Batman/Superman Vol. 1: Cross World by Greg Pak – Graphic Novel Review [Bane of Kings]
Milo, aka “Bane of Kings”, reviews the first Volume in the newly launched Batman/Superman title, featuring both characters from the New 52 and their first encounters with their Earth 2 counterparts. This book is published by DC Comics.
“A flawed book that can be cautiously recommended if you’re a fan of Jae Lee’s artwork – if not, this may be one to stay clear of – because Pak’s writing is not enough to salvage this book, which is a shame given the potential from the subject matter.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
The Dark Knight and The Man of Steel are close friends in the modern day – but the two weren’t always such close allies. In this first hardcover collecting BATMAN/ SUPERMAN #1-4 and JUSTICE LEAGUE #23.1: DARKSEID, learn how these two legends met for the first time in The New 52 as they launch into a mysterious adventure that takes them to the world of Earth 2!
I’ve been an avid reader of books from both the Batman and Superman line since when I started reading comics a year or so after the launch of the New 52 (2012-ish), and am practically reading all the main Superman books apart from Superman itself – which will be added to my pull-list starting with the Superman: Doomed event and continuing into Geoff Johns’ run. Batman’s titles are a bit hit and miss with me, but Detective Comics and Batman have been in stellar form for a while now, as have some of the family titles. It was only a matter of time that there was going to be a Batman/Superman book launched at DC Comics, especially given the fact that not only is there a Superman/Wonder Woman book on shelves right now, but also there’s an upcoming Batman/Superman movie.
However, this title feels a bit unnecessary. We already have multiple Batman books and multiple Superman books on shelves, and if Pak, the writer of this series, wanted to have Batman team up with Superman then he could just bring him in for an arc of Action Comics – which is also written by Pak. However, no – we get a new title featuring DC’s premiere heroes, which could be forgiven if it was a good read, but sadly, Batman/Superman, or at least its first outing, Cross World – falls short of the mark.
The book itself seems to heavily rely on the involvement with the Earth 2 Batman/Superman, looking at the first meeting between not only Clark and Bruce on the current DC ‘verse, but also between their counterparts in the other Universe, who – at the start of #1 of the Earth 2 title, are dead. We also had a problem in that given the first meeting between Clark and Bruce in the New 52 happened in Justice League right back at the start of the reboot in its first arc, we know that something must happen to wipe their memories unless there was a continuity change coming.
The plot of Batman/Superman is relatively straightforward. Clark and Bruce get sent to Earth 2 by a trickster named Kaiyo, where they encounter older versions of themselves. There isn’t much here beyond that and a fight and then their return to the main Earth, which is a shame, because the potential could have been so much better.
It doesn’t help that I’m not a big fan of the art as well. I know I’m probably in the minority, but Jae Lee’s artwork didn’t really draw my attention – instead, it was something that put me off reading the book in monthlies in the first place. However, I understand others love it – so if you’re a fan of Lee’s artwork then you might get more enjoyment out of this book than I did.
Like several writers, Greg Pak seems to be better at some books than others. His Action Comics book is currently the best Superman title right now, and if you want a good Superman/Batman book then you may have to look elsewhere. However, given the fact that some people may love Jae Lee’s artwork, this book can be cautiously recommended if you’re a fan – because this may appeal to you more than it did me – but for now, Batman/Superman is a miss, but given the chance that it may improve in future Volumes it may be worth sticking around for.