With the initial four issue arc over with and Jae Lee not on issue number 5, we are back to a less surreal, more normal super hero book than what we are used to with the series. Still, Greg Pak finds a way to inject strange themes within this world that clearly screams Greg Pak.
After the strange first arc involving two Batmans and Supermans from different eras, we are now in more of a traditional team-up scenario between the title’s two heroes. The dynamic between the two is framed very well as Batman’s older age and wisdom is in conflict with Superman’s younger, more steadfast and confident demeanor. We see two friends still working their friendship out in a way that makes the book pretty interesting.
This time around Brett Booth takes the reigns on pencils bringing the title more of a DC house style art which works well and may be a breath of fresh air after Jae Lee’s initial run. Booth manages to convey the story very well in what turns out to be an oddball second arc involving a virtual reality fighting game based on killing Batman that takes place in reality. And oddball is a good word for this issue in particular as every page of the book, including the cover, has to be read sideways; instead of flipping the pages from left to right, you’ll be flipping the pages from from the bottom up. While not too much of a pain in print, I could only imagine that this would definitely cause some issues for you digital readers out there.
If you weren’t a fan of the strange initial arc of the series, this issue reigns things back a little with a more grounded, traditional story while still maintaining an air of oddness. This issue also serves as a great jump-on point as the previous arc has pretty much nothing to do with this issue and maybe even the series in the foreseeable future.