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Up in the sky, in the dark of the night, trust no one—for the Secret Six walk among us. Spinning out of the devastating events of the Batman Who Laughs, Superman and Batman are together once more in an all-new monthly series—and they’re facing a terrifying new threat that could strike from anywhere. The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel must journey into the depths of Gotham City to learn which of their fellow heroes has been transformed into the horrifying horseman of their most dangerous and deranged foe ever. Our heroes will need to fight to survive, but an even more dangerous question lurks in the shadows: Can Superman and Batman even trust each other?
Batman/Superman #1 spins-off from the events of Dark Knights Metal and The Batman Who Laughs series, both of which were masterminded by the now legendary Scott Snyder.
Taking over writing duties is Joshua Williamson, who has been continuing to hone his craft with a very successful run on The Flash including the excellent “Year One” arc which recently drew to a close.
Here Williamson is tying up the loose ends of Metal and continuing the story of the horror mashup of Batman and Joker. The end of The Batman Who Laughs mini-series teased that the twisted character had infected a group of DC heroes with the serum which turned him in to the psychopath he is today.
At the end of The Batman Who Laughs we knew that – SPOILERS – Jim Gordon had been infected but, for now, that’s all we know.
Batman/Superman #1 picks up with a fairly normal sequence featuring Clark Kent ruminating on a successful story about The Dark Knight featuring a rare photo of The Bat, taken by Jimmy Olsen. When Clark is called away by Batman things take a weird turn before we jump back to present day Earth-0.
Admittedly I felt a little perplexed when the scene shifted back to Batman and Superman on the rooftop of the GCPD. There’s a little context missing around that first scene: is it in the future? Was this how The Batman Who Laughs brought down Superman on his Earth? Perhaps this is an important scene for later in the arc.
Overall Williamson has begun to craft a particularly exciting story around the two lead characters. There’s an element of “what if” around whether Superman could end up like The Batman Who Laughs and what consequences that could have for our Earth. To have mirrors for both the series leads could be an interesting twist in the tale but ultimately could limit the narrative development.
Sticking with the here-and-now Batman and Superman are given a crime to investigate by Jim Gordon. A Gotham teen has been reported missing and the only witness saw a Bat-character laughing.
The investigation quickly leads The Worlds Finest to Crime Alley and to the location of The Batman Who Laughs own Batcave and an intense cliffhanger ending which will have you salivating for issue #2.
Though the locations are large in scale the visuals of the book are not. Artist David Marquez instead decided, for the most part, to keep the visuals honed in on the characters. There’S a really cool depth to his artwork which makes the book feel very 3D at times.
Skin tones are particularly impressive and despite the dark subject matter there’s definitely an air of hope to the overall aesthetic which I hadn’t expected but absolutely welcome. Having Batman and Superman co-headlining the book feels like it should toe the line between the atmospherics of both heroes solo books and this issue does that perfectly.
When Superman visits Gotham he doesn’t instantly disappear in to the shadows and show the blue and red of his costume stands out brilliantly against the dark backdrop.
I’m intrigued to know where the book will go from this arc. It has not been pitched as a limited series so presumably DC has arcs planned beyond this Dark Knights Metal tie-in. For now I’m just happy to see these two in a book together and desperate to know how this cliffhanger will be resolved!
Ultimately Batman/Superman #1 has a lot of work to do setting up the arc and the mission statement of the book. It does so with some excellent writing and equally strong artwork. The story is intriguing and ends of a cliffhanger which puts the Man of Steel in grave danger so what’s not to enjoy here?
Batman/Superman #1 is written by Joshua Williamson with art by David Marquez. Cover art is by Hi-Fi, Nick Bradshaw, David Marquez, John Rauch and Alejandro Sanchez.