with a doom and gloom kind of attitude and on the other side you have an optimist who almost looks like an angel walking through the “gates of hell” as he enters Gotham City. During the fight scene between Batman and Superman the reader isn’t just witnessing a simple fight; for me it felt like it was a ritualistic dance as Pak weaves his masterpiece. The two-page spread in the middle of the issue as shown below is a visual tapestry of the two iconic characters weaved into a single entity. “We only survive by coming together” Kent says at the very start of the story and that’s going to be their strength.
There really isn’t much to say about the art that most of you don’t already know. Anyone that knows Jae Lee’s work knows that his work is breath-taking and that he is at his peak. Many are upset that he did not handle the art from cover to cover but I feel that Ben Oliver was a great choice as a fill-in artist for the second half of the issue. Oliver’s photo-realistic style fits really well with the story line and I didn’t feel that there was a need for him to hold up to Lee’s work. His backgrounds felt a bit lacking but in the end I think it worked to his advantage because by the time the reader gets to the end of the issue he/she is focused on the characters and any additional detail would take away from that focus. The colourists June Chung and Daniel Brown also played a huge part in bringing the art to life and I feel did a phenomenal job complimenting Lee’s and Oliver’s work.
Overall I feel that this is a series worth spending your money on even though there was only 25 pages of content. At the back of the issue there are two variant covers as bonus material and you get a peek at next month’s cover!