Super League Part 5: Batman / Superman #32 Review


Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman follow a signal which leads them to China. From there, the action is dialed up from previous issues.

Super League Part 5: Batman / Superman #32

Story and Words: Peter J. Tomasi / Penciller: Doug Mahnke / Inkers: Jaime Mendoza, Christian Alamy, Livesay & Tom Nguyen / Colors: Wil Quintana / Letters: Rob Leigh / Cover: Yanick Paquette & Nathan Fairbairn

Batman / Superman #32 starts right off with some action-packed panels. The story is brisk and seems to end a bit too soon. Definitely not a negative, as it’s a testament to Peter J. Tomasi’s skills in giving this overall story arc a lot of momentum. It’s always good when the reader hungers for more. Though the art was a bit flat for my taste, it was adequate for what the story required.

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The story starts out with Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman following a super-flare signature–that matched Superman’s–into China. They’re quickly confronted by China’s analog of the Justice League–The Great Ten. The Great Ten feel that the DC Trinity’s presence is a violation of jurisdiction. When the three refuse to leave, the Great Ten become hostile.

From here, we have a good number of pages dedicated to a battle of powers. The fight only ends when Superman saves one of the team members from another. I’ll let you read the issue to figure out how that actually came about. After Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman prove that they’re not a threat, the Great Ten lead them to the signature’s origin.

Arriving at the location, they discover that Dr. Omen has created a clone of Superman–obviously this is the first introduction of Kenan Kong, the Chinese Superman who will be making his formal debut during Rebirth. Kenan soon breaks out of his incubation chamber and flies off. The Great Ten arrest Dr. Omen for her illegal experimentation and advise the Trinity to go home and not overstep their boundaries.

Like I said before, this issue moves extremely fast. That’s most likely due to the battle scene between the Trinity and the Great Ten. However, I’ve found that Tomasi has a way of introducing mysteries at very crucial times, which engage the reader a lot more. Even after the action scene was over, I found the pacing to be brisk and light.

One of the other great things about this issue is the way Tomasi has layered in Batman’s reaction to Superman’s impending death. The initial pages show a much more softer Batman, almost sentimental. In fact, the Dark Knight gets a bit mushy. Tomasi does pull it back a bit when Superman gets cheesy–with Batman adding a humorous quip that also serves double-duty in cementing that he’s still a hardened crime-fighter.

I think the weakest link in this issue has to be the art. It’s serviceable, but that’s not something you want to say for a story arc that’s titled “The Final Days of Superman.” I found some of the rendering of the faces to be a bit strange and uninspired. The overall drawings were also a bit flat. I think Doug Mahnke dislikes epic fight scenes, as he only has one two-page spread. And it’s not even a heavy action scene–it’s the two teams meeting each other for the first time.

Next: Super League Part 4: Superman / Wonder Woman #28 Review

Batman / Superman #32 is consistent with the fast-paced forward-moving storytelling that we’re use to with Tomasi. It has some great dialogue and great mysteries that make the reader hunger for more. The battle scene makes this already quick issue seem quicker. The art is a bit boring, but it still functions for the story. We’ve been getting some great dynamic art for the series, so it’s a shame that it got dialed down with this issue. Super League Part 5 is still worth a read though because it contains some crucial information that you’ll need for this continuing saga.