|BATMAN/SUPERMAN No. 5, February 2020|
Indeed, the more cynical reader may well view Issue Five of “Batman/Superman” as little more than the culmination of a huge marketing campaign by “DC Comics” for the Burbank-based publisher’s 2019 crossover comic book event involving Lex Luthor transforming himself into a “human/Martian hybrid version of himself”; especially when this particular book even goes so far as to close with the exasperating caption “follow the Batman Who Laughs & the Infected in Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #1”.
Sadly such shenanigans arguably take the shine off of what is otherwise a darn good story by Joshua Williamson, who uses the death of Superman and his family on Earth-22 to dramatically motivate the Man of Steel in this universe. Positively incensed by the decayed corpses of his wife and child hanging on display within the Dark Multiverse’s satellite, and enraged by Shazam’s horrifying belly-laugh at the sight of his Justice League friends’ mutilated cadavers, the California-born writer depicts a suddenly all-too deadly portrayal of Clark Kent’s alter-ego, who literally pounds both his cousin, Kara Zor-El, and Captain Marvel into the very ground.
“One of the premier shepherds of the DC universe” is similarly as skilful penning Batman too, as the Dark Knight tackles Commissioner Gordon and Blue Beetle using a mixture of wits, gadgetry, fists and Superman’s extra-terrestrial zoo animals. Tapping into Jamie Reyes’s untainted scarab to destroy the Batman Who Laughs’ nefarious tower, and subsequently felling the dark version of Gotham City’s veteran police officer with a thunderous kick in the guts, Williamson also manages to simultaneously show the Caped Crusader’s more caring side, by having him notice just how much discomfort Ted Kord’s successor must constantly be in when morphed into Khaji Da’s battle suit; “Jaime… I never knew… Ugh… That scarab was so… painful…”
|Writer: Joshua Williamson, Artist: David Marquez, and Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez|