Unlike other Future State comics that have been set in the far future where things are radically different, Batman/Superman is set at the beginning of the massive upheaval that changes the DC Universe. On the one hand, it’s a sad moment of the last gasps of a DC Universe that doesn’t completely suck, but on the other hand, it’s great to see the real Batman and Superman working together again even if it might be for the last time.
Mixing in a few beats from the Future State stories swirling around the DCU, Gene Luen Yang gives us a story of a new face-changing drug making its way to Metropolis from Gotham City. Arriving in Gotham, he finds that The Magistrate has moved in and the drones with facial recognition technology are in use, putting Batman in greater peril. Superman provides some muscle while Batman searches for information on the new drug and the two get separated, leading to the cliffhanger event which might or might not lead to Superman’s disappearance in those Future State comics.
Yang isn’t one of DC Entertainment’s writers brought in to shape the future of the comic book line, he’s an actual comic book writer, and it shows with his ability to craft an honest-to-goodness comic book narrative that feels like it might as well be the current issue of the ongoing series. If this issue had arrived with my weekly pulls, I’d be a bit confused about the Magistrate stuff, but I’d otherwise be fine with the story and just assume it’s a story beat that will get explained later.
Ben Oliver lends his talents to the art and Arif Prianto gives us the colors, and these two together make one of the best teams DC Comics has. Each page is dynamic, each panel looks stunning, and each character stands out as a unique individual. If these two team up again for another book and are given a decent writer and character to work with, I’ll certainly give it a try.
In the midst of all the turmoil and problems at DC, it’s nice to see a gem like this slip through and make it to the stands where it can be appreciated for simply being a good super-hero comic book. There’s no agenda, no checklist, no forced groupthink… Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne get to be heroes and put their lives on the line to save others, and it’s done in a well-crafted story with good looking artwork. It doesn’t get much better than this.