By Greg Pak & Brett Booth
A new story arc begins! With another artist on deck skepticism shrouded this book, even more so when it was revealed that the duo’s new adversary would be Toy Master. Bruce and Clark’s relationship still seems to be in its infancy because of how critical they are of each other. This issue focuses on how Batman becomes the pawn in a real-life video game.
When it was announced in the solicits that Toy Master was to be in this new story, it was baffling. How could he pose a serious threat to Batman and Superman? It just sounded like a letdown. As the story progresses, the reader is given a clearer picture of Greg Pak’s Toy Master. He’s basically a spoiled young man who looks for the next big adrenaline rush, but there is a hint of him being fairly intelligent. This character definitely did not seem like a major menace, but it becomes evident that this was intentional. The book ends with a major twist and cliffhanger that left me stunned. Greg keeps the book compelling with the somewhat antagonistic relationship of Bruce and Clark. The opening page encapsulates the dynamic perfectly. Some of the inner monologues seem out of character. When Superman talks about who he can troll, that can take someone out of a story. Granted he is young, but vocabulary like that does not seem to suit the boy from Kansas.
The layout of this issue was very different. The entire book had horizontal pages. This format is used to allow certain moments to be noticed and stress the significance of them, but the way Brett Booth implemented them had the reverse effect. The story device quickly lost its luster and appeal. Jae Lee’s work on the previous story arc was phenomenally gothic. Booth’s style seems reminiscent of Jim Lee, which is not a bad thing. He has a strong grasp of character detail and definition. Brett’s take on Nightwing was first-rate! He has done enough solid work on this issue to keep me interested.
Batman/Superman has had its ups and downs in its first five issues, but there is still enough strong material and ingenuity to keep it relevant. If you like either of these titular characters, definitely try this series.