AMBER LOVE 19-DEC-2013 BATMAN / SUPERMAN – TITAN COMICS REPRINTS FOR THE UK: The first story with stunning and dark art by the brilliant Jae Lee, drives the mildly acquainted Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent to solve murders of Wayne Enterprises employees. CROSS WORLD written by Greg Pak with artists Jae Lee and Ben Oliver, gives the backstory of each hero without dragging out those origins casual readers and die hards know well. Lee’s work is beautifully accented with colors by June Chung where the balance of light is so exceptional the bright bold primaries of Metropolis don’t scream off the page and stay consistent with the dreary Gotham environment meshing the two stories without any jarring visuals.

bat-supes-intThe readers may be familiar with the power sets and histories of Batman and Superman but here in this story, the two men are not fully familiar with each other’s alteregos’ abilities. Clark Kent knows Bruce Wayne and vice versa but Superman and Batman seem to be strangers. Batman doesn’t even know if Superman can fly when they first encounter each other trying to save a man from Catwoman’s attack. As the trio fights it’s obvious someone has the ability to possess other bodies and is having villainous fun. It leaves off with a cliffhanger.

I entered the INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US story with a clean slate. I’ve never played any of the DCU video games and hadn’t heard any spoilers about the story. When I think about how long these characters have been around, I believe every story possible has been told. Then I come across something like INJUSTICE which blows me away. I like Superman. I love him, I guess. But I’ve never given any thought to what I could do with that character but I’m not all that vested in him. Wonder Woman has a small role in this but it’s one where she is defined. She is shown perfectly in so few panels. Supporting cast of The Flash and Green Lantern are adequate and that’s not any sort of negative criticism. They have roles about the same size as Wonder Woman but I didn’t feel their impact to be nearly as important. It was interesting to see that GL’s power bubble could hold back Superman at his worst for a short time. I hadn’t considered them dueling each other before and what that would mean.

Superman has been shown with a massive range of power sets throughout history. INJUSTICE makes it clear that this is a god not simply someone with the strength of ten men and super jump. His powers are off the measurable charts in this version. I think Wonder Woman might be pretty close but they don’t show her in combat enough to prove any theories here. She’s physically strong enough to enter ground zero of a hot radiation zone where only Superman was able to be.

bat-supes-cvrSuperman and Batman have long has a crossover relationship in the comics and various animated series. I know I’ve seen Batman against Lex Luthor and the entire Justice League pitch in against the Joker. Where the originality comes in for INJUSTICE is because of how incredibly personal the story is between the Joker (with Harley) and Superman and Lois Lane. I’ve never seen anything like this before and it’s powerful. The Joker also utilizes another Gotham villain, the Scarecrow to have his psychotic fun. The cartoons couldn’t possibly broach the subjects that the INJUSTICE comic does.

INJUSTICE has a huge creative team: Tom Taylor (writer), Jheremy Raapack (pencils, inks, cover), Tony Avina (cover) Mike S. Miller (pencils, inks), Axel Gimenez (pencils), Marc Deering (inks), Andrew Elder (colors), Wes Abbott (letters).

Be sure to follow along on Twitter @ComicsTitan. Spoiler: One of their ongoing comics is a contender for my favorite of the year.