Batman/Superman #20 (New Comics)

Batman/Superman #20 Comic Review On youtube


Batman/Superman #20 Comic Recap

Clark’s grandmother always thought her first grandson made a cute baby.  But his father came from the cursed house of El.  Jor-El attacked Kandor, ripping the great city away from Krypton and sealing it in a bottle, to be looked over by the now adult Kal-El.  She and her family were placed in suspended animation along with all the other citizens of Kandor.  While their bodies slept, the captive Kandorians remained conscious of everything.  The people were trapped and terrified for years.  Then the Phantom King came, and saved them from this torture.  And thus, it is the long lost family of Clark Kent who will conquer Earth on behalf of their savior.

Superman’s family brutally attacks Superman, Supergirl, and Batman.  Clark’s aunt sears her nephew’s skin with her attacks, but it is his grandmother’s words that hurt the most. Kent laments the actions of the Phantom King, who finds whatever Clark loves the most, and poisons it forever.

Meanwhile, Lois Lane and Dr. Ray Palmer have used the microscopic laboratory known as the Ant Farm to infiltrate Kandor.  Batman sent a coded message to Lois, and in spite of Dr. Palmer’s concerns, she insists that they need to help their super-powered friends.

Supergirl and Superman are struggling to fight the Kandorians, but they are losing this battle.  Kara knows these people.  She grew up with them.  The last she saw of her friend Tali, they were talking about boys.  Now the two are locked in mortal combat, while Clark is reluctant to fight at full force and risk hurting his hitherto unknown relatives.  Clark’s grandmother, known as Mother Prime, mocks Superman and says she expected more out of him.

But Batman has no need to hold back.  This isn’t his family, and the Dark Knight is well prepared for situations like these.  Bruce activates a rod, which, thanks to the Martian Manhunter, contains a sample of Krypton’s own sun.  The rod suppresses Kryptonian power, but before Batman can make use of it, he is seemingly vaporised by Clark’s Aunt Mara.

With Batman down, Superman gets desperate and unleashes his full potential.  But it’s not enough, and when the Phantom King calls in reinforcements, him and Supergirl are quickly outnumbered.  Having no other choice, Superman detonates the Red Sun Rod in a massive explosion, depowering all Kryptonians in the area.  With the Kandorian army out of commission, Superman turns on the Phantom King, telling the villain if he does not surrender, Clark will beat him to death.

The former Kandorian scientist mocks Superman, knowing that the rod also drained Kent of his powers.  But his mockery is short lives, when the Ant Farm suddenly bursts from the King’s head, destroying the villain’s technology that keeps him in this dimension.  This act forces him back to the Phantom Zone.  Batman appears and Superman explains that he wasn’t destroyed but rather shrunk down by Dr. Palmer at last minute.

With the Phantom King gone, most of the Kandorians return to normal, and are grateful for Superman’s actions.  But Tali, Mother Prime, and Aunt Mara are still stuck in a mental loop created by the Phantom King and remain obsessed with killing Superman.  Sadly, the Red Sun Bomb may have permanently wiped out their powers, which may slow the healing process.  Given the Kandorian’s current deranged mental state, Batman reflects that for now, this might be for the best.  Without any other option, the Kandorians are forced to put Supergirl’s friends and family in suspended animation.

Lois asks Batman if this is what victory feels like when you come against a bad guy like the Joker, and Bruce says that you have to take what victories you can get.  Clark can wallow in misery and fear because of all this, or, perhaps, he can use the opportunity to step into the sunlight, and count his blessings.

Superman is next seen in Hollywood, visiting his friend Felicity, who twice now has been injured because she knows the hero.  Clark feels understandably guilty, but the young woman is not mad.  She states she has absolute faith in the hero, and that everyone is stronger than he thinks, even Superman himself.

In the Phantom Zone, the King comments that he too is stronger than Clark gives him credit for, as he looks over the many enemies of Batman and Superman.

Batman/Superman #20 Comic Review

Batman/Superman #20 Comic Review

Hello and welcome to Comic Island!  My name is Arden, and this is my recap and review of Batman/Superman #20.

Well we made it!  Even though this story arc was pretty short it does feel nice to be finished.  I’m not going to talk about this story arc as a whole too much though, as I will save that for the complete version of this story which we’ll put out shortly.

Instead let’s talk about this issue specifically.  I enjoyed certain tragic elements of this story, like Clark discovering he has a family only to find they are under mind control and obsessively hate him because of this – and this is unlikely to change anytime soon.  As I’ve mentioned in other reviews of this story, I also really enjoyed the bond between Lois and Batman we see more and more of in this series.  Honestly, in a story with Kandor, Lobo, and a bunch of pretty cool characters, these hints at burgeoning feelings between these two is the most interesting thing coming out of the Batman/Superman series.

The art is also really well done.  We get some excellent action and overall most of the story is well serviced by Ardian Syaf’s artwork.  I also enjoyed this comic’s cover.  It’s simple, but beautifully effective.  And there’s something I find compelling about seeing Superman surrounded by Kryptonite in the shape of his logo.  Like I said, it’s simple, but it really works for me.
Sadly, this is where my enjoyment of this story ends.  We get a lot of repetition in this comic.  Like once again Supergirl questions the apparent friendship Superman has with a person who regularly carries weapons and gadgets specifically designed to take down Kryptonians.  This was really cool when they started to explore this at the beginning of the story arc four issues ago, but now they are just restating the same lines and ideas that were used a few issues back.

But the absolute worst aspect of this issue is that they refer to the Phantom King at least four or five times as Superman’s Joker.  In a twenty-four page issue, that’s very tedious storytelling and the worst part is that it is complete and utter bullshit.  With all due respect to Greg Pak, like many fans I know the Joker and I know him well.  I’ve seen his madness depicted over and over again in clever and distinct ways.  He is unstoppable, ruthless, and very, very dangerous.

The Phantom King is no Joker.  He’s not anything close to it.  He’s a pretty cool bad guy, but at the end of the day, he’s just another mad scientist with a bit of Kryptonian flair.  And at the end of the day, this guy is pretty sane.  He is focused on revenge and has a very specific plan for it, which doesn’t fit with the Joker’s usual approach to these things which has always felt loos, improvised, and unpredictable.  The Phantom King and his plans were none of these things, and didn’t feel nearly as significant as promised.  By comparing him relentlessly to one of the best all-time villains, this comic does itself a serious disservice and is all the worse for it.  I seriously don’t understand why they did this, as Greg Pak might as well have just shot himself in the foot on this one.  Why invite comparison to a character that is notoriously hard to live up to?  It just boggles my mind, and distracts from what would have probably just been a fun story if they hadn’t have made these comparisons in the first place.

As I said at the start of this review, this comic does have merit.  Somebody pointed out in the comments of one of my reviews that it is always cool to get a modern story about Kandor, and some pretty cool stuff is done with the bottled city this issue.  But it’s nothing exceptional, as I’ve seen better stories with Kandor and ones that use the bottled city more extensively and to a much better extent than this story where the city is barely featured in half the arc.  Honestly, I don’t think you would have much to gain from reading the actual comic that you won’t get out of this video.  So I can’t really recommend this issue.

I’d love to hear what you all think of this, especially about this comparison between the Joker and the Phantom King.  Do you agree with me that it’s a hot plate of nonsense, or do you think there’s some merit to all this?  And if you do agree with me, what do you think Superman’s Joker should be like?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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