Sunday, July 13, 2014

Batman-Superman by Greg Pak issue #4

Well, this is unfortunate. The last two issues were great follow-ups to the lukewarm premise of the first issue but this one, which concludes the story, is not as spectacular as I hoped--and the shameful thing is it could have stuck its landing if only it didn't succumb to a mediocre resolution that was so predictably bland that it deeply saddened me. Greg Pak's Batman-Superman run has potentials but I felt like the writing is not pushing itself enough to stand out and truly make a statement. I'm one of those fans who consider the World's Finest pairing to be the best thing there is in comics, but it's fair to say that their titular team-ups haven't always lived up to the fanfare. 

Not everyone likes World's Finest storylines though or consider them their cup of tea, even among hardcore fans of either hero. I can understand why most would overlook or despise altogether this New 52 title because history of Bat-Sups team-ups outside JLA have proved to be disappointing.

Issue #4 could have defied that long-held belief. It certainly had the makings of it. I cannot emphasize more just how enjoyable and insightful Pak's characterizations of the Batmen and Supermen have been, even if the plot was wearing rather thinly. This issue has exposed those flaws more than ever which is why it failed to deliver a satisfying conclusion to an otherwise intriguing premise. Jae Lee's art was also the perfect complement to Pak's meditative monologues and narrative, making the story visually engrossing even when the possibility of the pacing dragging has always been present.  

I'm just really disappointed that Pak decided to close with that cliche of an ending. It completely undoes all the build-up he had established in the last three issues. The most redeeming part of these four issues will always remain the characterizations and interplay between Batman and Superman, both in their respective counterparts for New 52 and Earth-2. I could tell that he did put a lot of thought and care in making sure that he is able to write their relationship with the emotional weight and resonance that these two amazingly complex characters and allies deserve--and that is all I could really hope for as a fan. I believe that Batman-Superman team-ups should happen more frequently and with integrity.

The very set-up of this issue starts all right but it was really the ending that failed it. I can only hope that Pak works on his narrative framework and plot ideas more in the coming issues because I still plan to read more of this title. I'll be reviewing the collected edition Cross World first volume after this, in fact, because I would still recommend Batman-Superman to people but, in doing so, I feel like that it should come with a warning label so readers can calibrate their expectations better.


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