Superman/Batman #76 Review
- Published on Monday, 27 September 2010 20:11
- Written by Kevin
Superman/Batman is a title that I occasionally pick up. This is the only title where the solicit for each issue/arc determines if I will pick it up that month. It is because of the solicit for Superman/Batman #76 that I decided to pick this issue up as this will deal with the first “team-up” between Superman and Batman since Dick Grayson has taken over the role as Batman. This is something that I have been waiting for this title to get around to because Clark and Dick have a very different relationship than the one Clark and Bruce share. Now let’s check out Superman/Batman #76.
Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Marco Rudy
Inkers: Oclair Albert and Julio Ferrera
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Taking place right after Final Crisis, Superman delivers Bruce’s body to a shocked Nightwing and Robin. Both Nightwing and Robin cannot believe that Bruce is gone. After Dr. Mid-Nite verifies that it is Bruce’s body, Dick and Tim hold a special funeral for Bruce where only the JLA members, in their civilian identities, are invited.
Sometime later, Superman and Wonder Woman are in the JLA headquarters and notice on the monitor screen that there is a new Batman. Both of them quickly realize that Dick has become the new Batman. Superman does not like it and flies over to Gotham to confront Dick over his decision to be Batman.
Superman and Dick get into a huge argument as Superman believes that only Bruce can be Batman. The argument gets so intense that Superman threatens to rip the Batman costume off Dick. Not one to back down, Dick says he stands by his decision. Superman leaves after realizing that he is letting his anger control him.
Superman meets up with Wonder Woman and tells her about his fear of the deaths to those close to him. Wonder Woman reassures him that it is okay to feel bad because Superman just misses Bruce.
Later in the Batbunker, Superman meets Dick again and they both talk about Bruce and how he became Batman not because of his parent’s death, but because he was grateful he was spared. Superman apologizes for his outburst earlier, but says that Dick should get used to since Superman and Batman disagree a lot during team-ups. They then both shake hands. End of issue.
The Good: Superman/Batman #76 was a surprisingly great read. Judd Winick is a writer which I find myself either loving or hating his work. There is rarely any middle ground. I have enjoyed Winick's work on Batman, but hated his work on Outsiders and Red Hood: Lost Days. Thankfully, with this issue of Superman/Batman Winick brought his A-game and delivered what may be his best written comic book.
A lot of the problems I have with Winick’s work are that he either goes to extreme to provide shock value, such as his work on Outsiders, or is timid and holds back as he has been doing in Lost Days. But, here Winick shows the big strength of his writing which is that he understands these characters. Winick is better when handling a smaller cast.
This issue does a nice job displaying this as Winick mainly handles writing Batman (Dick Grayson), Superman and Wonder Woman. By being able to focus writing just these three characters, Winick is able to show his clear understanding of who each of these characters are and captures their voices as individuals. The dialogue is so spot on that it does not matter that there is no action in this issue.
Even though Superman acts out of character here with how he displays his anger over Dick taking over as Batman, Winick does a great job giving a reason for this outburst. Winick shows the reader that, while Clark and Bruce did not see eye to eye on many matters, at the end of the day they not only respected one another, but considered each other a friend. And outside of their respective supporting casts, Clark and Bruce were each other’s best friends.
And Winick does a good job using Bruce’s death as a way to humanize Superman without taking away his powers or making him go on a spirit walk (Sorry. I could not resist the JMS Superman jab). For all of Superman’s powers and all of the catastrophes that he is able to prevent, the one thing that he cannot beat is death. It is natural for Superman, a guy that is the last survivor of his own race, to be scared about outliving all those close to him and seeing them die. This is a side we do not see too often, but Winick absolutely nails. In the process, Winick helps to show readers who only see Superman as a unstoppable figure that he is actually human at his core.
I also like how during the confrontation with Superman that Winick did not have Dick back down from his decision to take over the mantle of Batman. Too often during his time as Batman we have heard Dick say that he is only Batman until Bruce comes back. This has the result of making Dick sound unconfident in the role as Batman. Because of that it was good to see that Dick stood up to Superman and even told him that being Batman is something he not only has to do, but wants to do in order to help preserve Bruce’s legacy.
What I was most impressed with in this issue was how Winick wrote Wonder Woman. I have never actually read anything where Winick has written Wonder Woman, if he even has, and I was very impressed with his understanding of her character. Winick does a solid job portraying her as a very empathetic character that proves to be the heart of the DCU. I liked that it was Diana who was the one to make Superman see what he did wrong and realize why he is so angry.
This is the first time I have been exposed to Marco Ruby’s artwork and I have to say I was very impressed. Ruby's art style is unique and is not the typical DC Comics superhero art style. Ruby’s art style is more on the gritty side and he is able to capture the darker moments of this issue quite well. Even though Ruby does have a darker style than the typical DC House style, Ruby does a great job capturing the right character models for Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. It is how they should look. However, I do mark Ruby's art down for not getting the right Robin suit and some awkward panels such as when Bruce gets shot with the Omega Beam.
The Bad: One of the things that keeps Superman/Batman #76 from being a 9 is that some of the dialogue that Winick uses for the argument between Clark and Dick comes off sounding like something from an Internet forum. While I only found this to be the case in the first page of the argument, I can see some readers viewinf the whole thing as taken from the internet debate of whether Bruce should be the only Batman or not.
The other problem, which is no fault from Winick, is that DC should have given us this issue before Return of Bruce Wayne was even announced. This is the type of issue and story that DC needed to have early on in order to establish Dick Grayson as Batman. Getting Dick, as Batman, to interact with Superman goes a long way to putting in the readers mind that Dick is not just a filler, especially with how he was able to stand up to Superman in this issue. But, because we are getting this issue just a few months before Bruce officially returns to the current DCU it does not have the same impact if we had gotten it early on during the start of Dick’s tenure as Batman.
Overall: I was impressed with Superman/Batman #76. Judd Winick delivered what may have been his best written comic ever. This is a quick one and done story that finally gives us the confrontation between Superman and Dick Grayson as the new Batman. It is something long overdue and proved to be very satisfying. If you are a Batman or Superman fan I recommend picking this up as it was a strong read that you will enjoy. And that is coming from someone who has not liked Winick work in recent years. So you know that is saying a lot.