DC Sneak Peek: Batman/Superman

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DC rolled out even more sneak peeks for their upcoming “New” DCYOU as a result of Divergence. I have no idea how many versions of “new” we can get from DC. I guess this is now the new New 52? Who knows? Anyway, both Batman and Superman appear to have received unfortunate remakes in the wake of Convergence. And Batman/Superman is the double stuff Oreo cookie of awfulness. Will this sneak peek win me over and show me that the new directions for Superman and Batman were astute decisions by DC? Let’s find out!

Words: Greg Pak
Pencils: Ardian Syaf
Inks: Vicente Cifuentes
Colors: Ulises Arreola

Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with some villains using alien tech breaking into Wayne Tower. They hear Superman coming but do not fear him because Superman has lost his strength, invulnerability, heat vision and power of flight. Suddenly, Superman on a motorcycle crashes through the wall and into one of the villains. (Oh my god! It is a member of the Sons of Jor-El Motorcycle Club Metropolis Originals! Superman looks like Conner Kent and he has torn pieces of his cape wrapped around his hands like fingerless motorcycle gloves. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!) Superman (Can I really still call him “Superman?” I feel like I can’t.) takes down both of the villains.

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Suddenly, the wall explodes and in comes (Oh my god! It is Briareos Hecatonchires from Appleseed! Holy Shit!) Batman (Again, can I really still call this character “Batman?” I fell like I can’t.) Mecha Batman asks Superman “Who the hell are you?” Superman replies “Who the hell are you?” Mecha Batman responds “I am Batman! You are under arrest!” Mecha Batman punches Superman. Superman “replies “To hell with that!” (Yeah! Superman is kewl now. He curses! He is so edgy. So modern. Pure awesome sauce for the kidz.)

Superman astutely recognizes that Mecha Batman is NOT his friend nor is he Bruce Wayne. (Wonder what tipped him off?) Mecha Batman then uses a small handheld taser to make Superman ride the lightning. (Whaaaat? Mecha Batman has all this crazy armor, massive gauntlets, rocket launchers on his shoulders but he uses a small handheld taser?! That feature isn’t built into his ridiculously oversized mecha battle suit? Hilarious!!!!)

Superman decides to turn and run like a scalded dog. Superman says “Damn. Running? Superman doesn’t run. Something new every damn day.” (But…he does. Because you just did it. And more cursing! C’mon, Superman. Say “fuck.” Go on say it. You know you want to.) Superman rides off on his motorcycle. Mecha Batman gives chase. Superman then grabs a light pole to help him to perform a sudden 180 turn. His arm does not pop out of the socket but it hurts. Superman then rides his motorcycle into Mecha Batman and jumps off the bike at the last moment. Sadly, we see Mecha Batman walk out of the explosion unharmed. He walks toward Superman who is stunned and lying on the ground.

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Out of nowhere appears Lex Luthor on a small hover disk. Lex says that Superman is outclassed and has broken multiple laws. Lex tells Superman to tell them that he is working for Lex and be done with it. End of sneak peek.

The Good: The Batman/Superman sneak peek goes over like a massive fart on a first date. This malodorous sneak peek is unappealing and off-putting to the reader. This sneak peek was awful. I would call it 1990’s Image awful but that would be an insult to titles like Troll and Badrock. Still, I must satisfy The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity. Luckily, Syaf and Cifuentes combine to deliver some solid artwork. 

The Bad: The Batman/Superman sneak peek was laughably bad. I was chuckling and giggling through out this entire sneak peek. And at no point did Pak ever intend to make the reader laugh. But, that is what happened when the writing is so off the charts cheesy and overblown. This sneak peek felt like it should have been on The Onion. A 1990’s re-imagining of Batman and Superman parody designed to get laughs from the reader. Sadly, DC and Pak are not delivering a parody. Nor is this intended to be a joke. Instead, it is just a mind numbing uncreative and bad re-imagining of these two characters.

The dialogue is terrible. It is wooden at best and unintentionally campy at worst. I’m confident that I have watched 1980’s action movies with better dialogue than this sneak peek. The character work was utterly non-existent. Superman and Mecha Batman’s characters have the depth of a bird bath and the complexity of a Fischer Price baby toy. Let me be clear, I like Pak. His work over at Marvel was fantastic. His work on this sneak peek? It reads like he dashed it out on toilet paper while having his daily constitutional. There is clearly zero effort being put into this. I would classify this as a scenario where the writer is being told what to do by the editorial staff and is simply collecting a paycheck and mailing it in with the story.

Honestly, it is sad to see DC flailing about so pathetically in public. The New 52 caused a temporary sales spike and then absolutely crashed and burned and turned into a miserable sales nightmare. DC, in full panic mode, has continued to throw as much shit on the wall of rate past few years without any sense of internal logic or planning. The latest shit to be thrown on the wall is in the form of the “new” DCYOU spinning out of Convergence in the hopes that something, anything, will stick. DC has no idea who they are. They do not have an honest and good handle on who their characters are outside of Batman.

Mecha Batman is just a cheap gimmick. Mecha Batman looks dated and comes across as cheesy. This character appears to have as much depth and charisma as a piece of balsa wood. Pak completely failed to get me to become even slightly interested in this hackneyed version of Batman. I was completely bored with Mecha Batman by the end of this sneak peek and had no interest in coming back for more of this character. The real Batman will return shortly because that is how DC makes their money.

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Superman? That is a different story. DC clearly has no clue what to do with Superman. It is stunning that DC has no handle on arguably their most iconic character. It is clear that DC has zero confidence in Superman’s character and feel that he is no longer relevant in the current landscape of the comic book industry. I disagree. Superman in his classic and iconic form can be an entertaining and quality read. It just requires the proper writer and some good story ideas. Comics are not rocket science.

Now, will Superman ever be the #1 selling comic book for DC? No. That ship has sailed long ago. Superman is no longer the financial tent pole for DC. Superman is no longer the creative tent pole for DC. Superman is no longer the center of the DCU. Batman is all of those things. And Batman has been those things for quite some time. And that is ok. DC needs to understand this and accept it. Putting all that aside, the fact remains that Superman can still be a solid selling title for DC. Superman can still be a franchise that powers multiple characters and numerous different titles that all deliver solid sales numbers. However, constantly “re-inventing” Superman’s character every year is a recipe for failure. DC needs to acknowledge who Superman is and embrace it.

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Superman as an extra from Sons of Anarchy went over like a turd in the punch bowl. I had this song running on a loop the entire time I read this sneak peek. Superman grimaces and glowers in a surly fashion like a teenager at the family dinner table. Someone should tell DC that having Superman act like a combination of a grumpy teenager and a 1990’s Image character is not how you make the character “relevant.”

Overall: Batman/Superman sneak peek was a train wreck. This sneak peek read like it was written by a 13-year-old boy from the 1990’s. Nothing in this sneak peek would ever be confused with anything original and interesting. If this is what DC has in store for their two biggest franchises then they are officially creatively spent and this is their white flag issuing out a surrender to the reader. My guess is that we get these versions of Batman and Superman up until the release of the Batman v. Superman movie.