The first six issues of Superman/Batman (reviewed here, here and here at the Bureau, in greater detail at E2, and with pics at my site) undid many of the post-Crisis changes in the DC Universe, and restored a Silver-Agesque sensibility. The seventh issue presented a stand-alone story which principally concerned Robin and Superboy.
The next six issues brought back the one missing Silver Age element: the Supergirl from Krypton.
Title: Superman/Batman #8-13
Author: Jeph Loeb
Illustrator: Michael Turner.
A Kryptonian teenager, apparently Superman’s biological cousin, arrives on Earth, a short time after the most recent (non-Kryptonian) incarnations of the character disappeared. Is she a hero, or part of an elaborate plot by Darkseid?
If you read on, expect spoilers, including the answer to that question.
1. Number 9’s handling of Superman and Batman’s different feelings about this new Girl of Steel. The dispute continues until the final issue, but Loeb handles it best here, and #9 provides some genuine suspense, which will be utterly destroyed if you continue to read this review.
2.The brief possibility that Supergirl might be re-introduced only to become a Darkseid-allied villain. That would have been original.
3.The apparent ordinariness of the Justice League repairing the Kents’ farm in #13. These two panels convey a real sense of, yeah, being in the Justice League ain’t all high-falutin’ superheroing….
The handling of the Vulcan High Command, when it would have been far more impressive if…. Okay, sorry. I’ll wait until the Mob posts his review of Enterprise next week.
1. It’s not so much that re-introducing the Maid of Might as a butt-kicking naked blonde teen super-babe in #8 is shamelessly exploitive, though it is. It’s the fact that doing so really doesn’t make sense within the world of the comic. DC clearly did this to pander to a certain breed of fanboy, and it worked; I think this issue has been reprinted twice already. Furthermore, Turner draws her differently than he does the other characters. All anime eyes and elongated, anorexic body, Kara Zor-El seems out of place.
2. The underlying fear that Streaky the Super-cat will reappear next.
Originality: 2/6 Supergirl returns, gets a slightly different outfit. Darkseid plots and, while Superman and Wonder Woman throw punches, Batman saves the day with impossibly clever thinking (even if Bruce Wayne is bright enough to figure out an alien computer system, there’s no way he could reprogram it in the time allowed. Some things even Batman shouldn’t be able to do) and a hard-nosed gamble.
Supergirl’s death? A ploy– though this time, it’s the Man of Steel who is responsible.
Sound original to you?
Artwork: 4/6 Often quite effective, though Supergirl herself seems more distorted than the others. Additional comments may be found under “Low Point.”
Story: 4/6 It moves along nicely. The narration, at times, can be over-the-top, even for a superhero comic.
In the end, Supergirl lives and Superman vanquishes Darkseid, this time for good.
Does anyone buy that second point?
Characterization: 4/6 The characterization has been fairly good in this series, in a cheesy comic-book sort of way.
Emotional response: 3/6 There’s nothing new here, though Loeb continues to give Batman and Superman a four-color sense of humanity.
Flow 4/6 The cliffhanger endings to each issue start to grate after awhile, especially since their apparent significance is generally reversed a couple pages into each subsequent issue. However, this story arc proves far less clunky and clumsy than the second half of the #1-6 story arc.
In total, Superman/Batman #8-13 receive a score of 25/42.
Supergirl’s illustrated history, including the new outfit, can be found here, at the Retcon Files.
Nope, I haven’t posted any of #8’s cheesecake shots.