As “Super League” continues in Batman/Superman #31, we get a enjoyable, if bit disjointed, second chapter of the final Superman story.
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Doug Mahnke and Jamie Mendoza
Colored by Wil Quintana
Published by DC Comics
Last time in “Super League”: Superman has discovered that thanks to all the extreme situations he has found himself in as of late, he is dying. Having accepted his fate, Superman is trying to help as many people as possible while also saying his good-byes and making sure that the world will still have heroes.
When is first heard that the New 52 version of the Man of Steel was dying, I have to be up front in that I didn’t really care all that much. Unlike Batman and Wonder Woman, Superman has been a mess ever since the New 52 launched. A carousel of creative teams, changing direction seemingly with every issue and the fact that this Superman was generally unlikeable made for a hero I didn’t give a squat about.
But I did enjoy the first part of “Super League” in Superman #51, mostly due to the presence of writer Peter J. Tomasi, who’s writing I adored when he worked on Batman and Robin. The man had such a clear understanding of Batman that some months I actually enjoyed Batman and Robin more than Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman.
Shocking, I know.
So naturally I was stoked to read Batman/Superman #31, which would see Tomasi reunited with the Dark Knight for part two of “Super League”. And while seeing his Batman again was very nice, two chapters in and I am already getting excited for his work on the post-Rebirth Superman title.
Not that Batman/Superman #31 was perfect, because it wasn’t. There were some pacing issues and a couple subplots that felt like they came out of left field that didn’t really seem to have anything to do with the story at hand. However, knowing that Tomasi is writing the entire “Super League” crossover, I’m more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and play along.
But I can already tell that Tomasi has a pretty firm grasp of who Superman is and what makes him tick. Even though in the new twice-monthly Superman title Tomasi will be writing the adventures of the Pre-Flashpoint Superman, you can see already he knows what makes for a great Man of Steel comic.
Doug Mahnke is an artist that should be much, much more popular than he is, because the man is an amazing artist. His style in unique and the way he constructs a scene is unlike anything else you will see. For Batman/Superman #31, he uses double-page spreads to great effect, capturing the action as only he can. The issue is almost all action but the scene in the Batcave where Alfred thanks Superman for all he has accomplished is so well done and subtle it will leave you breathless.
The Bottom Line: Batman/Superman #31 continues what, for me, is a surprisingly good Superman story. “Super League” looks like it will lead right into Rebirth this May and the new status quo for the Superman family of titles. I honestly hadn’t planned on reading any of them because, well, the New 52 kind of ruined the character for me.
Now? I may have to rethink that a bit if Tomasi continues writing such great Superman stories.
Let’s see if he can make it three-for-three in Action Comics #51 and part three of “Super League”.