Tuesday, April 12, 2005

SUPERMAN/BATMAN #18

Perchance an end to all this dystopia?

Back in November, Batman/Superman, Teen Titans, and JLA all unloaded horrible versions of a future world in the same week. The first two were arguably the more interesting -- I've done enough griping about JLA elsewhere -- and now both have drawn to a close, complete with repercussions. Teen Titans foreshadowed the return of Donna Troy and the... identity crisis of Superboy. Superman/Batman hints at more opaque events, but does mostly seem to enjoy recalling the past.

Absolute Power ends in a fashion consistent with how it ran -- heavy on the references with some questionable character moments in the thought-bubbles of the two protagonists. Bruce and Clark set things right with the timeline, bringing Saturn Queen, Cosmic King, and the Lightning Lord back to the Legion's justice -- funny how the adult Legion changes their names from Lass and Lad to Woman and Man, even though the decidedly adult team never bothered during the Levitz era -- and return to their own time. I really liked the resolution of the Ersatz Legionnaires' storyline (they did not travel back in time to rule the world, but instead to assure their own survival in their current timeline) until I thought about it for a second and got twisted up in the logic of why they'd disappear from their native timeline. But it does not matter.

Bruce and Clark travel back through a montage of important moments in DCU history -- and I have to confess that I didn't see their heads superimposed over the images until the third read-through; I couldn't tell where Batman's cowl began and the wooly mammoth ended) -- and, still rattled by what they've seen and done, seek out two of the heroes they'd killed. Diana is confused but accomodating and Ollie is cantankerous and apparently that's good enough. We end their story with the thoughtful pose over the Waynes' gravesite... and then take a detour to Pre-Crisis DCU for a really random shout-out to Alan Moore's Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? story. Old-skool Kal opened up the arc and closed it and neither appearance made a whole lot of sense beyond the possibility that it brought the number of references up to an even number.

I had several qualms with how the AU Bruce and Clark evolved -- I don't think Martha and Thomas Wayne raise a wastrel, among other moments -- and there wasn't a whole lot of depth to this investigation of how Batman (the archtype) and Superman (the archtype) are formed and remade. It was great for all of the references, but it didn't do much as a statement on the two foremost men in the DCU.

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