by Drew Baumgartner
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
There are lots of reasons to love superhero comics. Maybe you’re in it for the high-wire action or the sci-fi worlds. Maybe you’re in it for the superhuman feats or the super human morals. There are as many reasons to love superheroes as there are superhero fans, but I think at some level, every fan must share some real affection for these characters, and perhaps even a childlike desire to be them. Those aspirations usually exist off the page, taking shape in our minds as we read, but Tom King and Clay Mann have found an elegant way to address the phenomenon in-universe: making Batman and Superman fans of one another.
“Fan” is probably not quite right — it’s more of a profound mutual respect — but that doesn’t mean there’s not something inherently relatable when these guys don each others’ costumes. Like us, they’re dressing up like their favorite superhero.
Oh, did I mention this issue is hilarious? Less the kind of grim self-seriousness we’ve come to expect of Batman stories, this issue manages to capture the irreverent fun of a night out with friends. And there are plenty of jokes for fans, too, from Batman mentioning kicking trees (to everyone’s confusion) to King highlighting the difference in the origins of their costumes.
There’s plenty of meaningful character work, as both Bruce and Selina are given the opportunity to talk to someone about their relationship, broadening our understanding of what it is that they love about one another. There aren’t any big surprises there, but King manages to reframe them in ways that make innate sense to Clark and Lois, eventually earning their approval.
But, as if to remind us that this issue is ultimately about the fun of throwing Batman and Superman together, we end on a much more fanciful note, as Bruce challenges Clark to try and strike him out. It’s silly nonsense, but that’s the point. Indeed, Superman emphasizes that it’s impossible before his first pitch. Batman hits it, anyway, reminding us that doing the impossible is another one of those things we love about superheroes.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?