Usually I try to recommend some slightly less-than-mainstream titles that you may or may not have heard of, but that’s not the case this week. In honor of the new animated DC film being released on Tuesday, I feel it’s appropriate to recommend one of my favorite graphic novels in recent years, on with the movie is based. And yes, it’s written by JEPH LOEB.
There was a time, a few years ago, where this title was honestly my favorite. Lately I feel it’s fallen off because there’s not a clear narrative, and it’s actually quite nebulous in its continuity. But when it started, it was in continuity, and I would even say it was at the crux of the DC Universe.
The premise is simple. You know Lex Luthor used to be President, right? Yeah. Well, he was. (Speaking of that, it seemed like people were playing hot potato with the Presidency. First it was Lex, then it was Pete Ross, both let go under less than honorable circumstances.) Anyway, we all know that Superman and Luthor don’t get along. This is like Joker becoming Police Commissioner. Not a very nice thing. And well, it starts in pure Michael Bay fashion. There’s a giant meteor headed towards Earth. It’s the size of a Brazil. So President Luthor puts a warrant out for the arrest of Superman. With a reward of $1 Billion.
WHOA WHOA WHOA. What’s that? Superman a fugitive? That makes no sense. Well of course it does. the meteor is a shard of Krypton, and is therefore Superman’s fault. It seems like a weak excuse, but let’s not get it twisted. Real Presidents have gotten things they want under much more flimsy reasonings.
So Superman’s in trouble. So he turns to the only person he can trust unequivocally: Batman.
While they’re completely different in so many ways, they’re also more alike than they’ll admit. And Loeb’s wonderful inner monologues of both Clark and Bruce illustrates that. They admire each other. They respect each other. They don’t quite understand each other. That despite their wildly different outlooks on life, they’re brothers. Fighting for the same goals.
From then on, they run the gamut in the DCU, fighting third stringers like the Black Spider(a lame Batman villain) to heavy hitters like Solomon Grundy and Mongul. They find allies along the way, from members of Luthor’s sanctioned superteam in charge of bringing in the fugitives, to a “Not-So-Terrible Toyman.”
The book plays out a lot like something the aforementioned Michael Bay would produce. It’s over the top, it’s action packed, but it also has a terrific story and pacing that really gives you an idea of how dire the situation is. The art really compliments the style of storytelling too. The pencils, handled by the incomparable Ed McGuinness hasa very kinetic energy that illustrates the action beautifully. I will admit, however, that Solomon Grundy kind of looks like an odd mash-up of Rulk and Eric Roberts. But this predates Rulk, and who doesn’t want to look like Eric Roberts anyway? That is one beautiful man.
I alluded to this earlier, but one of the reasons I loved this so much is that Loeb had a clear narrative working from issue one. There are questions raised in this that are, for the most part resolved. There is one that is left unresolved, but I do believe that that was best for the character of Batman. you’ll see when you read it. In all honesty, this is the reason I’ve stuck with his run on Hulk. Loeb has a narrative, and I feel once it’s run it’s course, it’ll read a lot better than it has in single issue form.Continued below
So what are you waiting for? If you haven’t already picked this up, you should. It’s a blast to read, and I haven’t even scratched the surface of how fun this book is. The amazon link is below.