A Batman and Superman team-up is one thing that’s been thoroughly explored over the years, but there is still a certain magic when it’s done right. At its core, the team-up works because of the two leads' opposing philosophies and personalities. The more successful pairings highlight that specific contrast and spotlight how each hero balances the other for the best. The latest example of this is Batman/Superman #1 from writer Joshua Williamson and artist David Marquez. Thus far it seems DC Comics has captured that magic once more.
While Batman and Superman are unquestionably the stars of this series, your mileage will vary depending on how enjoyable you find The Batman Who Laughs. The Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo creation is given a sizable spotlight here and will be the main villain of the series. That also means other Dark Multiverse versions of heroes will follow, and you don’t even have to go past the first issue to get a taste of what’s promised.
That’s not a bad thing by any means, at least not for me, but those who aren't invested in the character or Dark Multiverse may want a little less Batman Who Laughs and a bit more of the World’s Finest. Personally, I think Williamson does a lovely job of delivering the necessary set up for those who aren’t familiar with the character, while also letting the dynamics between the heroic duo shine. It’s all thanks to a delightful inner monologue.
Some of the best team-ups between Batman and Superman give fans a glimpse at what both are thinking in the moment, and Williamson has that trick down pat. He sold me from the opening encounter, as the trade-off between the two—their opinions and assumptions about what the other is feeling—was spot on. For those who loved Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness’ run on their Batman/Superman, you’ll find plenty to like here.
Before going any further, I have to shine a light on David Marquez’s gorgeous pencils. Seriously, this man was born to draw Superman (just look at the gorgeous panel of Superman flying through the sky below for proof), and his Batman isn’t too shabby either. At times I wished the coloring by Alejandro Sanchez was a bit more vibrant, but the style and tone fits the book’s darker themes as the story moves forward and shines brightest towards the end of the book, especially within The Batman Who Laughs’ demented Batcave. Everything about the Batson sequence is also fire.
While the dialogue is mostly great, there are a few clunky lines here and there, mostly as the two heroes are fighting The Batman Who Laughs’ army of drones. However, the honest moments between the pair (like Superman’s sentimentality comments) more than make up for this. As for that hook on the last page, if things like it continue to pop up, this might end up being one of DC Comics’ most entertaining books of the fall and should definitely be on your radar.
Batman/Superman doesn’t do anything shockingly different, but instead hones in on what already works about Batman and Superman, and does so with equal doses of humor and edge. The inclusion of The Batman Who Laughs, and others like him, gives the book a shot of fresh energy and creates a space that makes it necessary for this powerful pair to rely on one another even more throughout this process. The series' title carries high expectations and Batman/Superman #1 meets those expectations head-on.
Published by DC Comics
On August 28, 2019
Written By: Joshua Williamson
Art By: David Marquez
Colored By: Alejandro Sanchez
Lettered By: John J. Hill
Cover by David Marquez and Alejandro Sanchez